I don't claim any great military expertise, other than whatever
rubbed off from growing up in an Army household and being an amateur
student of military history, but this sounds about right to me:
essence of the administration's existing plan to win that war is this:
Through the application of overwhelming and irresistible armed might,
to assert for the U.S. a position of unquestioned dominance, thereby
enabling it over time to eliminate the conditions breeding violent
Islamic radicalism in the first place. Hard power skillfully employed
(or threatened), supplemented by patient exertions aimed at dragging
the dysfunctional nations of the Greater Middle East into modernity,
will transform the entire region. Once transformed, the region will be
at peace and will no longer pose a danger to our own security.
From the outset, some critics (I include myself in
this camp) viewed this strategy as fundamentally flawed, informed as
much by ideological flights of fancy as by sober analysis. In Iraq,
these critics see their worst fears becoming reality. There, the
transformation project has stalled. What was intended to be a brief,
decisive incursion — a demonstration project revealing the shape of
things to come — has become a debilitating stalemate.
With the election of 2004 now history, the time is
ripe for President Bush to reassess his initial strategy and to chart a
new course. During the Civil War, President Lincoln did precisely this
when events in the field dashed expectations that one quick victory
might restore the Union. So too did President Truman during the Korean
War when the Chinese intervention confronted him with a radically
different conflict. In the midst of crisis, entertaining first-order
questions demands courage, but great statesmen dare not flinch from the
So what should Bush do? Bacevich argues:
choice facing President Bush is a stark one. Either he must modify his
strategy to conform to the resources at hand, a process that ought to
begin with questioning whether waging “global war” promises a solution
to the problems brought home by 9/11. This implies looking to something
besides force to achieve our aims.
Or the president must use the mandate recently won at
the polls to expand the U.S. military. No doubt increasing the size of
the armed forces implies exacting sacrifices of the American people.
But there is no waging a global war without first mobilizing the
nation. Although attaching yellow-ribbon decals to the back end of our
SUVs makes for a nice gesture, those actually fighting this war would
benefit more from a multi-division increase in the size of the U.S.
Maybe we need to go back to the days of the 18 division army. And if it takes higher taxes to do it, I'm game. [ProfessorBainbridge.com]