I should begin by saying that it’s clearly way too early to be judging the success of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It’s been less than two weeks since the Marines went "over the berm;" only heedless consumers of neocon wanking or Ba’athist sputtering could have expected a resolution by now. More importantly, due to the intense propaganda campaigns and unabashed contempt for unrestrained media scrutiny by both sides in this conflict, the public is woefully under/misinformed and will remain so for months to come.
Nevertheless, two instances of backseat-driving do, when taken together, require a response. In appropriately observing that unchecked American hubris played a large role in the Bush Administration’s march to war, some opponents of the war have indulged their bitterness at failing to stop the war by hoping that the U.S. is defeated or at least bloodily bogged down in Iraq. While I am the first person to devoutly hope that the Bush Administration pays the full political price for this misadventure, it is narcissistic, disloyal, and politically counter-productive to wish that harm come to U.S. servicemen and -women. I have heard many rationales for continuing to demonstrate against the war, most of which I find acceptable (even if I disagree with some of them). But to sincerely hope and work for a military defeat or an ignominious withdrawal shows an utter divorce from geopolitical reality. Anyone who believes the United States has a future as a positive force in the world had ought to hope for the swiftest and most complete U.S. victory possible.
The current criticism of Rumsfeld has gathered steam in part due to the hyper-attenuated attention span of the American media. However, the aforementioned caveat aside, the details of the American (mis)deployment are alarming. The very least that I expected of a policy supported by Colin Powell was a force commensurate with the security needs of American troops. If it is demonstrated that Rumsfeld and Co. short-changed both our strategic interests (by allowing—if only in appearance—our military prowess to be blunted) and our troops’ safety (by permitting greater casualties than necessary), I would expect even the most purblind supporters of the war to share my outrage and disgust.
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