Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

April 6, 2004

by V

Lexis Nexis Ninja

Nobody damns people with their own public statements quite like Billmon (click through for the whole sorry story):

Whiskey Bar: Boots Per Square Inch
"Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required [to occupy Iraq]. We're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems."
Gen. Eric K. Shinseki
Testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee
February 25, 2003

...Successful strategies for population security and control have required force ratios either as large as or larger than 20 security personnel (troops and police combined) per thousand inhabitants The population of Iraq today is nearly 25 million. That population would require 500,000 foreign troops on the ground to meet a standard of 20 troops per thousand residents.
Rand Corporation
The Painful Arithmetic of Stability Operations
Summer, 2003

"The increased demand on the force we are experiencing today is likely a 'spike,' driven by the deployment of nearly 115,000 troops in Iraq. We hope and anticipate that that spike will be temporary. We do not expect to have 115,000 troops permanently deployed in any one campaign.
Donald Rumsfeld
Testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee
February 5, 2004

The starkest evidence that the U.S. position in Iraq has deteriorated was the Pentagon's decision Monday to suspend the rotation home of about 24,000 U.S. troops. After an emergency conference among military officials Monday, a top military official at U.S. Central Command said the Pentagon was holding the troops in place to help stop the violence in Iraq from spreading out of control. The Pentagon is also looking at options for bringing even more U.S. troops from bases overseas or in the United States.
USA Today
A delicate time for U.S. mission
April 6, 2004
Plus Josh Marshall helpfully contributed a reminder of the Pentagon's initial troop-commitment plans:
...from Christopher Dickey's review of Rick Atkinson's In the Company of Soldiers in yesterday's Times ...
The coalition invasion force was less than half the size of the one that liberated Kuwait in 1991, because that was all that was needed to defeat Hussein's eviscerated services. But professional soldiers realized a lot more boots on the ground would be needed to maintain order once the dictator went down ... The wishful assumptions of the Pentagon civilians about the after-war were just as wildly off base as their intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. ''The abrupt transition to anarchy was a disaster not only for Iraq but also for the United States,'' Atkinson writes. ''Pentagon planners in early May had predicted that U.S. troop levels would be down to 30,000 by late summer; instead, at Christmas the figure was 130,000 American soldiers in Iraq, with another 30,000 in Kuwait.''
Mull on that for a moment.

The people who planned and advocated for this war hadn't the slightest idea what they were getting into. All the plans, all the assumptions, all the notions of what would flow from this came from that basic inability to grasp the reality of what they were entering into.

Think about it: down to thirty-thousand troops -- a smattering for a country the size of Iraq -- only three or four months after the end of fighting. Think how mind-bogglingly off the mark that was.
Oy. And these are the people best qualified to direct our troops in an increasingly hostile theater? I don't think so. They seem to have real trouble dealing with actual, empirical data; there's no way I trust them to honestly evaluate the situation in the first place, let alone make smart choices about it. Bring the grown-ups back!

And on another topic from a few days ago, Billmon digs up another trove: Whiskey Bar: Curveball, where you can watch the 'mobile labs for building biological weapons' (and, you might say, Colin Powell's credibility) go from certain to missing to never-there.
Posted by V at April 6, 2004 09:46 AM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

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