Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Martin van Creveld is really shrill!

Forward Newspaper Online: Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War By Martin van Creveld November 25, 2005: The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon -- and at what cost.... Confronted by a demoralized army on the battlefield and by growing opposition at home, in 1969 the Nixon administration started withdrawing most of its troops in order to facilitate what it called the "Vietnamization" of the country.... [T]his is not a pleasant model to follow, but no other alternative appears in sight.

Whereas North Vietnam at least had a government with which it was possible to arrange a cease-fire, in Iraq the opponent consists of shadowy groups of terrorists with no central organization or command authority.... [S]imply abandoning equipment or handing it over to the Iraqis, as was done in Vietnam, is simply not an option.... [T]he new Iraqi army is less skilled, less cohesive and less loyal to its government than even the South Vietnamese army was.... Washington might just as well hand over its weapons directly to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Clearly, then, the thing to do is to forget about face-saving and conduct a classic withdrawal....

American forces will have to fall back on Baghdad. From Baghdad they will have to make their way to the southern port city of Basra, and from there back to Kuwait, where the whole misguided adventure began.... A withdrawal probably will require several months and incur a sizable number of casualties. As the pullout proceeds, Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge -- if, indeed, it can do so at all. All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not.... A continued military presence, made up of air, sea and a moderate number of ground forces, will be needed.

First and foremost, such a presence will be needed to counter Iran, which for two decades now has seen the United States as "the Great Satan." Tehran is certain to emerge as the biggest winner from the war -- a winner that in the not too distant future is likely to add nuclear warheads to the missiles it already has.... [A] divided, chaotic, government-less Iraq is very likely to become a hornets' nest. From it, a hundred mini-Zarqawis will spread all over the Middle East, conducting acts of sabotage and seeking to overthrow governments in Allah's name....

Maintaining an American security presence in the region.... will involve many complicated problems.... Such an endeavor, one would hope, will be handled by a team different from -- and more competent than -- the one presently in charge of the White House and Pentagon.

For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.

Now this is, even by my standards, very shrill. Has Martin van Creveld simply caught an extreme case of the madness to which we have all succumbed as a result of the incompetence, malevolence, mendacity, and stupidity of George W. Bush and his administration? Or is van Creveld hearing things about the White House--through his own military-academic and Israeli-security networks--even more terrifying and devastating than I am hearing through my networks.

The Bush administration: worse than you can imagine, even after taking account of the fact that it is worse than you can imagine.

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