Thursday, March 20, 2008

The war, five years on

Taken on the terms it was framed by back in 2003 there's little doubt the Iraq War has been a complete failure.
The best way forward is, admittedly, unclear.
McCain has legitimate fears that withdrawing will be seen as an emboldening defeat of America and we must therefore continue the fight. What he has no answer for is the question of when and how we could ever leave.
Obama argues that the cost is too high, the results too meager and staying is simply too dangerous because it prolongs our vulnerability and the damage being done to our military, our economy and our moral leadership. What he has no answer for is how do we withdraw without it becoming a defeat that will haunt us for a generation?
What is clear, is that America was profoundly let down by its leaders in 2003, especially President Bush. When rational, clear and pragmatic thinking was required. When divining an appropriate strategy, effective tactics and achievable objectives was needed, we got none of that.
Von Clausewitz cautioned statesmen that their very first duty in war was to figure out what kind of war they were fighting. They failed.

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