Today's Wash Post reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are arguing hard against increasing the number of troops in Iraq. Maybe they would have some credibility if they had already shown a clue how to secure the peace there. Here we are with the most powerful and technologically advanced military machine in history, yet we can't secure the peace against a bunch of two-bit (brutal, but still rather unsophisticated) sectarian thugs. It's pathetic. In this war, where has been our Patton, our Grant, our McArthur, or even our Schwarzkopf? And where has been the president who will, Lincoln-like, recognize when his military leaders have failed and fire them and fire the next ones and keep on looking until he finds the ones who, like Grant, will WIN? As Lincoln said of Grant: "I like this man: he fights." For nearly four years our military leaders and their civilian bosses have ignored the wisdom of the ages, which is that no matter what else you do, you can't win a war or secure a peace without enough boots on the ground. As recently as the Reagan-Weinberger-Powell years (does nobody remember them, fergoshsakes?!?), the conservative doctrines of war held sway: Go in with overwhelming force, with a clear plan for what to do after you defeat the enemy troops. It was under the assumption that we would not be too stupid to remember those doctrines that people as diverse as McCain, Lieberman, and even Hillary Clinton supported the war effort not just at the start but through some obvious post-Saddam challenges -- all the while demanding, as Frederick Kagan and so many others also have, that more troops be put on the ground and that the Army overall be expanded.
These Joint Chiefs have proven jointly to be failures. If they won't commit to securing the peace in Iraq, they should resign or be fired.
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