Iraq and the Big Picture - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Iraq and the Big Picture

Re: John Corry’s How Little We Know:

Poor John Corry. His brief now seems to reduce to an abiding resentment of Richard Perle’s net worth, and a desperate certainty that President Bush’s policy will fail in the next phase, not the current one.
Paul Kotik
Plantation, FL

I tend to disagree with you about the Iraqi war, but I commend you for expressing your disagreement. Keep it up. Informed dissent is important.
Richard Clement

Please do me a favor and send John Corry to Patrick Buchanan. I’m sure those two will get along very well.
Pierre Legrand
American Spectator Subscriber who wonders if John Corry is a trend.

I read John Corry’s article with what must have been a puzzled look on my face. The piece lacked any form of logic, continuity or pattern. Stories and examples were given that had nothing to do with the conclusions. Sweeping claims were made with, at best, incoherent supporting facts. The essay is absolutely horrible and I cannot imagine that it would convince anyone to his viewpoint (and may even cause people to change their minds when they find themselves in agreement). While he is beating the same dead horse from a month ago, at least he did not repeat his assertion that unless you agree with him, you cannot be intelligent (unless of course you happen to be liberal, which from what I can tell from his 03/05/03 essay indicates that your status as an intellectual is assured).

To address the essay, I’d like to point out that while I believe that his fears of a destabilized region are a possible threat, even probable in the short term, I hope that a strong foreign policy will ensure long term stability and peace. Can anyone argue that a Middle East with an unencumbered Saddam Hussein at the reins of Iraq could ever lead to a long-term peace? Most importantly, I’d like to remind Mr. Corry of the obvious fact that before democracy existed on this planet — it did not exist on this planet. And look — wow — now it does….
G. Mitchell

John Corry might have given his readers a background on the purpose of why “wargames” or combat simulations are carried out. Because the combat result of this specific OPFOR wargame fit his hypothesis — it was included as a justifier of “current military thinking in this DOD.” Maybe so — maybe not.

A quick background as to the many purposes of combat simulations:

1. They can be used to validate contingency plans.

2. They can be used to collect stochastic data.

3. They can be used for specific training on battlefield operating systems, tactics or leadership development.

4. The “winners” have fun — the “losers” shout “deal.”

5. Any combination of 1-4 are possible.

If the purpose of this exercise was winning or losing — I’d argue for Mr. Corry’s interpretation. Military leaders are aggressive by nature. (We wouldn’t have it any other way.) Alan Alda need not apply for this type of job. If the purpose of the exercise was to test friendly command, control, systems or communications, the replay of this exercise based on the described events would be “normal.”

In my experience, we routinely “re-run” scenarios when OPFOR disrupts the intended training goals (other than tactical combat). Dead soldiers, marines or aviators can’t practice their craft when the computer lists them as dead. Aggressive wargamers (even in the military) often work the limits or find blind spots in the computer logic or programming to achieve “winning.” Happens all the time. Leaders are regularly instructed on the limitations of the simulation they are using to evaluate results.

There remains a human factor: “Puck movers” on the workstations who aren’t familiar with the commands, or not aware of the capabilities of the simulation, often skew outcomes.

Cheating: Many years ago, a combat simulation conducted in a South American country was reduced to drawn pistols by the players — when the aviators were caught peeking on the computer screens of the opposition land forces…

Mr. Corry could have made his points without picking on the Marines…

Mike Horn
LTC, Military Intelligence
US Army Reserve, ret
Database Manager, Combat Simulations
Dublin, CA

U.S. Senators don’t get enough rabid anti-Americanism on CNN and ABC? You would now have them monitor the Beeb to learn how to really hate all things American and worship at the altars of anti-Israel and pro-Arabism? Oh, by the way, that whole article was incoherent.
Colorado Springs

So, you believe the plans for a post-war Iraq as a democracy is a “mad idea”? And your idea is what?

Maybe Arafat has a brother we can bribe into becoming Maximum leader, to replace Saddam.

Are there, perhaps, a few non sequiturs in your reasoning? The big news that Perle was overly optimistic, full of certitude (to the point of hubris, in your opinion?), earned money by being a consultant (which I’m sure he vetted with the best lawyers), etc. doesn’t mean that a whole lot of deep thought about how to break the hold of the dictators in the Middle East hasn’t been done. In fact, as one who’s a recovering C-Span junkie, I can confess that too many words have been spoken about all this — the current action is most welcome.

The “mad idea” thought does get me, though. Do you mean” “mad,” as in “insane, or crazy,” as in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Or as in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say you are for the latter. Otherwise, after a few years, when the Iraqi Republic starts showing the stability of a Germany or a Japan, your mad take will make you look pretty bad.

I read somewhere that before Saddam took over and became dictator and socialist, the per capita GDP in Iraq was about $9,000 in today’s dollars, and it’s now below $1,000. Iraq is not a desert, only, and its people are not ignorant peasants, by nature. Of course, with the extreme measures imposed on them for many years, a lot of the spirit has been stifled, and the infrastructure is pitiful, but with the Black Gold bubbling up, daily, there’s a lot of upside potential just needing releasing. That famous entrepreneurial spirit of the Iraqis can make big changes — Atlas Unchained!

My biggest bone to pick with your article is that it misses the big picture. Democracy is on the march. Think of it as an atomic bomb. The problem was always how to get the chain reaction to begin. As naturally lazy, self-absorbed belly-button gazers, Americans were never going to go out of their way to actively help bring freedom about, especially for the hell-holes of the world, like Iraq. Lucky for mankind, technology got married with evil men, and voila! WMD + Delivery Systems. Now, it’s a “mad idea” not to remove this awful threat — and Saddam is just the first….
James Crystal

I regret that I have come to the conclusion that John Corry, a man I once generally respected, has become one of “them,” the people who have become unhinged by the idea of taking on Iraq. On this matter, at least, he is unable to think rationally.

As evidence I submit this statement: “…the Iraqi invasion could destabilize the Middle East, much to our disadvantage, and that rather than deterring terrorism it would more likely promote it…”

Why, precisely, is destabilization of the Middle East a bad thing? These people are, by and large, our enemies — some of them open, more of them covert. When the Soviet Union became unstable I remember quite a few “experts” being concerned but that seems to have turned out fairly well.

And how does defeating a terrorist regime promote more terrorism? The idea that making nice to bad people will earn their tolerance is deeply flawed; it will, rather, earn their contempt, just as Clinton’s foreign policy earned the contempt of bin Laden prior to his strikes on us. In the case of most of the world — and especially the Arab portion — it is far better from a practical viewpoint to be feared than loved. I utterly fail to see how taking out Saddam and his supporters both domestic and imported will help al Qaeda’s recruiting problem.

I only hope that Iraq will not be the last terrorist dictatorship we take down; Syria is just begging for it and we should oblige Mr. Assad. Iran is ready to revolt, and we should give them aid and encouragement. As far as the Palestinians go, let them change their ways or be driven into the sea; their complete dishonesty should long since have lost them any claims on our sympathy. And once we get through with these few we can think about straightening out the Saudis, assuming that their supporters in the State Department can be neutralized.

Now this won’t solve all our problems — much less all of the world’s— but it ought to give us a few years relative peace, and that’s about all we can expect from life.
Richard Donley

Corry is adept as ever at setting up straw men. From the hawks overrunning the WH (as opposed to Clinton’s bums who gave us 911) to horror of horrors, somebody winning a war game (he carefully omitted how the “Saddam” forces were to sink the entire U.S. fleet) by bypassing the rules (Oh my God! Conservatives might play by the same rules we do!)and beyond to the ultimate liberal horror, that the Dept. of Defense might be engaged actively in ridding itself of all the fifth columnists implanted by that commissar of commissars, Hillary, is too much even for him. I smell panic in the press and on Capitol Hill. These anti-American bozos have had it so for too long and now it’s really sinking in that the party is not only over but that the fellatio in the Oval Office was a pretty good indicator of what the liberals really stand for, about five minutes. When this war is over people are going to turn some of their attention on those like Corry, who at every turn, came up with an excuse to cut and run and hang our heads in shame instead of standing up to the likes of a man who builds palaces while children suffer.

I wonder if “men” like Corry ever consider that the lies they spew will ever come back to haunt them. Why they never grew up is past my understanding.
Brian Barfield

More wisdom comes from John Corry. John has discovered (with respect to Rumsfeld) that many don’t like the boss. Has John ever held a job? This happens in many work places especially where change is needed and there is a lot of stress. Many of those fellows taking shots at the 10-day point in the campaign look a little foolish about now. Somehow the Iraqis are cooperating with Rumsfeld. (Apparently the conspiracy is bigger than thought. John, you know Arabs are Semites too.) Maybe many Army lifers were trying to fix the war games to demonstrate the absolute need for huge ground forces. Given the results of the war this looks more likely. This kind of public sniping during a war is pathetic and those that do it should be fired and not allowed into decent society. Not because they disagree but because they choose a public forum to gain an internal political advantage while putting ordinary soldiers at risk. History demonstrates that time and time again that civilians leaders have had to prod military leaders after periods of peace and the military frequently didn’t like it. Rumsfeld looks pretty smart and General Barry McCaffrey looks foolish and unaware of Air Force capabilities. The below quote from an April 4 story in the Washington Post demonstrates some goofy institutional thinking that is in need of change:

Air Force jets, Army AH-64 Apache helicopters and multiple-rocket launchers “destroyed our objective,” said Lt. Bevan Stansbury, executive officer of Bravo Company in the 2nd Brigade’s 3rd Battalion, 15th Regiment. “So we have no fight right now.”

“They pretty much destroyed every vehicle in the brigade,” Stansbury said. With a trace of disgust, he added, “Now we’re just rolling in and will probably be an occupation force.”
Clifton Briner

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