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October 08, 2004

Wonder if Sullivan Will Quote This Bremer Statement

Sullivan's been a bear for Bremer's statement that we didn't have enough troops in Iraq-- a critique that once again dovetails nicely with Sullivan's partisan interest in attacking Bush while simultaneously protecting his ego from an admission of fault on his own part.

Greg tips to this fuller statement by Bremer:

It's no secret that during my time in Iraq I had tactical disagreements with others, including military commanders on the ground. Such disagreements among individuals of good will happen all the time, particularly in war and postwar situations. I believe it would have been helpful to have had more troops early on to stop the looting that did so much damage to Iraq's already decrepit infrastructure. The military commanders believed we had enough American troops in Iraq and that having a larger American military presence would have been counterproductive because it would have alienated Iraqis. That was a reasonable point of view, and it may have been right. The truth is that we'll never know.


But during the 14 months I was in Iraq, the administration,
the military and I all agreed that the coalition's top
priority was a broad, sustained effort to train Iraqis to
take more responsibility for their own security. This
effort, financed in large measure by the emergency
supplemental budget approved by Congress last year,
continues today. In the end, Iraq's security must depend on
Iraqis.

Partisan critics of the war feel free to make inconsistent criticisms. On one hand, they make much noise about the American forces feeling like "occupiers" to the residents of Iraq (or Afghanistan). But they will often in the same breath argue for much higher troop concentrations in these countries, apparently forgetting, conveniently enough, their previous claims about the need for a light footprint in Muslim countries. They forget this other criticism, one made from the left, just long enough to make a tough-sounding criticism from the right.

Life is a series of tradeoffs and guesstimates and just plain winging it, and war especially so -- but with many more life-and-death consequences. Sullivan pounds what he calls kneejerk partisan defenders of Bush, who never seem willing to concede any mistake on the President's behalf. But it is it any less kneejerk-partisan to make these conveniently-simplistic critiques without full exploring the tradeoff implicit in the decisions?

Is it perhaps the case that Kerry, and his champion Sullivan, are not quite nuanced enough in their analysis? Surely they must be ashamed to make arguments about war and peace which are so filled with troglodytic American simplissime.

Update! Corrected Link! Sorry for the loose shit.


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posted by Ace at 10:38 AM

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