Notes: This past week has been a terrible one in Iraq. Insurgents became more aggressive, and in an unexpected move, Shiites coordinated aid with Sunnis in Fallujah. Additionally, radical followers of Shiite iman Muqtada al-Sadr took over two towns in Southern Iraq.
During the week, more Americans died and Japanese were kidnapped. All of Japan is following the news about the three kidnapped aid workers. Their kidnappers claimed they would be burned alive if Japan did not withdraw it's some 500 troops from Iraq.
At this writing combat is going on, and Americans, fighting valiantly, have retaken some of the areas grabbed by insurgents and are moving towards control of the situation. However, the toll taken on Iraqi civilians killed and injured has been large [I heard on television a figure of more than 600 civilian deaths in in the battle of Fallujah, but cannot confirm a number at this writing].
There were two competing strategies for the Iraq war. One was the Powell Doctrine -- named for Colin Powell -- of overwhelming force. The other was the minimum-troop, fast-strike strategy advocated by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Before the war, I read that several generals favored the use of massive troops under the Powell Doctrine. Rumsfeld's strategy won out, and America went in light.
Though I was against the invasion of Iraq, I favored the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force if we did go in. There no reason for a powerful country like the United States not to go in as strong as it can and protect it's troops as much as possible. Moreover, while I would agree that in some cases, Rumsfeld's favoring of light, mobile troops with an emphasis on quick strikes by special forces might be best, it is so only if you are going to get in and get back out. Rumsfeld's light, mobile, strike forces is not a sensible strategy for occupying a country like we are doing with Iraq.
The Bushies flubbed this one. They should have listened to the generals and given them more troops. Ironically, as everyone knows by now, few if any of the super-hawks -- those neo-con ideologues in the Bush administration -- ever served in the military. I think it shows. If we're going to use American troops, we're obligated to give them the greatest force and support that can be garnered. 04.11.04
Addendum: During last Tuesday's press conference, George W. Bush stated that the generals could have more troops.