December 22, 2004

Why People Hate Rumsfeld

I like Rummy. He's not the best politician and not the best Secretary, but he's honest and he's got good ideas. I also trust him. He knows he won't be President, and he says what he thinks. That's horrid for a diplomat but entertaining to watch. Not the best Secretary, but one of the best politicians.

Partisan Democrats hate Rumsfeld because he's in the Bush Administration.

The traditional military establishment hates Rumsfeld because he's trying to reform them into a smaller, lighter, mobile force that costs less money, and they're into Overwhelming Force and getting bushels of money from Congress.

McCain hates Rumsfeld because he's more of a conventional, Colin Powell, Overwhelming Force doctrine kind of guy. I also really like McCain, because he's honest and wonkish, even though he's populist.

Ultimately, Rumsfeld's lack of tact makes him abrasive, but then Bolton still has his job in State and they hate abrasive people even more over there. Rumsfeld is unpopular because he's trying to really change the military. He's getting bad press because his style is very gruff and blunt. If he were only a reformist or only gruff then he'd be more popular, but doing both makes enemies too quickly.

Of course, Iraq wasn't his style - Afghanistan was. If you want to study Rumsfeld's success or failure in doctrine, Afghanistan is a good example. Considering they had elections and now have an elected governemnt with female participation, I'd say it was pretty successful.

The problem in Iraq was the usual problem with fuckhead politicians. As with the economy, which they refuse to make either socially-centered or market-centered, they refused to make the war in iraq wholly Rumsfeld mobility doctrine or Powell Overwhelming Force doctrine.

The result was they had too many troops to be mobile like Rumsfeld wanted and not enough troops to have overwhelming force like Powell and the military wanted. Fuckhead politicians. Sometimes the Golden Mean just doesn't apply.

They should have done one or the other. Personally, I think they should've done mobility doctrine, used special forces heavily (Kerry supposedly wanted this in the campaign season, and he was going to fund SpecOps better) to take out military installations, use ground forces to secure various areas after them, and then don't fire the Iraqi army. The Republican Guard could not be toyed with, but most of the traditional army didn't care about Saddam and surrendered almost on sight (remember in march and April all the video footage of Iraqis walking down roads past US soldiers to give themselves up).

They should've kept on the Iraqi army, made sure they got paid, and then given them stupid stuff, guarding buildings, etc. If you're worried about corruption then keep US soldiers around to monitor from time to time.

Better than firing 300 or 400 thousand soldiers, even if they aren't very well trained. Might as well have just handed their addresses over to the insurgency.

But that would be a huge cost burden to keep on the Iraqi army and to try and do our own overwhelming force. Ultimately, Overhwleming Force can only work two ways: genocide or fear. Either you scared them to death or you killed them all. Since we're not willing to accept the moral and political dimensions of genocide (rightly so) and we're nowhere near the financial capacity to scare the entire insurgency out of fighting - men and women willing to blow themselves up - we need something besides overwhelming force.

Overwhelming Force is the same idea brought to you by the people who think more money will fix any political problem. Sometimes it's not how much you spend but where you spend it.

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