Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » October 2004 » Thought for the Day:

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10/20/2004: Thought for the Day:

But let's take another look at where the theory, to some degree, has been put into practice—in actual military tactics and operations. The question, to put it on the table again: Is this the right sort of transformation? It worked in Iraq and Afghanistan as long as the mission was to plow into opposing armies and topple a regime. However, the current mission is what the military calls "security and stabilization operations." And the doctrine of transformation seems to have no bearing on this phase of conflict whatsoever.

The point of transformation is to fight mobile, high-tech wars with fewer troops. Yet, as everyone has by now recognized, occupying, securing, and stabilizing conquered territory is a fairly static, decidedly low-tech enterprise that requires almost nothing but troops—the more, the better.

There's a false nomenclature, used by officials and critics alike, about the war in Iraq. It is misleading to say that we're in danger of "winning the war but losing the peace." We are not embroiled in some "postwar" operation. We're still embroiled in a war—the same war that started in March 2003.

One of the saddest stories about this war was told in a Knight-Ridder piece this past weekend. Shortly before the invasion of Iraq got underway last year, a group of military and intelligence officers met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to watch a slide show that laid out the details of the finished war plan. The final slide was the shocker. Labeled "Phase 4-C" (meaning the phase for security and stabilization), the slide read: "To be provided."

It's not that Rumsfeld had no plan to win the peace. He had no plan to win the war.
--Fred Kaplan

Len on 10.20.04 @ 06:33 AM CST

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