Archive for August, 2006

Thomas Ricks with Hugh Hewitt

Monday, August 7th, 2006

Hugh Hewitt continues to get great interviews, asking tough but fair questions of all who will submit to his inquiry. See the posting with links to transcript and audio here.

Also see/hear Ricks interviewed by retired Army Colonel Jeffrey McCausland on Book TV’s After Words.
While Hugh performed his function of asking political questions as a “man of the party,” the retired colonel got to questions that led to policy recommendations.

Three observations:

  1. In my opinion, the biggest problem with discussion of military failures/errors is that MSM and opposition politicians only ask about “mistakes” as political ammunition, but the Army reformed itself after Vietnam by a doctrine and practice of formal and continuous self-criticism aimed at learning and fixing problems without fear of honesty resulting in fixing blame. So, the necessity of sustaining political support seems to cut against the core process that makes the current military so highly competent — but only because of a poisoned domestic politics.
  2. Winning the peace as part of winning the war is now official doctrine, accepting our responsibility to plan for stability and support for civilian authority phases as necessary to mission success, but at the outset of OEF/OIF we did not even study deliberate planning to provide sustained security operations and to shape the conditions for transition to a fully competent civilian government. We hadn’t done nation-building on a large scale in a very long time and the specter of Vietnam hung over the idea.
  3. We had a lot of turbulance in military leadership just as the insurgency was organizing and studying us. If the President had told his senior commanders, GEN Franks and LTG Wallace, before the campaign started that they would not leave their posts until a successful transition to Iraqi self-rule with Iraqi security forces, I have to believe the campaign would have gone far better far sooner. What happened was as if, after Normandy, Eisenhower retired and started a book tour while Patton was called back to run state-side military training.

On Lebanon, Samaritan’s Purse is an excellent way to go if you want to show compassion to the Lebanese people and NOT islamo-fascists. Here is their presentation on the situation.

The full weight of the law

Monday, August 7th, 2006

is 23.5 pounds. As measured by my first semester 1L texts purchased today at the university bookstore.