Friday, December 10, 2004

Voices of Reason, or Voices of Treason?

Without Reservation
A biweekly column by Karen Kwiatkowski, Lt. Col. USAF (ret.)
02 December 04
Voices of Reason, or Voices of Treason?

Voices of reason are rising in unison. The Bush war in Iraq is increasingly recognized as unwinnable.
Military historian and strategist Martin Van Creveld provides a re-reading of the diaries of General Moshe Dayan as the famous one-eyed warrior toured Vietnam in 1966. In preparation for his visit to the battlefields, Dayan attended a small private dinner in Washington with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, where questions about the situation in Vietnam were asked and answered. Van Creveld writes,
[McNamara] admitted that many of the figures being floated by the Pentagon – particularly those pertaining to the percentage of the country and population "secured" – were meaningless at best and bogus at worst. No more than anybody else could he explain to Dayan how the Americans intended to end the War. What set him apart was the fact that he was prepared to admit it, albeit only in a half- hearted way; as we now know, he already had his own doubts which led to his resignation in the next year. He consoled himself by saying that the War was not hurting the US economy. In other words, it could go on and on until one side or the other gave way.
Van Creveld concludes his article by reminding us of the three problems Dayan saw in America’s military conduct of Vietnam: lack of intelligence, a failed campaign for "hearts and minds" and the problem faced when "an armed force ... keeps beating down on a weaker opponent ... [The stronger force] will be seen as committing a series of crimes; therefore it will end up by losing the support of its allies, its own people, and its own troops." One needn’t open one’s eyes or heart far to see the similarities in Iraq.....