Saturday, October 01, 2005


US General: Bush has dealt the United States a serious strategic blow

So, how will the right spin this? "The invasion of Iraq was the 'greatest strategic disaster in United States history,' a retired Army general [Odom] said yesterday..." Now, "in United States history" covers a lot of territory. The War of 1812, in which our capital city was burned. The battle of Manassas (or Bull Run). Pearl Harbor. Vietnam. And I agree with General Odom. The analogy is to World War I, in its last year. The Germans initiated the offensive known as the Second Battle of the Marne. It broke the static trench warfare that had prevented either side from winning. In the melee created by a moving front, the Germans suffered heavy casualties and were flung back. The effect was disastrous on morale. Similarly, prior to the invasion of Iraq, we had achieved a state of static "trench warfare" in the Middle East. By invading Iraq, we did-- as people like Wolfowitz foresaw-- disrupt the existing system. Unfortunately, that allowed the insurgency to inflict casualties on American forces, the American economy, and national morale, while communicating to other Arabs the notion that they could hold their own against the American Army. Now, the Iraqi nation is destroyed. It will take generations to recover from the occupation. The constitutional foundations of our government have been shaken, public confidence in leaders of both parties destroyed, and the economy set for years and decades of painful readjustment. Bush may very well declare victory, but this is not what I would call victory for either side. But as Odom says, one needs to look at the larger strategic picture. In that picture, a fourth-rate power may have ended the era of supremacy of the United States in the world, like a pawn taking a queen in chess. One more such "victory" and we are undone.
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