Tuesday, March 07, 2006


The next Storyblogging Carnival will be over at DesertLight Journal. If you have ever posted a story on your blog, this is a good way to let people know about it.

empty criticisms

From Hugh Hewitt, this article from E. J. Dionne about boring election stuff, but one paragraph is worth mentioning just because it is an instance of a template that has been adopted by people who want to sound reasonable on the war while still blaming Bush for everything:
Many Americans opposed the war in the first place, but many who supported it are aghast that the administration did the thing so badly. It did not dispatch enough troops to achieve order at the outset, and it failed to plan for the inevitable conflicts that would arise among the country's ethnic and religious groups.
This is a completely empty criticism. First, there is more to sending more troops than just wanting more troops to go. What units were available with the necessary training for control civilian populations? What function were they performing at the time and was that function less important than stopping looting in Iraq? How were they going to stop the looting? Would you be in favor of shooting looters? Couldn't the troops already there have stopped the looting if they had been willing to shoot looters? Was the existence of uncommitted reserves useful to keep Iran and Syria out of the war or keep North Korea from doing something stupid while we were otherwise occupied?

And the second one is even worse. How do you "plan" for insurgencies? Well, you divide up the area into zones of responsibility, you station troops in the area, you begin developing civilian leadership, you begin developing intelligence assets, you engage in activities to win over the population. Bush did all of those things. What else was there to do that he didn't do? Just saying "he didn't plan" without offering concrete examples of things he should have done is empty rhetoric. It's like saying "he should have used a magic spell to stop the terrorists." Offer something concrete and possible or shut up.

UPDATE: fixed a reference to North Korea. Thanks to Donald for the comment.