Sunday, November 14, 2004

# Posted 1:54 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SHUT HIM UP BEFORE 2008: According to Wes Clark,
It's hardly surprising that the measure of success in Fallujah is elusive: There's no uniformed enemy force, no headquarters, no central command complex for the troops to occupy and win. At the end, there will be no surrender.
According to the WaPo:
In the southernmost section of Fallujah, where a showdown still loomed, U.S. soldiers discovered an underground bunker and steel-enforced tunnels connecting a ring of houses filled with weapons, medical supplies and bunk beds.

The fighters in the area were armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, and dressed in blue camouflage uniforms with full military battle gear.
It's almost as if the insurgents put on uniforms just to make Clark look stupid. Now, there are some good points in Clark's essay (which also happens to be in the Post.) He says that we have to use diplomacy and force together to win the war in Iraq. But sometimes (and this isn't the first), Clark seems to suffer from political amnesia:
U.S. forces don't "lose" on the battlefield these days. We haven't lost once in Iraq. Nor in Afghanistan. Not in the Balkans, or in the first Gulf War. Nor in Panama.
It's as if Clark never heard of Somalia. Someone should send the General a copy of Black Hawk Down. By the way, doesn't the fact that we have to retake Falluja suggest that we have lost at least one battle in Iraq? But moving on:
This has been a tough battle, and the men and women fighting it deserve every Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star or Purple Heart they receive.
Come on, Wes, the election is over. Besides, are you suggesting that when you were in charge, the army handed out Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts to soldiers who didn't deserve them?
Neither Syria nor Iran could welcome American success in Iraq if they believe it means they'll be next on a list of regimes to be "reformed" by the United States -- and yet that's precisely the goal of American policy. Bringing about change in those countries should be a matter of offering inducements as well as making threats, but not if it adds to the danger for our men and women in uniform. We need to choose: continue to project a grand vision, or focus on success in Iraq.
Right-o! Let's consolidate those dictatorships in Damascus and Teheran! If George Bush stops talking about democracy promotion, then maybe Bashar Assad and the hard-liners in Teheran will suddenly decide that America is no longer a threat (because they were oh so cooperative back when Clinton was President).

It's not that Clark doesn't make good points. It just that he makes so many bad ones, too.
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