On the other hand, the program sometimes fails to meet minimal standards for balance and intellectual honesty. Monday’s (January 8th) opening interview with Jack Keane, retired Army Vice Chief of Staff, and Michael Gordon of the New York Times is an unfortunate example.
As one would hope, Keane showed a detailed grasp of the military situation in
How can the new strategy be distinguished from the old? Keane argued that the influx of 20,000+ U.S. troops would, at last, permit units to evict the militias from neighborhoods and hold them, providing long-term security to residents. This strategy, combined with increased financial assistance to combat massive unemployment, could bring about the proverbial “turnaround” in
Gordon was less sanguine about the prospects for this allegedly “new” strategy. He challenged the very dubious assumption that the Iraqi army and police will suddenly develop both the will and the capability—heretofore totally lacking—to join the Americans in implementing the “surge” strategy. Still, he conceded, without offering any evidence, that the planned escalation offers the last, best chance (sound familiar?) for the
Rose failed to follow up with some obvious questions. For one thing, neither he nor his guests mentioned that the “surge” model is nothing more than the “clear and hold” strategy that has already been tried, with notable lack of success. No one pressed the point that “clear and hold” will require a much greater infusion of
No one mentioned that security in
Every month brings a new (and allegedly superior) approach to an intractable situation. Lately we’ve seen “clear and hold,” the plan to secure
All in all, Monday’s Charlie Rose was another weary exercise founded on the questionable idea that decisions in
*Which is not nearly as flattering as may first appear.
GRAPHIC: GI's on patrol in Baghdad.
[Note: I'm actually contemplating a post that's unrelated to the Iraq war, or any other war, or even U.S. politics, but I'll probably get over it. Stay tuned anyway.]