Monday | August 19, 2002
War momentum fizzling
Not a single high-ranking military man has yet to publicly support an invasion of Iraq. Former NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark is the latest to counsel against Gulf War II.
Clark joins Powell, Schwarzkopf, and the current Joint Chiefs of Staff as opposing an Iraq invasion on both diplomatic and military grounds. Furthermore, prominent Republicans such as Kissinger, Armey, Hagel and others are leading the charge against an unecessary and costly war.
There has been speculation that these Republicans are giving Bush political cover for a withdrawl -- having talked war for so long, any retreat would be viewed as a sign of weakness. Thus, the argument goes, Bush can gracefully back down as he "considers" the advice from members of his own party.
The administration says otherwise:
[A]dministration officials said that because they have not formally elected military action against the Iraqi dictator, it would be premature and politically dangerous to lay out a lengthy justification for an American military strike -- particularly without a war plan in place to back up the talk.This is laughable at best. The Bush Administration and its minions over at the National Review have been trying to justify an Iraq campaign for almost a year. Saddam has WMD. He gasses his own people. He threatens his neighbors. Etc., etc. Truth is, those arguments have rung hollow and have failed to provide adequate justification for Gulf War II.
Bush has now backed himself into an ideological corner. If he fails to act, after railing against Saddam's evils, then he appears weak. Thus, many argue, Bush has no choice but to attack.
But that ignores real military concerns -- now voiced publicly by the nation's most accomplished war-time generals. While it would be difficult to insert massive numbers of troops into Iraq without the support of any of its neighbors, that problem pales in comparison to the logistical nightmare the operation would pose. Military forces gobble up war material at frightening rates -- food, water, diesel fuel, and ammunition. Supplying a massive force from the air is not feasible (not for the hundreds of thousands of troops this operation would require), and would be impossible in a contaminated (biological or chemical) environment.
Again, military men see these difficulties and cringe from moving forward. Many Republicans have arrived at the same conclusion. But boxed in by his own rhetoric, will Bush risk a dangerous operations and put lives needlessly at risk, if only to save face?Posted August 19, 2002 08:35 AM | Comments (6)