Thursday, December 23, 2004
Pat Buchanan Weighs In On The Rumsfeld Debate
But this administration had Iraq in its gunsights three years ago. Rumsfeld and
the Pentagon are thus responsible for any lack of armor that has resulted in the
woundings and deaths of U.S. soldiers in unprotected vehicles from the roadside
bombs that have become a major killer of American troops.
But he also goes on to analyze the relationship between Rumsfeld and the neocons:
Nonetheless, when one considers all that Rumsfeld has done for the neocons,
the depth of the betrayal astonishes.
Now many are snaking on him. What is going on? Simple.
Rumsfeld is being set up to take the fall for what could become a
debacle in Iraq. As the plotters, planners and propagandists of this war, the
neocons know that if Iraq goes the way of Vietnam, there will be a search
conducted for those who misled us and, yes, lied us into war, and why they did
it. Rumsfeld has become the designated scapegoat.
His clumsy response to Wilson is not the real reason Kristol's crowd
wants him out. As Kristol told the Post, Rumsfeld's "fundamental error ... is
that his theory about the military is at odds with the president's geopolitical
strategy. He wants this light, transformed military, but we've got to win a real
war, which involves using a lot of troops and building a nation, and that's at
the core of the president's strategy for rebuilding the Middle East."
Fair enough. Rumsfeld's goal, pre-9/11 (besides getting a new missile defense system to play with) centered mainly around a lightly, more-mobile military. He was considered to be a reformer, and thus was brought in to bring change in a military that was still, for the most part, equipped to fight the Cold War. And indeed, the sort of changes Rumsfeld sought are exactly what we needed to fight the opening battles in the War on Terrorism (it took less than a month to bring significant force down on Afghanistan, which is quite the accomplishment).
But Rumsfeld himself, the champion of change, does not seem to be all that flexible in adapting to the requirements of the modern world, for what we have seen in the last 18 months is a need not for light and quick strikes, but rather a massive force capable of occupying territory for a length of time. Instead, what we got were post-war predictions that matched the type of military that Rumsfeld wanted, rather than the other way around. And now we're paying the price.
Buchanan concludes his article with an interesting prediction:
President Bush had best recognize what Kristol is telling him. The neocon
agenda means escalation: enlarging the Army, more U.S. troops in Iraq, widening
the war to Syria and Iran, and indefinite occupation of the Middle East, as we
forcibly alter the mindset of the Islamic world to embrace democracy and Israel.
If that entails endless expenditures of tax dollars of U.S. citizens
and the blood of U.S. soldiers, the neocons are more than willing to make the
sacrifice. But if Bush himself fails to deliver, rely upon it. He, too, will get
the Rumsfeld treatment from this crowd, parasitical and opportunistic as it is,
as it seeks another host to ride, perhaps John McCain.
This, of course, raises that question of "who really is in charge in Washington?", and maybe sheds some light on the somewhat bizarre manner in which McCain runs his mouth in front of the press.