VDH on Fiasco

Victor David Hanson has reviewed "Fiasco" by Thomas Ricks. Here are my comments on his review...

"None of this is to say that Ricks at times is not correct in his criticism. Tommy Franks should not have left the theater abruptly upon the conclusion of the three-week war. Moqtada al Sadr long ago should have been dealt with for the mayhem and murder he committed. We waited too long to hold elections. Not a single American from the occupation authority should ever have appeared on television. And the pullback from Fallujah in spring 2004 was a near-disaster.

But because the reason-to-be of the entire narrative is to prove the validity of the book's title, Ricks's identification of these undeniable lapses loses its force"

They're not undeniable.

Franks leaving had no military effect whatsoever.

Allowing Al Sadr to live allowed us to observe how the Iraqi people and government would react to this thug. It provided information we would not otherwise have.

We didn't wait too long to hold elections. Michelle Malkin is reporting that we held them too early. Reality is they were held at an appropriate time. We had just enough time to transition from decent US colonial rule to semi-decent Iraqi rule to whatever dimwits the Iraqis would elect. If it had been delayed any longer we risked getting a fatwa against us from Sistani.

Paul Bremer appearing on TV had no military effect.

The pullback from Fallujah served many purposes. We forced the Iraqi politicians to take responsibility for their own decisions. We
got to observe what sort of economy/Islamic paradise terrorists intended to establish. We got to see whether Iraqis actually liked living in a "Beyond Thunderdome" economy. And whether they would tell their friends "please don't vote for these nutcases at the next elections". We also allowed the beleagured Iraqis a chance to save face, so that they could claim that they defeated a superpower. I don't think it is wise to humiliate the enemy. The Iraqis gained instant popularity throughout the Middle East after Fallujah. And abandoning Fallujah for a few months had no military effect.

The objective of the US should be to allow the majority of Iraqis to implement a sort of "revolution". In their revolution they have installed Maliki and are trying to enforce the rule of law. The US is assisting in that process. All responsibility lies with the revolutionaries (which are a majority of the population), not the US. The US should be a disinterested observer, merely giving advice when asked for it, and providing muscle when asked.

The US has trained the security forces of the revolutionaries as quickly as it could. The insurgents did not interrupt that process. Nothing the insurgents have done has had any significant military effect. There is no fiasco. There is no problem. It has all gone as well as it could have. The sectarian violence has no military effect either. And is not the US's responsibility either. This is an Iraqi phenomenon for Iraqis to solve. That's what happens in revolutions...

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