Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Glad to see that the war seems to be in a final stage and reconstruction of Iraq can proceed. There seems to be a lot of gloating on the part of the administration in regard to criticisms of the war plan by retired generals, whom Dick Cheney says are embedded in the media.

I've listened daily to General Wesley Clark on CNN and Col. "Hack" on Larry King Live, both of whom expressed concerns, and I thought their criticisms were reasonable. The alternatives set up by the administration in response to the criticisms are incorrect. It was not a case of "the plan is bad therefore we will lose." It wasn't even a case of the plan being a bad one, the point is that the that was executed was not the best and most effective plan. The case of the 4th ID who had to come down from Turkey is the case in point. There is nothing wrong in saying that the opposition was fiercer than expected among the Saddam paramilitary. Also the whole Northern Front issue is one that still hangs, the oil fields of Kirkuk are still at risk and the war is still not over because we need to take Tikrit, Saddam's home base.

The other major issue is the Weapons of Mass Destruction. It is/was imperative that we capture high party officials, high military officials and Iraqi scientists who can lead us to a smoking gun. The administration has frequently downplayed the WMD issue saying that the priority is to win the war. The point is that we failed to surround and cut off Bahgdad quickly enough to prevent the fleeing of a whole bunch of people and scientists may have been among them. A northern front or a lot more ground troops freed up would have ensure that we could cordon off the city. The fact is that the opposition we faced in the south and up the supply line held up and delayed our forces.

So bottom line, I think there is room to criticize the plan while at the same time acknowledge that it was a very good plan and the young men and women involved performed admirably.


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