web counter Media Lies: Greg just can't let it go

Thursday, December 09, 2004

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Greg just can't let it go

Once again, Greg at Belgravia Dispatch is on Rumsfeld's case. Is he right?

First he references an article in WaPo, a clear sign that he gives credibility to the Post despite their obvious bias against the President and Rumsfeld. He also fails to mention the article's reference to several people from the Pentagon who said they saw nothing unusual in the meeting (despite the fact that the press has played it up to the hilt.)

Rumsfeld has pointed out that production of armored Humvees has been increased from 15 per month to 450 per month, but this isn't good enough for Greg. Somehow Rumsfeld should have done more, faster, better. Nevermind the fact that there aren't that many armorers available to begin with. Nor does Greg mention that a Pentagon official pointed out that the unarmored Humvees aren't used in unsafe areas and they're trucked in to Iraq, not driven.

Greg also references an Opinion Journal article entitled Rumsfeld in Denial. By pure coincidence, the article is written by none other than retired General Barry McCaffrey, the same man who is the source of much of the venom in the Post article. Oh, and the article was written a year ago. Nevermind that, though, it serves Greg's purpose - to belittle and criticize the Secretary, because Greg, in his infinite wisdom knows better than Rumsfeld.

Greg then references a Wall Street Journal article that reveals much about Army planners' thinking. Somehow Rumsfeld is guilty of not being able to foretell the future as well.

Oddly enough, Rumsfeld seems to clearly understand the problem.
Mr. Rumsfeld acknowledges that the military, which is still organized "to fight big armies, navies and air forces on a conventional basis," must change in order to deal with guerrilla fighters and terrorists. "The department simply has to be much more facile and agile," he says in an interview. "We have got to focus more on the post-combat phase."

But he adds that the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate the "critical importance of speed and precision as opposed to mass or sheer numbers."
IOW, the military needs to change. Having been in the military myself, I can tell you that is not an easy task. Nor will it be accepted readily by the leadership. There is great resistance to change in the military, almost a self-reinforcing impetus against change.

So what Rumsfeld wants and what he finally gets won't be the same thing. This is, I'm sure, to some degree, what he was referring to when he said, "As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

I know it's hard for non-military folks to understand this, but when I hear a Barry McCaffrey talking about what's wrong in Iraq, I immediately think, "Past tense." McCaffrey thinks like "old-style" military because that's what he is. Iraq was won with new-style military, and that is still in the transformational stages. Some will resist that change, and they will use their position to make their feeling known, anonymously.

No one thought the Marines could go through Fallujah with such light casualties, but they did. The "experts" thought we'd lose 10,000 men fighting in the streets of Baghdad, but we didn't. Even with the present count of just over 1000 combat dead, we are at 10% of what "experts" like McCaffrey and Shinseki thought we'd be at. Shouldn't Rumsfeld get credit for that? We're lighter, faster, more mobile, more adaptable and more lethal. That's not a bad combination. It's certainly caused consternation among the terrorists, who were expecting another Mogadishu in Fallujah.

But we're still learning. (Please don't tell me learning is a bad thing!) "Experts" have admitted that the drive to Baghdad will be studied for a long time. I suspect the occupation will be as well. And we'll learn from our mistakes and get better. That has to be a scary thought to the jihadis, who have already tasted death in the thousands from our forces.

UPDATE: Blackfive seems to agree with me and lists other milblogs that do as well. I repeat - this is a problem of non-military types not understanding how the military works.

UPDATE2: Froggy Ruminations agrees as well.
Finally, as I was listening to Rush, a former Guardsman called in and set him straight, but civilians can never understand what it's like to be in the service.
UPDATE 3: The Corner has a memo with facts about Humvees and armor.