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Saturday, March 29, 2003

The Worst and the Dumbest

Reuters reports that Sy Hersh has a big one coming out about Rummy:

"He thought he knew better. He was the decision-maker at every turn," the article quoted an unidentified senior Pentagon planner as saying. "This is the mess Rummy put himself in because he didn't want a heavy footprint on the ground."

Following up on my post below, here is a June 2002 article from National Review that discusses the ongoing tension within military circles between the radical technophiles and the traditional services. He describes the varying schools of thought as "strategic pluralists," "strategic monists," and "technophiles."

The first are the traditionalists who have believed that they need every possible weapons system and believe in maintaining a large capable force that can meet any threat. This group has been at odds with Army Chief Eric Shinseki, who began an ambitious and long needed Army transformation plan in 1999. But, they had no idea how good they had it until Rummy came along. He pretty much told Shinseki that his plan was scrapped in favor of a much reduced role for the Army in the future and that "boots on the ground" is a discredited concept.

The second group "strategic monists" are simply the types who believe that "air power (or whatever) is all you need." It has been proven wrong time and again. Still, it persists.

The third group falls into the Tofflerite category described in my previous post. Rummy is a technophile of the highest order with a deep and enduring belief in the efficacy of missile defense and space weapons. When he is forced to come back down to planet earth, in the near term this translates into a belief that "standoff and precision-strike weapons, delivered from the air or from space, will always provide a substitute for land power in future combat operations."

The author concludes with:

The fundamental flaw that characterizes both the strategic monist and the technophile is their certainty that they can predict the future. As Loren Thomson of the Lexington Institute recently observed, "much of what transpires under the rubric of transformation is actually grounded in implicit assumptions about future threats." But the future isn't knowable. The fact is that since 1940, the United States has suffered at least one strategic surprise every decade. "So any concept of transformation that proposes sweeping programmatic changes based on a presumed understanding of future challenges is likely to go wrong. There are simply too many possible threats, and the very act of preparing for some reduces the likelihood that those are the ones we will face."

We should be very skeptical of anyone who claims we can know the future well enough to eliminate or substantially reduce certain capabilities, such as land power. Strategic pluralism and balanced forces have provided a hedge against uncertainty in the past and, as such, have served the interests of the United States well. We should not use special cases such as Kosovo and Afghanistan to justify a return to the strategic monism of the 1950s to the detriment of overall U.S. security.

This is yet another example of the radical Republican experimentation with every institution of the United States. Like the wild supply side experiment with radical tax cuts, the Federalist Society assault on the legal system, and the abrupt change to a doctrine of unilateralism and preventive war, it is the result of insular, second rate, ivory tower think tank intellectuals taking the reins of power and completely running amuck.

It is hard to overestimate the level of damage this chaotic agenda of dangerous, radical change these people can wreak. This is no joke. The Democrats had better get a grip on this threat to our way of life. It is not about offended sensibilities or cultural niceties or social conformity. It is about a bunch of mediocre minds and megalomaniacal personalities who are experimenting with the most powerful government on the planet as if it is a Heritage Foundation seminar.

This war is still likely to turn out all right (for the US) in the short term, but it is not nearly the sure thing that it would have been if Rummy wasn't a pie-in-the-sky true believer who has no respect for history, tradition or intellectual inquiry. If we end up having to bombard civilians in large numbers in order to end the Saddam regime, the blood is on Rummy's hands. He really believed that you can win wars through nothing but propaganda and precision bombing of empty buildings. He didn't realize that the only enemies who are that gullible are the Democratic Party.

WE are the conservatives now, folks.