The generals' comments reflect an evolving outlook that senior military officials and even Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld have articulated in recent months. The battle against Iraqi insurgents will not be won by the U.S. military [emphasis mine], they have said, and the insurgency will persist long after U.S. troops have left.It even seems to have gotten through to Captain Oblivious, who seems to have discovered the advantages of nuance:
"If [the insurgency] does go on for four, eight, 10, 12, 15 years, whatever … it is going to be a problem for the people of Iraq," Rumsfeld said in June.
"They're going to have to cope with that insurgency over time. They are ultimately going to be the ones who win over that insurgency."
The generals' words also represent a less ambitious definition of military success than what President Bush has put forth in recent statements.A dose of reality: we're not succeeding at training Iraqi troops (recently the number of Iraqi battalions considered "ready to operate independently" was revised from 3 to 1. That's "one battalion", as in "somewhere between 300 and 1000 troops". In over two years we've been occupying the country. We're not going to defeat the insurgency on our own. We're not going to successfully install a puppet government. And we're not going to stop terrorists from operating in Iraq. Not without a much bigger commitment of troops and a plan for a long-term occupation government, at least.
At his ranch near Crawford, Texas, in August, Bush said that "when the mission of defeating the terrorists in Iraq is complete, our troops will come home."
More recently, Bush has offered a more nuanced view of success, emphasizing the importance of training Iraqi troops as part of the U.S. mission to defeat the insurgents.
So let's bring the troops home. Haven't enough Americans been killed there in the service of lies, bad judgement, and worse planning?