Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Surge to Dien Bien Phu

The U.S. Army generals have now conceded and completely surrendered their honor to the contemptible politicians who will blame them later, after the upcoming disaster. They are now planning the American Dien Bien Phu. Although it is taken out of context, here's a matching observation from 50 years ago.
In May 1953, French Premier Rene Mayer appointed Henri Navarre, a trusted colleague, to take command of French Forces in Indochina. Mayer had given Navarre a single order – to create military conditions that would lead to an "honorable political solution."[7] On arrival, Navarre was shocked by what he found. "There had been no long-range plan since de Lattre's departure. Everything was conducted on a day-to-day, reactive basis. Combat operations were undertaken only in response to enemy moves or threats. There was no comprehensive plan to develop the organization and build up the equipment of the Expeditionary force. Finally, Navarre, the intellectual, the cold and professional soldier, was shocked by the 'school's out' attitude of Salan and his senior commanders and staff officers. They were going home, not as victors or heroes, but then, not as clear losers either. To them the important thing was that they were getting out of Indochina with their reputations frayed, but intact. They gave little thought to, or concern for, the problems of their successors."
Sound familiar?

Our soldiers and our country are marching into the abyss. Because of the inability of our pig-headed president to admit defeat, because of goddamn presidential politics concerning the 2008 election, because of a national self-image that thinks of ourselves as inevitable winners no matter what, America will now stumble headlong into the most horrifying battles of the war. We need to get the fuck out, right now. Instead, because of surging, we will go from 3,000 dead soldiers to 4,000 soldiers in an eye-blink. We will escalate troop levels in Baghdad, and not a goddamn good thing will happen because of it. This is insane.

Kevin Drum correctly notes the political advantages of this move to our side:
If they don't get to play the game their way, they'll spend the next couple of decades trying to persuade the American public that there was nothing wrong with the idea of invading Iraq at all. We just never put the necessary resources into it.

Well, screw that. There's nothing we can do to stop them anyway, so give 'em the resources they want. Let 'em fight the war the way they want. If it works -- and after all, stranger things have happened -- then I'll eat some crow. But if it doesn't, there's a chance that the country will actually learn something from this.

I wish it were otherwise. But it isn't.
But it's not fucking worth it. We, the secular progressives, the leftists, the Kossacks, we are already going to be blamed for this war, irrespective of our near-unanimous rejection of it. I was spitting nails about this goddamn idiotic idea back in 2002, and now, now that it's a hideous, blood-stained bed of misery, I still know that we cannot change this situation and we will still be blamed for it. Because we already have been.

Digby and Atrios echoing the same points with more eloquence, less rage and despair.

Update: Indeed, as Talking Points Memo says, the generals must follow these orders from the civilian leadership, or a military coup has begun. Yet, there are alternatives, and not giving public cover for a disaster is one of them. Resigning with wide public notice of one's reasons is another. Josh Marshall speaks of resigning as if it were unacceptable. It is honorable alternative.


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