Sunday, April 22, 2007

"The war is lost," says Harry Reid

The most polite thing that I can say about Harry is that he is grossly misinformed. Ignorance can be cured but stupidity cannot, so I will leave it to the reader to place General Reid in the proper category. I have promised myself that I wouldn't spend the rest of my life being angry at people yet Harry and Nancy continue to test me.

When I returned home from Iraq I found solace and comfort in the Memoirs of U.S. Grant. In my military career different Chiefs of Staff of the Army have published recommended reading lists for officers and I noted that Grant's memoirs were always prominently featured. The country is divided now over the war in Iraq but the divisions in the Civil War were much deeper. Not only had the southern states seceded from the Union but many people in the north, horrified at the slaughter on the battle fields, were deeply opposed to President Lincoln's war policies.

In 1863, as Grant struggled to take Vicksburg he had many northern newspapers brought to him so that he could gauge public opinion. These newspapers were full of advice and criticism about his generalship and conduct of the Vicksburg campaign. His resignation and/or relief were frequent topics of editorials. The tenor of these criticisms weighed on his military decisions as he maneuvered Sherman on a variety of different routes in an effort to get him into position to assail the city. Grant was well aware that the fate of his President and the war was hanging on the success of his Vicksburg campaign.

Field Marshall Reid has declared the so-called "surge" a failure, even though all the troops called for by this strategy are not yet in place. I have serious doubts about Harry's military judgment, whether the issue relates to tactical, operational or strategic military questions. General Petreus is coming to Washington this week to testify to the House on the progress of the war. General Petreus is a good man and well qualified to report on the status of the Iraq campaign. Like General Grant, Petreus is well aware that the fate of a President and the war are riding on his success. Whatever Harry thinks that he is doing, he is not making the good generals job any easier, or the jobs of the many American service men and women in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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