Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bit by Bit the Truth Dawns on Them...

Over at National Review's The Corner, Rich Lowry, who the the last few months has been teetering back and forth on the edge of realizing what a truly disastrous President George W. Bush has been, both for the GOP and the Republic, finally admits what should have been blindingly obvious three years ago:

I believe there is no way a liberal Democratic administration would have been able, in the post-9/11 environment, to run-down and over-stretch the U.S. military the way the Bush administration has by giving it ambitious missions without significant new resources and manpower. This is very much a Nixon-to-China kind of phenomenon, because a liberal wouldn't have won the acquiescence of the Right to such a thing. But Bush has mostly gotten it—and, moreover, conservative audiences still give Rumsfeld standing ovations!

Lowry then quotes extensively from a Washington Post article that reports that the army and marine corps feel that they are overstretched and will shortly ask for large increases in manpower and equipment. According to the article, any notion of sending significantly (50,000+) more US forces to Iraq is pure fantasy since the US doesn't have the forces available. Why? Because the Bush administration made no effort to increase the number of available soldiers, even as it drastically increased US military commitments in the Middle East.

According to Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, the Army and Marine Corps today cannot sustain even a modest increase of 20,000 troops in Iraq. U.S. commanders for Afghanistan have asked for more troops but have not received them, noted the Iraq Study Group report, which called it "critical" for the United States to provide more military support for Afghanistan...

...The U.S. military today could cobble together two or three divisions in an emergency — compared with as many as six in 2001 — not enough to carry out major operations such as overthrowing the Iranian government. "That's the kind of extreme scenario that could cripple us," said Michael E. O'Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institution.

The invasion of Iran that the neoconservatives are so desperate to draw the US into would be a catastrophe that could easily break the US military. Not that the neocons actually care about the US military, or much about the US for that matter. So much better for other people to be martyred while pursuing their ideological universalism.

The question that Lowry doesn't ask is what price should the Bush administration pay for its shocking lack of competence and foresight? Or, better still, what price should conservatives and GOP leaders force the administration pay?


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