Hanson once again regales us with assurances that Rumsfeld did the best he could.
Most of what he says is old hat: Al Qaeda and Saddam were best buds, really! See, it wasn't about oil, 'casue gas has gone up! WE're in the war now, and whatever we should have done differently 3 years ago, we're doing everything correctly now! All our other wars were just like this one, and if the people would sgut up and kiss Bush's ass, everything would be peachy!
There are only two things to remark on here:
(1) First, Hanson is trying to suggest that if you supported the War in Afghanistanm, you have to support the War in Iraq, but he actually winds up making Afghanistan seem bad rather than making Iraq look good by comparison. He apparently thinks that this will encourage people to say "Well, Afghanistan was necessary, even if it's going somewhat poorly. If we are willing to put up with it there, then we should persevere in Iraq, too. Iraq isn't so bad after all." In reality, people are probably going to start questioning the necessity of the War in Afghanistan, or at least the necessity of staying in there.
(2) Second, Hanson says this in defense of using technology over troop numbers:
If hundreds of billions of dollars were invested in sophisticated smart shells and bombs, drones, and computers, to ensure far greater lethality per combatant, then must traditional troop levels always stay the same? How many artillery pieces is a bomber worth, with ordinance that for the first time in military history doesn't often miss?
But he is ignoring the fact that "not missing" and pinpoint targeting accuracy still do not mean pinpoint lethality when dealing with 500-pound bombs that "cannot destroy a building without damaging adjacent houses and killing people therein." (Cloughey, whom I quote here, goes on to say that "Anyone who imagines or declares that this is possible is a liar or a moron or both.")
He ignores the fact that bombers are not the proper tools to use in counterinsurgency warfare, unles the goal is genocide, or terrorizing the civilian population into submission.
Large troop levels are helpful because they leave a lot of soldiers to patrol, provide secuirty, and to root out insurgents. High-tech bombers and whatnot are essentially good for killing large numbers of people if you are not picky about whom you kill.
Hanson is in essence admitting that the strategy is going to involve what amount massive reprisals by the U.S. against Iraqi civilians (if not in intent, the effect is much the same).
This brings me back to my post from last month where I go into detail on the issue of Iraqi civilian casualties.
So Hanson is, in essence, expressing approval for a policy that may very well be the reason for the high estimates of unreported civilian fatalities in the Lancet study.
That is all.