Thursday, May 27, 2004

The first step: admit you have a problem

Key neo-con takes the first step:

"Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz admitted today what everyone has known for months: The United States underestimated the determination of Saddam Hussein and his intelligence service to resist the occupation in Iraq. Wolfowitz said, “I would say of all the things that were underestimated, the one that almost no one that I know of predicted was to properly estimate the resilience of the regime that had abused this country for 35 years.”
This is an extraordinarily important statement. Wolfowitz is one of the key American strategists. Until Wolfowitz-and by implication Rumsfeld-publicly acknowledged their miscalculation of the regime’s resilience, there was no possibility of a serious adjustment of strategy. That and the admission that the United States did not know how many troops would be required and for how long set the two poles in place for a strategic re-evaluation. Having been wrong about the enemy’s capabilities and intentions, prior strategic estimates are out the window. There is no valid forecast at this point. In the world of strategy, the lack of a forecast on something as basic as troop levels means there must be a comprehensive review. No one can argue any longer that what the United States is doing is working. That opens the door to the inevitable strategic re-evaluation.

While Wolfowitz’s statement finally opens the door to the future, we will permit ourselves one final look at the past. Wolfowitz said that almost no one he knew “properly” estimated the level of resistance. That is certainly true, if by “properly” you mean describing the nature of the guerrilla war"


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