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Path to Victory
National Review Online ^ | Nov. 19, 2007 | Donald Rumsfeld

Posted on 11/19/2007 2:29:03 PM PST by ReleaseTheHounds

Editor’s Note: Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld received the 2007 Claremont Institute’s Statesmanship Award in honor of Sir Winston S. Churchill on November 17, 2007, and delivered the following remarks (as released by the secretary, exclusively to National Review Online).

This past year has certainly provided ample entertainment for those interested in politics. The activities of Congress and the unexpected blessing of an extra year of presidential campaigning fill our newspapers, televisions, and blogs. The problem is that this entertainment tends to focus on the petty and the personal, and seems to avoid a serious discussion of the emerging challenges our country and the next president, Republican or Democrat, will face in the coming four years. This evening I want to talk a bit about some of those challenges in this still young and uncertain century.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: donaldrumsfeld; jihad; rummy; rumsfeld; terror; waronterror; wot; wwiv
This is a very good piece. I'm afraid Rummy will be dismissed by too many, having been demonized by the MSM and people like Senator McCain. I still think he was one of the best (if not the best) Defense Secretaries in my lifetime. JMHO.

Regardless, the points he makes in this speech are very much on point and I hope whoever gets the GOP nomination takes a similar attitude and approach to the Global War on Terror. I don't expect anything out of the Dems other than a whimper.

1 posted on 11/19/2007 2:29:04 PM PST by ReleaseTheHounds
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To: ReleaseTheHounds

It appears that the current strategy is indeed better than during the Rummy’s time. In all fairness though, we should not forget the infighting between DoD and the State, where State frequently won and forced a change of the direction proposed by Rummy and his team. I don’t want to lessen his responsibility for the mistakes under his watch, but still, IMHO, as an institution, I’d take DoD over State anytime. Rummy deserves praises for the shake up in the military he started, and I hope it won’t freeze completely without him.

2 posted on 11/19/2007 3:51:09 PM PST by Tolik
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To: ReleaseTheHounds; Lando Lincoln; neverdem; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; King Prout; SJackson; ...

Nailed It!
Moral Clarity BUMP !

This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  

3 posted on 11/19/2007 3:52:37 PM PST by Tolik
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To: ReleaseTheHounds
As the Goldwater-Nichols legislation of 1986 helped moved the branches of the U.S. military toward joint warfighting, the broader federal government may well need a similarly ambitious transformation of non-defense institutions and cultures. -Don Rumsfeld

I think Rumsfeld had such a very long view that he was willing to let the Iraq War/insurgency play itself out with few boots on the ground so that the military would be forced to adapt its methods to win with fewer forces. But the short-run risk was way too high to throw the dice like that. The worst case scenario in Iraq could have been catastrophic with al Qaeda enjoying immense prestige.

However, due to his long experience and dedication he gets a lot of visionary things right.

4 posted on 11/19/2007 4:47:45 PM PST by NutCrackerBoy
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To: NutCrackerBoy; Tolik

Rummy probably should have scaled back his vision of transforming the military/DOD right after 9/11 recognizing that he had to go conventional (big foot-print) in Iraq. But, I’m sure you’ll both recall, all of the warnings (from State, Iraqi insiders, etc.) who warned about the large footprint. He can also be criticized for not having good alternative plans in place and the adjustments Patreaus has shown to be so necessary in fighting this war. But Rummy’s vision is the right one for probably the next 20 years. And let’s not forget the 1/3 reduction in force thanks to Bubba and his buddies from the prior Administration. And Colin Powell proved to be a very poor friend and Secretary of State, IMHO.

5 posted on 11/19/2007 6:08:22 PM PST by ReleaseTheHounds ("You ask, 'What is our aim?' I can answer in one word: VICTORY - victory - at all costs...")
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To: NutCrackerBoy; LS
Read the professor’s book, “American’s Victories.” There is a perspective about Fallujah and the other aspects of GW II that I hadn’t heard before. It explains why we didn't charge in right away, why the force used was small rather than overwhelming numbers, why it appeared that we weren't doing anything when in fact it was according to plan, and chose not to slug it out door to door. We're only now harvesting the full victory, winning not only the tactical battle but also the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

The real problem, and it tracks with Rummy’s “long view,” is that strategerie does not fit into our sitcom-induced time perspective. Some things take time and cannot be finished in the same "episode." Further, you absolutely cannot explain your war-fighting strategy to the 200 million or so armchair generals at the same time it is playing out. There has to be a measure of faith that the generals and their civilian leaders know what they are doing.

6 posted on 11/19/2007 6:15:42 PM PST by NonValueAdded (Fred Dalton Thompson for President)
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To: NonValueAdded

Bingo ....

I have been extremely disappointed (and disgusted) with the “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” (MMQ) who claim that the military did a bad job, poor planning, etc.

But the reality is that if we had gone in with a large footprint (the MMQs say we should have had 2 times or 3 times the size we actually used.) BUT - if we had gone it with an extremely large force - we would have probably had more Iraqi people deciding that we were a permanent occupation force to steal their oil. Surrounding Arab countries might have been more overtly hostile, and we would have probably had to deal with more foreign fighters coming in to help “repeal the infidel crusader.”

Also,the USA had minimal credibility. We had failed to come to the Iraqi people’s assistance in 1992 when the Shiites tried to revolt against Saddam (with our encouragement.) There were hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people who were killed. They didn’t know that we would stand firm.

Ultimately, we went in with a smaller force - adequate to do the job of removing Saddam. Once the Iraqi people saw that we came to help and not harm, and that we had soldiers willing to risk their lives to protect innocent civilians - and we stuck tough while the situation became tough ...and we changed tactics to show the people that we cared for them enough to help them and give them a chance for freedom - only then did the population wake up to realize that the US was trying to give them a chance - but they would have to seize it and make it happen.

I think that the results would have been worse for us if we had gone in with the big foot print.

I credit the military for so many successes. Yes, there were mistakes and errors - but if you look at WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Viet Nam war - we had far more errors that resulted in far more deaths. That the death count is only now approaching 4000 is nothing short of a military marvel. The fact that our military has minimized the deaths of innocent civilians is also a wonder. Ultimately, the “moderates” of Islam will need to face up the fact that the high death count of the Iraqi people is due to radicals, and the inability of the religion to ostracize those radicals.


7 posted on 11/19/2007 11:05:20 PM PST by Vineyard
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To: Vineyard

Our biggest failure has been in not countering the information-ops / psyops of our adversaries.

8 posted on 11/20/2007 4:11:05 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: Tolik

See, I disagree. Maybe tweaking the strategy from aggressive hunting of AQ to “secure neighborhoods” has affected a change among the Iraqis-—that’s good-—but I think the “surge” really worked because we are now playing against the “b” and “c” teams-—we slaughtered the “a” team from 2004-2006. Wiped out their leadership, training, best motivated guys, etc., partly because of Rummy’s plans.

9 posted on 11/20/2007 4:22:10 AM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of News)
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To: LS

You may be right about the a, b, and c teams. Its very hard to say if the same strategy would have been effective 2 years sooner. Maybe yes with 300,000 people to plug more holes, or maybe not and indeed the Sunnis had to suffer from the AQ inhumanity to understand the difference.

The events are still too recent for even the hindsight to be 20/20. I’ve read good arguments supporting the opposite points of view. For example: de-Baathification - critics are saying that it created anarchy in places without old leadership. Supporters maintain that without it we’d be (rightfully) called hypocrites by keeping the same old corrupt bureaucrats working against us anyway. Fallujah - I thought at the time that we should have given a 24 - 48 hours warning and then erased it completely. On another hand now its a functioning city when otherwise it would have be nothing, and maybe a rallying point for our enemies.

One thing is certain for me: that somehow we have to balance in-between 2 opposites: not to succumb to the 24/7 mass news hysteria demanding an immediate result now - i.e. we have to be patient because its simply impossible to have everything working magically in no time. On another hand we can’t be too slow because it creates an image of timidness, indecisiveness - and all the fence-sitters should know that we are the strong horse and our enemies are not. Its a thankless job, and I don’t envy Bush, Rummy or Petraeus who’s got to absorb all criticism from all sides and still move forward. I think we are lucky that we have/had them.

10 posted on 11/20/2007 11:40:17 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik

Yah, I know a lot of people wanted to keep the Iraqi army together because of the economic issues. But if we did that, can you imagine the constant assassinations, murders, and ambushes some of those guys would have facilitated? Then Bush would have been blamed for that.

11 posted on 11/21/2007 4:44:09 AM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of News)
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