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Reply #61: Gates and the Urge to Surge [View All]

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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 08:40 PM
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61. Gates and the Urge to Surge
By Ray McGovern
November 23, 2008

SNIP

As he did with the Iraq surge over the past two years, Gates now is talking up the prospects for an Afghan surge.

The notion that things are out of control in Afghanistan or that were sliding toward a disaster, I think, is far too pessimistic, Gates said.

Yet the argument that Gates used to support his relative optimism makes us veteran intelligence officers gag at least those who remember the U.S. in Vietnam in the 1960s, the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s and other failed counterinsurgencies.

SNIP

Gates ought to read up on Vietnam, for his words evoke a similarly benighted comment by U.S. Army Col. Harry Summers after that war had been lost.

In 1974, Summers was sent to Hanoi to try to resolve the status of Americans still listed as missing. To his North Vietnamese counterpart, Col. Tu, Summers made the mistake of bragging, You know, you never beat us on the battlefield. Colonel Tu responded, That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.

SNIP

Im all for civilian control of the military. But I see much more harm than good in political generals like the anointed David Petraeus who give ample evidence of being interested, first and foremost, in their own advancement.

Why do I say that? Because Petraeus, like McKiernan, knows Afghanistan is another quagmire. But he wont say it.

Rather than do the right thing and brief his superiors on the realities of Afghanistan, Petraeus and the generals he has promoted seem likely to follow the time-honored practice of going along to get along.

In any event, none of them get killed or wounded. The vast majority get promoted, so long as they keep any dissenting thoughts to themselves.

It is the same pattern we witnessed regarding Vietnam. Although the most senior military brass knew, as the French learned before them, that the war/occupation could not be successful, no senior officer had the integrity and courage to speak out and try to halt the lunacy.

http://www.consortiumnews.com/Print/2008/112308a.html
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