If you have nothing better to do, go read about the new National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.
Let me know if you see anything in it that looks like a strategy, or resembles a coherent definition of "victory." If you can, you're doing a lot better than I am. Heck, you're doing better than just about any other political/military analyst on the planet.
Even if this document really were a "strategy for victory in Iraq," it would hardly be cause for praising the Pentagon or the White House. (Like, uh, they just now came up with one?)
This new "strategy" is a comprehensive and well-organized rehash of the same mantras, propaganda, and bunkum we've been hearing for the last few years. And like the war itself, the strategy is also a complete waste of tax dollars. Neither it, nor any of the other war talk coming out of Washington these days, is going to change the inevitable course of action.
Jack Murtha hit it on the head when he told Tim Russert that our troops would be mostly redeployed in time for the '06 elections. This will happen partly because of the political realities of election politics. But it will mainly happen because of the physical realities about the shape of our military, especially our land forces. The Iraq escapade has ground them into the dirt. If they stay deployed in numbers too much longer, they may never recover. Mister Bush won't be able to give the rich a tax cut big enough to be able to fix our broken Army and Marine Corps!
The so called "think tanks" are certain to make a fortune crafting wise sounding "lessons learned" from Iraq, and I fear that most of them will miss the most important points.
-- Wars of invasion and occupation are a bad idea.
-- Wars conducted to effect regime change are a bad idea.
-- "Preemptive deterrence" is a bad policy.
-- The Project for the New American Century and the rest of the folks who conspired to bring on this war are bad people.
Of course, the bad people who brought us into this war are the same ones who will draw up the lessons learned.
So at the end of the day, we may not have learned anything. At least not officially.
I hope, however, that Congress (yes, Congress, not the Department of Defense) takes a good hard look at the nature of our armed services. Iraq has clearly demonstrated the dangers of having an all-volunteer, professional, "best trained, best equipped" military. Having something like that handy to sic on whomever you decide to sic it on can be a dangerous thing--especially when you have civilian leaders who think nothing of using it to promote their political agendas.
However, comma, going back to a draft isn't such a great idea either. Universal conscription won't do any good. Heck, what would we do if every eighteen year old in the country had to go in the military? What would we do with them all? Universal conscription would amount to little more than a socialist "first jobs" program. How many more tax cuts would we need to finance that?
And a lottery style draft would be just as unfair and corrupt as it was during the Vietnam era. The Bush twins would serve as flight attendants with the Texas Air National Guard.
It's probably more important for Congress to repeal the War Powers Act of 1973 and draw up a new one--one that restricts a President from conducting an Iraq style invasion without a formal declaration of war from Congress.
Some argue against Congressional war declarations, asserting that a formal declaration gives a President virtual dictatorial powers. I disagree. If anyone can show me where the Constitution of the United States grants those kinds of powers to a president in times of "declared war," please speak up.
Yes, Presidents in the past have exceeded their constitutional authority in times of war. But they only did so because Congress and the courts let them get away with it.