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What of the retired military analysts? From traditional conservatives and retired Army Colonels Bill Lind and David Hackworth, we heard early, consistent cautions regarding our backfired boutique war in Iraq. Their wise words ignored by the administration and the Pentagon, Hackworth and Lind in different ways have provided words of clear constant advice on how to successfully deal with what we have wrought in Iraq. Lind’s latest includes "The Last Dignified Exit" and for The American Conservative, the November 22 cover article "Strategic Defense Initiative." Both address the abject failure of our strategy in Iraq, military to be sure, but in a more substantial way, our politics of war. The Bush administration planners have much to answer for, as Colonel Hackworth’s archive indicates. Retired generals from Tony Zinni to William Odom to Brent Skowcroft and a host of others agree with the battle hardened soldier’s concern about administration intent, objective, strategy and Iraq exit possibilities. Yet, truly, these men have had their chance, and no longer serve in the active force.
The litany of stakeholders in American military strategy would be incomplete without the words of the soldiers on the ground in Iraq, or those recently returned. Our soldiers, as do all soldiers in all stupid wars, fight for their brothers in arms, and only for them. Period.
The Bush administration ignores or discounts these critical and honest observers from all parts of the American defense spectrum. Navel gazing groupthinkers to a man (and one woman), the current administration fails to recognize American strategic gains in Iraq – a dominant military presence in the heart of the Middle East, permanent basing, guaranteed petro-dollars, unquestioned control of Iraqi economic development in a post-Saddam environment, and an Iraqi state that will not rise again as a regional power – are simply not well understood by most Americans.
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While it might take a little time, the tipping point will come when some of the active duty (and recently retired) flag officers start speaking up or letting shit leak(if our inept press can pick up on it). When enough of them do, even the Jesuslanders will realize Bush & Co are using their children as cannon fodder. If not, then the eventual draft will do it.