Monday, January 23, 2006

Quote du Jour

Colin Powell, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Iraq war and secretary of state during the first years of the second Iraq war, knows a thing or two about troop levels:
There were enough troops to defeat the army. [But that] was only part of the battle. The difficult part was taking control of a very large country with 25 million people and you have just taken out the whole government. And guess what: who then becomes the new government? You do, under the laws of land warfare. We were not able to take control, nor did we have the right political approach . . . We were characterising the insurgents as a few dead-enders and saying, "This isn't all that bad." A larger troop presence would have been helpful. I raised the question. The Pentagon says that is not what the generals thought. But the generals were working under political direction that said "this is not going to be that bad." But it did turn out that bad — we were unable to strangle the insurgency in its crib — and now it is raging.
(Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish.)

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