Monday, October 31, 2005

Notable

The connection between Iran and Al Qaida continues to be largely ignored even while the more intelligent observers such as Michael Ledeen attempt to draw attention to it. Of course, some people such as Leonard Peikoff have pointed out for some time that
Iran--not Iraq--is the primary threat to American interest in the Middle East and has been since it confiscated our oil fields in the 1950s. Iran is the major sponsor of international terrorism throughout the world and is the country most responsible for lethal attacks on American citizens. For these reasons, Iran fully deserves bloody retribution.
(from a 1997 op-ed). Peikoff
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Meanwhile, while we continue to be engaged in Iraq, despite some calls for a larger military force, I have always been of the amateur opinion that what we lack in Iraq is not numbers but ruthlessness. While this article by an Army Officer on patrol in Iraq does not argue exactly what I had in mind, it does make the following relevant point
It is disappointing that intelligent people who are well versed in military affairs are capable of seeing a forest but fail to recognize that it is composed of trees, with some trees bearing more fruit than others. To put it in less abstract terms, we have enough troops in Iraq, but far too few of them are engaged in hunting down our enemies and training our Iraqi allies. Rather than maximizing the number of soldiers in Iraq, we should be focusing on maximizing the effectiveness of the soldiers who are already there.
The officer goes on to explain that
The so-called "tooth to tail" ratio is an issue that the military has always struggled to keep the lid on. Unfortunately, the lid is gone and the problem is out of control. Our tail is far too large and our teeth are far too small. Until we fix this, our problems will continue. We will continue to be frustrated by effectiveness well below our potential or we will pursue an economically unsustainable troop buildup. Neither is acceptable. We have more than enough troops in Iraq. We can and must use them more effectively.
And the last point certainly seems more in line with what I would like to see and would actually eliminate any talk of drafts or even recruitment targets.

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