Il Pentagono chiude la questione Bush / Rumsfeld.
Se avete voglia leggete i pezzi qui di seguito e in fondo troverete il mio commento.
Stand with the Iraqis From the August 29, 2005 issue: The enemy should confront the unpleasant prospect of facing the current level of American forces supplemented by an ever-growing number of Iraqi fighters.
ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 11, in Crawford, Texas, President Bush met with his foreign policy team. At a press conference afterwards, he strongly reiterated the core elements of his war policy: We're engaged in a global war on terror; the central front of that war is Iraq; we're committed to winning in Iraq, and to defeating the terrorists, and their sponsors, around the world.
The president was asked about pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq. His response was unequivocal: "Pulling the troops out would send a terrible signal to the enemy. Immediate withdrawal would say to the Zarqawis of the world, and the terrorists of the world, and the bombers who take innocent life around the world, you know, the United States is weak; and all we've got to do is intimidate and they'll leave."
A week later, Vice President Cheney spoke to the 73rd National Convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He, too, offered a strong defense of the core Bush administration understanding of the war on terror: "This is not a war we can win strictly on the defensive. Our only option against these enemies is to find them, to fight them, and to destroy them. . . . Iraq is a critical front in the war on terror, and victory there is critical to the future security of the United States and other free nations. We know this, and the terrorists know it as well."
One sentence, however, stood out like a sore thumb in both the president's and the vice president's remarks: "As Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down," the president said. "
And over time, as Iraqi forces stand up, American forces will stand down," repeated the vice president.
Now, it is probably the case that a couple of years from now we will be able responsibly to reduce the number of American forces in Iraq. But the "stand up/stand down" formulation goes beyond that. It suggests--and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has repeatedly elaborated on this thought--that as Iraqi soldiers get trained, they will replace Americans, apparently regardless of our progress toward victory in the war.
But this formulation--and this policy, if it becomes policy--is, to quote the president, "a terrible signal" to send to the enemy. The enemy should confront the unpleasant prospect of soon facing the current level of American forces supplemented by an ever-growing number of Iraqi fighters. Our enemies should not have the impression that, by continuing the terror, they can secure the reward of facing (inevitably) less-able Iraqi forces in place of American troops.
This formulation, and this policy, is also a terrible signal to send to our friends. It suggests we want to get out more than we want to win. Such a suggestion will itself make winning more difficult--for who will risk committing to a side that seems uncertain about its own commitment, and that seems to be seeking an exit from the struggle?
The right formulation, and the right policy, would be this: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand with them. This formulation is consistent with the Bush administration's general approach to the war on terror. And, as Frederick W. Kagan pointed out last week in the Washington Post, the policy implied by such a commitment--supplementing the current American forces with a couple hundred thousand Iraqi light infantry--would point the way to victory.
For one thing, there are areas like logistics, artillery, and airpower where Iraqi forces cannot substitute for U.S. forces. But, more important, a combined U.S.-Iraqi force doubled in size could fight a more effective and more comprehensive counterinsurgency. We could sweep areas and hold them, instead of sweeping and leaving. We could patrol areas we control--and still launch attacks in areas we don't. We could address problems on the Syrian border--and still concentrate troops in Baghdad.
We could do a better job of protecting Iraq's oil infrastructure, and could provide a better security shield behind which real and lasting economic reconstruction could take place. But all of this is possible only if we stay and fight side-by-side with the Iraqis.
Kagan concludes that, in general, "Iraqis will be dependent on significant levels of U.S. military support for years to come." But the good news is that a combined Iraqi-U.S. force will be able to defeat the terrorists. Conversely, as Kagan puts it, "A decision to reduce forces based mainly on the number of Iraq light infantry available at any moment would be dangerous and unwarranted. It might well put at risk the success of U.S. efforts, and the millions of Iraqis working in perilous conditions to establish democracy in their country."
And it would put at risk victory in Iraq--our victory in Iraq, the central front in the war on terror--our war on terror.
Even talking about "standing down" as the Iraqis stand up makes success more difficult. A commitment to stand with the Iraqis, on the other hand, offers the prospect of victory.
by William Kristol
Rumsfeld v. Kristol
The Pentagon responds.
In his recent editorial ("Bush v. Rumsfeld," Aug. 15 / Aug. 22), William Kristol thinks that he senses the "inescapable whiff of weakness and defeatism" in the leadership of the Pentagon. This is nonsense.
Kristol thinks that talking about a "struggle against violent extremism" is a step down from the "war on terror." They are one and the same. The president constantly reminds us that this is a new kind of war.
It isn't to diminish the war effort, as Kristol suggests, but to strengthen it, that the president and the secretary of defense describe it as a broad effort against an extremist, "murderous ideology"--one that must involve all the elements of national power.
Kristol also mistakes determination for defeatism in Iraq. "The new administration mantra," he writes, "is that the insurgency can be beaten only politically." This "new mantra" is in fact an elementary principle of modern counter insurgency operations and certainly is the key to success in Iraq. The Iraqi people will defeat the insurgency when they starve it of what it needs most--domestic credibility.
Kristol seems to argue that a political process is not enough and points out that the insurgency survived the successful elections of January 30. By the insurgents' own acknowledgment, their failure to prevent those elections was a major setback. The tally is clearly on the side of the Iraqi people; every political milestone on the road to self-government has been met.
Iraqi self-government will succeed not because of military force, but because of the power of the emerging Iraqi government to persuade Iraqis that there is no more hopeful alternative future than freedom and self-government.
Recent polls show that Sunnis are increasingly turning against the insurgency, with many Sunni leaders acknowledging that the time has come to join the political process. This surely marks yet another setback for the insurgents, whose only program appears to be wanton murder in order to grab headlines.
As the president recently suggested, the insurgents can kill innocents, but they cannot hope for victory. As Iraqi security forces stand up throughout the country, common Iraqis can see that their fathers, husbands, and sons are defending them in their own neighborhoods.
Kristol may think it is defeatist to show confidence in the growing capability of the Iraqi security forces, but the Iraqi people--according to most surveys--do not share that view.
Lawrence Di Rita
Ecco cosa ha combinato William Kristol col suo articolo di ferragosto nel quale metteva Rumsfeld contro Bush circa l'atteggiamento che gli Stati Uniti dovrebbero tenere nel prossimo futuro in Iraq (leggi ritiro graduale o meno delle truppe) e nella comunicazione in generale sulla guerra al terrorismo (leggi usare la parola lotta al posto di guerra).Si è capito dagli eventi prima e dalle press releases poi come sia mutata la linea del Pentagono da allora.
Infatti se scrivevo l'altro ieri del nuovo contingente di rinforzo in partenza per l'Iraq era proprio perchè era evidente come la linea del Presidente avesse prevalso su quella prudente e disfattista del Pentagono.
Ebbene se avevamo ancora qualche dubbio, ci viene chiarito subito dal Pentagono stesso con un secco comunicato stampa in risposta dello sferzante articolo di Kristol.
Si legge tra le righe come bruci la lavata di testa di Bush a Rumsfeld e alla leadership del Pentagono, soprattutto sul come sottolineano stizziti che non ha alcun senso parlare di un senso di debolezza e disfattismo al Pentagono, in risposta al pensiero di Kristol.
Ci ha proprio preso Kristol da come a Washington gli hanno risposto.
E' una risposta che ci spiega fin troppo chiaramente ,una volta per tutte, che chi conduce il gioco abita alla Casa Bianca e che per ora ha deciso di andare fino in fondo alla sfida che ha lanciato 4 anni fa.
Senza troppi fronzoli e carinerie linguistiche per far contenti gli snob europei. Nello studio ovale si vuol sentire a chiare lettere che c'è una guerra da vincere con dei nemici veri da combattere in Iraq oggi con tutti i mezzi e le truppe necessarie. Di rivali politici ce ne sono già d'avanzo per secoli a venire, di certo non ci serve un Pentagono contro.
Lo vogliamo al nostro fianco e con la nostra stessa risolutezza nel portare a termine gli impegni presi. E da oggi ci possiamo contare.