Sunday, March 12, 2006

Yet Another Must-Read Book
On Bush Gang's Incompetence

The authors of a new book on the American invasion and occupation of Iraq were just interviewed by Tim Russert this morning on NBC's Meet the Press. Judging by their credentials and by the interview, this would appear to be yet one more important book to add to the growing bookcase of inside acounts about the White House gang that can't seem to do anything right.

Michael Gordon is the chief military correspondent for the New York Times, and his co-author Bernard Trainor is a retired U.S. Army general and an analyst for NBC News. They write about the five "grievious errors" made by the American military since the war began, nearly three years ago (though on the interview, they name only one--underestimating the opponent and failing to understand all the country's ethnic groups).

Gordon was especially succinct. "In my view, the American security establishment basically fought the last war," he told Russert. Gen. Trainor laid much of the blame on Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld. This all comes down to his philosophy as a businessman to do things in the most efficient manner possibly, meaning in this context with the fewest number of troops. "The military, of course, is conservative--if one is good, three is better," he noted. But should the military have pushed back harder against Rumsfeld and insisted on higher troop levels? he was asked. His answer: "Rumsfeld is a tough hombre, and he wears you down" with his style of constant questioning. Still, he ultimately conceded, the military should have fought harder to get enough soldiers to stabilize the country.

The interview (and one would presume the book itself, whose official release date is this Tuesday) was brutal on the administration and all its cronies. But the segment did end on a possible note of optimism. General Trainor said that after the recent mosque bombing, Iraqis on both sides of the Sunni-Shia divide "saw a vision of the future," a vision of real civil war, which they didn't like. And so perhaps that worst-case scenario might still be averted.


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