March 29, 2003
White House Knew Fantastic "Edge" of American Military Was An Absurd Fiction Months Before Starting War

In Supplying the Enemy, the New York Times rails aginst the Russians for supplying is with night vision goggles, antitank missiles, and GPS jamming devices (which can essentially make "smart" weapons very dumb).

The amazing part of the editorial is this: "U.S. officials say they have been pressuring Russia for many months now to end sales of these types of equipment." They knew months in advance about this? In other words, for months before committing a too-small force to this war, White House officials had reason to suspect -- and had good reason to believe -- that had equipment which could neutralize the much-flaunted and repeatedly touted technological advantages which would supposedly enable our American forces to prevail in a fortnight, at most. (Oh, and about pressuring Russia, good job. Another diplomatic and foreign relations triumph.)

The article also notes that Rumsfeld is aware that Syria has been providing this equipment to the is for a certainty. We're back to the Reagan question here: when did he know this -- and if he didn't know it months before the war, why not?

First: it has recently been made clear that we started this war with too small a force, regardless of our "technological advantage."

Second: Oops. In street-to-street fighting in a moonlit night -- or in the desert, whatever -- the fantastic edge our guys had over the is has just disappeared. And the incredible "precision bombing" and other GPS guided weapons can now be misdirected -- to i civilians in Baghdad and, in a skirmish or major battle where our ground forces need air support, to our guys. There's enough "fratricide" and "friendly fire" wiping out our forces as it is -- without GPS jamming devices in the hands of the enemy.

Third: White House officials -- Bush, , Wolfowitz, Rumsfled -- knew or should have known that this war was going to much worse than they told the American people. And the worst part of it is, I beleive that this was sheer ineptitude on the part of the big deceision makers, who were so intent on fighting this war that they neglected to get accurate intelligence or see what the intel already showed: it was a bad choice to enter this war of choice.

And that's if you support the war. (Never mind the million other reasons not to fight it -- the world hates us -- destroying alliances that have taken 60 years to build -- screwing up the force of international law -- weakening the Geneva convention -- scads more -- but here's another one, now: destroying the deterrent effect of our threat to use military force, and diminishing the reputation of our fighting forces as an effective tool for peace and diplomacy.)

Am I saying that we're going to lose this war? No. I'm saying that it will be much longer and more drawn out than we had been led to believe or that the White House expected -- and a lot of people -- many of them our own 19 and 20 year olds -- will die needlessly as result of White House mistakes.

The Bush Administration: Inept at diplomacy. Inept at peace. Inept at war.

That's foreign relations and policy. Thank goodness they're so good at domestic stuff. (For anyone who wants to quote that last bit, you must include: "uttered with the utmost bitterness and sarcasm." Or, "And then Burka, slouching over the counter of a dark, depressing bar, downed six shots of whisky in quick succession.")

Posted by Tom Burka at 7:27 PM in Commentary