The great Ralph Peters in today's New York Post, on "Why Iraq's So Hard,." or perhaps more accurately, why we've made it so hard.
He notes our consistent inconsistency:
Above all, we have to maintain a strength of will equal to that of our opponents. War demands consistency, and we're the most fickle great power in history. We must focus on defeating our enemies, brushing aside all other considerations.
At present, we let those other considerations rule our behavior: We overreact to media sensationalism (which our enemies exploit brilliantly); we torment ourselves over the least mistakes our troops make; we delude ourselves that mass murderers have rights; we take prisoners knowing they'll be freed to kill more Americans - and the politicians and Green Zone generals alike pretend that "it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."
That's the biggest lie ever told by a human being who wasn't a member of Congress.
And our inability to do what it takes to win:
Consider just one of the many issues about which we're insistently naive and hypocritical: torture.
Earlier this month, our Army released the results of an internally initiated survey of soldiers and Marines in Iraq. The results showed that almost half of our troops would condone torture in a specific instance if it saved their buddies' lives.
The media were, of course, appalled. I was shocked, too - surprised that so few of our troops would condone any action that kept their comrades alive.
Torturing prisoners should never be our policy, both because it's immoral and because it's usually ineffective. But it's madness to declare that there can never be exceptions.
We've had disagreements with Lt Col Peters from time to time, but there's no doubting the accuracy of his commentary. Peters is one of the most original thinkers the Army has produced in the past 30 years. No wonder he never made it to O-6, let alone flag rank.