I was surfing around and came across this opinion column written by Ralph Peters.
Posted in the New York Post.
May 11, 2007 -- IN his remarks at the Pentagon yesterday, President Bush stressed two things: The troop surge - which still isn't complete - must be given a chance, and the Democrats need to knock off the shenanigans and vote our troops the funding they need to fight.
On the second count, Congress is behaving disgracefully. Guess I'm a slow learner, but it took me until now to realize that when Pelosi, Reid & Co. chant "Support Our Troops!" they're talking about the enemy.
As for the president's first point, he's entirely right. With a fourth combat brigade just arriving and a fifth still on the way, Gen. David Petraeus doesn't yet have all the resources he's been promised. He's only got three wheels on the car and the critics are howling for him to hit the gas.
Frankly, this surge is a desperate measure after four years of blunders and dithering. It may prove too small and too late. But the stakes are so high that, despite the inevitable cost in American blood, this last gambit is worth the effort.
And it is the last gambit. If the troop surge fails, we'll start striking the tents.
Gen. Petraeus is well aware of all this. (I can't help feeling he winced when the president referred to this made-in-Washington strategy as "Gen. Petraeus' plan.") If any four-star general on active duty can make it work, it's him.
Unfortunately, that's faint praise. The Army hasn't fielded a four-star with the breadth of vision to wage war at the strategic level and the killer instinct to win on the battlefield since Gen. Barry McCaffrey retired a dozen years ago.
As the generals who led infantry platoons and companies in Vietnam fade from the ranks, we face an incongruous situation in which our lieutenants, captains and majors are combat veterans, while the generals above them never fought in a direct-fire engagement or led daily patrols through Indian country.
Junior officers now have a better grasp of what war means than Army generals do. Platoon leaders want to win. The generals want to make people happy.
For two generations, we've trained military leaders to be statesmen in uniform, downplaying pugnacity and guts. We sent promising officers for Ivy League doctorates (thereby cutting off at least one of their . . . um . . . eggs), stressed political assignments, and inducted them into the Washington-insider cult of Salvation Through Negotiations.
Now we have bobble-head generals who nod along with the diplomats who want to hold their Versailles Conference before winning the war.
It's past time for our senior leaders to jettison the political correctness and fight to win. But they honestly don't know how anymore. They've been so thoroughly drugged with failed academic theories about counterinsurgency-with-lollipops that they're more concerned with avoiding embarrassments than with killing the enemy.
The bitter truth is that, in the type of conflicts we now face, we must be willing to fight as ruthlessly and savagely as our opponents. We have to play by their moral rules. Stay-at-homes who never served will howl in indignation, but the alternative is defeat.
And is it ever more virtuous to lose to fanatics with apocalyptic visions than to win?
The standard response from the campus commandos is that, if we descend to the level of our enemy's behavior, we'll become as bad as them. That's crap. In World War II, we didn't exactly coddle the residents of Hamburg and Dresden, Tokyo and Hiroshima.
American soldiers can do what must be done without losing their virtues as citizens (most critics don't even know any soldiers personally).
The greater dangers may be that we've already sacrificed what hope there was for Iraq by waging war to please CNN and the pundits, and that we just don't have the numbers to make the surge work now.
We should all pray that this last-ditch effort succeeds. But we're paying for a decade-and-a-half of gutting our armed forces and sacrificing troop strength to pour money into the pockets of unscrupulous - and well-connected - defense contractors. Now soldiers die in sewage-flooded alleys while the billion-dollar bombers sit and rot.
And we're paying for ending the draft - not because the military wants it (it doesn't), but because we now have two generations of political leaders who don't have a clue what it takes to win a war. Not only haven't they served in uniform, they disdain those who enlist. (Think many soldiers get $400 haircuts like John Edwards?)
If anything, military service disqualifies you from having a voice on wartime strategy in Washington.
In a closed-door session with one of our last great legislators and a fellow military analyst, I was asked if I thought the "oil stain" strategy - the concept behind the current surge - could save Iraq. My answer was, "Yes, if you can put a half-million troops on the ground."
That was almost two years ago, before the situation had deteriorated so badly.
Gen. Petraeus may pull this off - if the let's-take-a-long-vacation Iraqis can get their act together. Should he do so, he'll deserve a place in the history books as one of the all-time greatest military turn-around artists: By historical standards, he'll have less than a third of the troops he needs, even after the surge is complete.
Whatever happens in Iraq, the core lesson isn't that such conflicts can't be won - that's nonsense - but that you can't win if you're more concerned about placating your critics than about defeating the enemy.
Our troops know how to fight. Their leaders don't.
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer.
If I had pursued my military career to retirement, I would have been eligible to retire in 1998
but I like to think that I would still be active in the fight. Possibly as a Warrant Officer in the maintenance or electronics field.