America

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Meet the Press- Rummy good, Kennedy bad

Today's Meet the Press had an adult, Don Rumsfeld, and a non-adult, Senator Kennedy, interviewed by Tim Russert - transcript here.

Mr. Rumsfeld took responsbility and explained his offer to resign ( after Abu Ghraib) as part of that acceptance. He also took Russert to task for misquoting the "up armor" controversy.

Mr. Kennedy, not known for accepting responsibilty for anything in his life, went on the attack on the basis of his misguided insistence on a "withdrawal" schedule and a complete misunderstanding of what it takes to train a modern fighting force, which seems to be based on the training one of his nephews
When we send over Americans that have had 12 weeks of training, like the nephew of my wife, and is a tail gunner on a Striker--12 weeks--and we have the best-trained American servicemen and the best soldiers in the world, there's no reason in the world that we can't expect Iraqis to be trained with four months, eight months, 12 months so that they are going to fight for their country and they're going to be willing to die for it.  And I think that is what is missing when we hear these numbers batted around like we did today.

Well, that's great if we're training a army of Stryker tail gunners, but we have all those other details to attend to like NCOs, officers, a functioning chain of command, etc. etc. Kennedy's understanding of military training is somewhat limited, to say the least.

In fact, it may be time to announce the limits of the Powell doctrine (The Powell Doctrine held that military force should only be used if there was a clear risk to national security; that the force used should be overwhelming; and that the operation must have strong public support and a clear exit strategy. Cato Institute) which has become an albatross around the neck of the military and an apparent "mantra" for our generally militarily illiterate legislators. (The huge reliance on the reserves and guard, now so decried by the MSM, was in fact, in part a way to make sure we don't go to war lightly- either literally or figuratively). As was said early in the GWOT, this is a different kind of war. If the Powell Doctrine had been applied to WWII, I wonder what "exit strategy" General Marshall would have announced?

Rumsfeld gets it, but Kennedy and his cohorts are apparently simply too tied to Vietnam to see the vast differences between now and then. Mr. Kennedy, as predicted in other places, even used the pre-announced post election reduction in troop strength to support his shortly before the election call for 12,000 troops to be brought home. The man simply has no shame.

Of more interest is why he still commands any national attention. He represents a very small state (Massachusetts has a population of 6.5 million - North Carolina has 8.5 million) that has voted consistently Democrat since, roughly, forever. Why isn't Senator Dole, for example, given such attention? Because Mr. Kennedy can be counted on to say reliably anti-Bush administration things and he can say such things because he has the safest seat in the Senate? Or because he reflects the MSM view?

Update: What it takes to build an army.

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