Carol Platt Liebau: Stop the Second-Guessing

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stop the Second-Guessing

That's the message in this piece from the always-excellent Victor Davis Hanson.

What we need, then, are not more self-appointed ethicists, but far more humility and recognition that in this war nothing is easy. Choices have been made, and remain to be made, between the not very good and the very, very bad. Most importantly, so far, none of our mistakes has been unprecedented, fatal to our cause, or impossible to correct.

So let us have far less self-serving second-guessing, and far more national confidence that we are winning — and that radical Islamists and their fascist supporters in the Middle East are soon going to lament the day that they ever began this war.


It's particularly disheartening to read about generals and the like who seem ready with the criticism of what has been done, but seem to offer little in the way of guidance about what should be done -- people like Anthony Zinni, former head of US Central Command. Interestingly, yesterday in an interview (transcript at Radioblogger), Hugh Hewitt interviewed General Thomas McInerney, the retired assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force, formerly director of the Defense Performance Review, and the founder of Government Reform Through Technology, GRTT. General McInerney had this to say:

HH: General, what do you make of the fact that in recent days, Major General John Batiste, and retired Marine Corps General Greg Newbold, Army Major General Paul Eaton, Marine Corps General Zinni have all spoken out against the Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and portions of the war. Are you surprised by this?

TM: Well, I don't know. I haven't heard Batiste. I've heard Zinni's comments, or read Zinni's comments. I've read Greg Newbold. I'm on a board with Greg. I'm somewhat surprised, but when I read their comments, I'm embarrassed for them. For instance, Zinni wants stability in the region. He says it's not an ideology we're fighting. Hugh, we are fighting an ideology as bad as Communism, Nazism and Facism. It's Islamic extremism. That is our problem there. If General Tony Zinni doesn't understand that, who I used to have great respect for, and he was the commander of Central Command, I think we're in deep trouble.


One more point: There's been a lot of criticism of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. Maybe some of it is justified; a lot of it isn't. One thing to keep in mind, however -- and which the MSM rarely mentions -- is the fact that anyone who (like Secretary Rumsfeld) comes in and tries to reform a bureaucracy (and yes, the Pentagon is a bureaucracy) is going to make enemies within that bureaucracy. The trick is separating justified criticism from score-settling.

2 Comments:

Blogger Sven said...

"Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy."
- George Walker Bush

Do not lament, fair sister. Yes, it may appear most iniquitous that, like Prometheus, the president is doomed to have his liver ripped from his flesh by an archfiend press in exchange for his foresight and his gift of freedom to mankind.

If that were not insufferable enough, we must endure the Epimethean ravings of the demoniacal Democrats, the gods of afterthought, and their succubus bride, Hillary "Pandora" Clinton.

But it is not the place of mere mortals - or even a Titan like Victor Davis Hanson - to beseech the Moirae to change the distaff and spindle of life.

Do not be always wanting everything to turn out as you think it should, but rather as God pleases, then you will be undisturbed and thankful in your prayer.
- Abba Nilus, in "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers"

10:43 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

Sven, I have no idea what you said, but I like the way you string words, and the words you string. Moirae? Just kidding. Especially like the "gods of sfterthought." Nothing worse than a second guesser, I agree. What's the phrase, never second guess a second guesser? Ten years from now no one will even remember what any of our comments were. Ten minutes? But even those who only catch snippets and bits eventually have to make some attempt to fit them together, to think, if for no other reason than to have undisturbed sleep. What I find disturbing is, for example, on C-span Rove gave a speech in Houston where he described some of the horrors of Saddam, the unimaginable torture of women, children, and men. Callers were asked to comment by Brian Lamb. They must have been coached by John Kerry because not one of them commented on what Rove had said. I thought to myself, how could you have heard what Rove said and not visualized the horror that we rid the world of, attempted to rid. How could you have heard and not attempted to send the message that such inhumanity must be addressed by those who have the means and the will? And then I thought, well, John Kerry would never give it a thought. He has never given any thought to what cut and run meant to those left behind in South Vietnam, why would he care what he might leave behind in Iraq, what Iran might have in mind for the world, let alone the people of that country. If I were living in Iran I would be wondering, is this lunatic going to get us all nuked? Either that or, are we going to nuke someone? Ah yes, I can hear twister getting all knotted up now, "well, what do you think we are doing in Bush's war?" I'll beat him to the punch. It is not Bush's war, it is our war. We are all soldiers in this war, all of us. And should conduct ourselves as such. Gripe if you must but down't fuel the fumes of sedition.

8:11 AM  

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