The New York Times
June 15, 2007
WHILE waiting to see if the Iraq surge strategy pays off, President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have shown Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the door and brought in Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute as the new White House “war czar.” Well, they can shift senior leadership all they want, but unless they give our troops patrolling the streets the tools they need, our leaders are going to see this strategy fizzle.
Part of the problem was that when the military surge was announced, it became commonplace for officials to assert that political compromise, not military force, would determine the outcome of the war. This vacuous idea would startle George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh, to mention only a few unlikely bedfellows who forged success during an insurgency.
Buying time with American lives is not a military mission. No platoon commander tells his soldiers to go out and tread water so the politicians can talk. The goal of American soldiers is to identify and kill or capture the Shiite death squads and Sunni insurgents.
What is keeping them from doing so? The war in Iraq would be over in a week if the insurgents wore uniforms. Instead, they hide in plain sight, and Iraqi and American soldiers have no means of checking the true identity and history of anyone they stop.