I respect General Clark, but his Washington Post article, “Before It’s Too Late in Iraq” does too good a job in the opening, when he establishes how we should have approached the post-invasion period, to support his arguments for what we should do now. The mixed tenses give the game away:
“…we need a strategy to create a stable, democratizing and peaceful state in Iraq…
From the outset of the U.S. post-invasion efforts, we needed a three-pronged strategy: diplomatic, political and military.”
He’s right about what we needed; he’s right when he describes the results of not developing and implementing the correct strategy; so I’m afraid he’s unconvincing when he attempts to show how to reassemble Humpty Dumpty. The strategy we should have had is not the strategy for getting us out of the mess we put ourselves in.It’s like a road trip, General. When you head west from Salt Lake and realize after several hours that this route won’t get you to Boise, you stop worrying about how to get to Boise from Salt Lake — time to figure out how to get to Boise from Reno. And as part of the reevaluation, ask yourself: Is Boise where I really want to go now?