NAVIGATING THE FOG OF WAR

Stuart Taylor has a critical but thoughtful examination of the Bush-Rumsfeld strategy to date plus some suggestions for the future. He’s not a fan of Bush, but concedes

But like the hedgehog, Bush understands one big thing: In this terrifying new world — where rogue nations are bent on developing nuclear weapons and motivated to slip them covertly to Islamist terrorists devoted to mass-murdering Americans — our best chance of avoiding catastrophe is to stop Iraq, Iran, Libya, and others from going nuclear by any means necessary, including military attack. If the threat to attack is sufficiently credible, we may not need to do it again. And it will be credible only if we make an example of Saddam Hussein that shows other rogue regimes that if they seek nuclear weapons, they will meet the same fate. (This may not be feasible in the case of North Korea because it effectively holds hostage the millions of South Koreans within range of 11,000 of its artillery pieces and because it probably already has nuclear weapons.)

The cautious, reactive approach to incipient threats practiced by Bill Clinton, Bush’s father, and most of their predecessors might prove to be slow-motion suicide in today’s world, with the odds of unimaginable carnage in America rising exponentially as more and more rogue regimes go nuclear. And a preventive-war policy that would have seemed recklessly aggressive a decade ago may now be our only hope.

There’s a lot in here that I disagree with, especially his Powell-esque prescription for the future, but a sober view of the situation nonetheless.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.