On Iraq There’s Good News and Bad News (Updated)

If you haven’t already caught it, I want to commend to your attention the After Action Report by Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret.) currently available at Michael Yon’s website. There’s enough bad news in Gen. McCaffrey’s report to discourage all but the most stalwart, ranging from the high casualty rate among the Iraqi people to their despair to the lack of U. S. domestic political support for further action in Iraq, a condition which Gen. McCaffrey considers permanent:

US domestic support for the war in Iraq has evaporated and will not return.

But there’s a little heartening good news, too. In the light of James’s recent post I think that this observation from Gen. McCaffrey deserves due consideration:

The US Tier One special operations capability is simply magic. They are deadly in getting their target—with normally zero collateral damage—and with minimal friendly losses or injuries. Some of these assault elements have done 200-300 takedown operations at platoon level. The comprehensive intelligence system is phenomenal. We need to re-think how we view these forces. They are a national strategic system akin to a B1 bomber.

So, considering the future challenges that we’re likely to face for the foreseeable future, should we have more B1 bombers or more Tier 1 special operations forces?

It’s been said far too often but, in this case, it really deserves it: read the whole thing.


Gen. McCaffrey has a short, succinct version of his report as an op-ed in the LA Times.

Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


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  2. bob in fl says:

    It is amazing how just 5 months without Rumsfeld & a Democratic Congress at the helm has gained Maliki’s attention. Even he is aware that he has little time to get his act (and his forces) together. The Sunni rebellion against al Qaida is also welcome news. Just the threat of withdrawal seems to be working.

    The Dems have to get off the pot if they want to have their support of the troops taken seriously. Pass the damn supplemental military budget. It is good for only a year. (Anybody notice that their timetables would get our troops out no earlier than a year anyway?) If nothing is working at that point, then play hardball & bring the troops home within 6 months. They still have 8 months to spin the situation in their favor as the more moderate Party. Now is not the time to play politics.

  3. Anderson says:

    So, considering the future challenges that we’re likely to face for the foreseeable future, should we have more B1 bombers or more Tier 1 special operations forces?

    Excellent point. The challenge: How can we make a congressman proud to have a Tier 1 force recruited/stationed in his district?

    As for McCaffrey, his cheerleading has been so wrong so often, I hesitate to credit even his glimmers of good hope.