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.