War Based On Flawed Logic
Says US Military Scholar

From RJ
WASHINGTON (AFP) -The US military strategy in Iraq is based on a "flawed" logic because it is pursuing the mutually exclusive goals of changing the country's regime and doing it "quickly and on the cheap," an American military scholar has concluded.
Army Lieutenant Colonel Antulio Echevarria presented his findings in a report published last month by the US Army War College, which made a point of saying the study presented only the views of its author.
Echevarria said military operations designed to bring about regime change usually require a labor- and time-intensive effort.
But the administration of President George W. Bush, he argued, was driven by "the desire to win the war quickly and on the cheap."
It downplayed the possibility that the overall financial cost of the conflict would be high and even dismissed chief White House Economic Adviser Lawrence Lindsay, who had projected the conflict could cost between 100 billion and 200 billion dollars, according to the report.
"It lowballed the number of US troops and other personnel that might have to be put in harm's way to get the job done, and how long they might have to remain deployed," the scholar wrote.
The analysis echoes warnings issued early last year by then Army chief of staff General Eric Shinseki, who told Congress several hundred thousand troops would be needed in post-war Iraq.
In a rebuke, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the projection was "wildly off the mark," and Shinseki was sent into retirement soon thereafter.
Congressional critics have repeatedly stated since then that the Shinseki analysis was correct and accused the administration of feeding the public unrealistic rosy forecasts.
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld admitted Thursday he could not have predicted the level of losses suffered by US troops in Iraq in recent weeks.
"I certainly would not have estimated that we would have had the number of individuals lost in -- that we have had lost in the last week," he told reporters.
More than 80 US troops have been killed in Iraq since the start of April, making it the deadliest month for the United States since the US-led invasion one year ago.
In his report, Echevarria wrote that senior military officials had failed to realize that while a high-tech shock-and-awe campaign may have been enough to break the back of the Iraqi military, a larger force would still be necessary for the ensuing stability operations.
He said Rumsfeld's office had dismissed all arguments in favor of a larger contingent as "old-think" or "perceived them as foot-dragging by a military perhaps grown too accustomed to resisting civilian authority."
Since sufficient support from the United Nations and NATO failed to materialize, Echevarria pointed out that the goal of building a democratic Iraq "is, thus, still in question, with religious extremists, terrorists, criminals, Saddam loyalists and other anti-US factions contributing to an apparently growing insurgency."
Rumsfeld announced Thursday that about 20,000 US troops who had been due to return home will stay longer in Iraq because of continuing violence.
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