A missing piece

A good speech by Bush tonight.  We all hope this will work.  There are a lot of things going right in Iraq, including some economic progress, and including forcing the Islamic radicals to throw their forces into the Iraq battle rather than attacking us here at home.  These are wins.  But we also need to suppress the violence in Baghdad. 

General Petraeus is a great hope in this new strategy.  But there is a missing piece,and that was never clearer than tonight on the Fox News show Hannity and Colmes, which led off with Rudy Giuliani.  Because of a peculiarity in the institutions of our government, we have no department that is in charge of offensive civilian strategy - no civilian counterpart to the Pentagon. 

In World War II, our objective was "unconditional surrender."  The implication of that for the Iraq War is that if our objective is unconditional surrender, then the war is a military problem.  Yes, some sensitivity to cultural problems is always useful, but it is not really important if we are going to deliver sufficient military violence to force unconditional surrender.

But in a limited war, we are not going to deliver that level of violence - if this were World War II, we would have bombed al-Anbar flat, for instance.  Since that is the case, then there is a need for a civillan component to our strategy.  We, in effect, need a "civilian general" in addition to our military commander.

Who might that be?  Only one answer.  Rudy.  Far and away our most prominent civilian leader and administrator.  And someone who has "pacified" a major city - New York.  Yes, an active insurgency is a different problem from that of chronic crime, but there are similarities as well.  Tonight on Hannity and Colmes, Giulani himself referred to his policing strategy and the data collection strategy that was critical to the remarkable, even historic, success that he achieved in governing New York.

We need that experience, that sensibility, that toughness, that knowledge as a complement to what we are doing in Iraq.  This is a need for a new institutional position - a civilian "commander" as a complement to the military commander.  And that commander should be Rudy.
A good speech by Bush tonight.  We all hope this will work.  There are a lot of things going right in Iraq, including some economic progress, and including forcing the Islamic radicals to throw their forces into the Iraq battle rather than attacking us here at home.  These are wins.  But we also need to suppress the violence in Baghdad. 

General Petraeus is a great hope in this new strategy.  But there is a missing piece,and that was never clearer than tonight on the Fox News show Hannity and Colmes, which led off with Rudy Giuliani.  Because of a peculiarity in the institutions of our government, we have no department that is in charge of offensive civilian strategy - no civilian counterpart to the Pentagon. 

In World War II, our objective was "unconditional surrender."  The implication of that for the Iraq War is that if our objective is unconditional surrender, then the war is a military problem.  Yes, some sensitivity to cultural problems is always useful, but it is not really important if we are going to deliver sufficient military violence to force unconditional surrender.

But in a limited war, we are not going to deliver that level of violence - if this were World War II, we would have bombed al-Anbar flat, for instance.  Since that is the case, then there is a need for a civillan component to our strategy.  We, in effect, need a "civilian general" in addition to our military commander.

Who might that be?  Only one answer.  Rudy.  Far and away our most prominent civilian leader and administrator.  And someone who has "pacified" a major city - New York.  Yes, an active insurgency is a different problem from that of chronic crime, but there are similarities as well.  Tonight on Hannity and Colmes, Giulani himself referred to his policing strategy and the data collection strategy that was critical to the remarkable, even historic, success that he achieved in governing New York.

We need that experience, that sensibility, that toughness, that knowledge as a complement to what we are doing in Iraq.  This is a need for a new institutional position - a civilian "commander" as a complement to the military commander.  And that commander should be Rudy.