Thursday, December 08, 2005

Maybe RMA won't guarantee us victory this time

President Bush spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday regarding the administration’s National Strategy for Victory in Iraq. During his speech his discussed several examples of successful use of our military forces in establishing stability in Iraq with the assistance of Iraqi forces. Much of what he discusses are basic approaches by utilizing manpower and boots on the ground, not technology and precision weapons. President Bush’s description of successful initiatives in Iraq support what Dr. Kier argued in her paper that RMA is not providing any support to the stability or counter-insurgency operations in Iraq. While important in war, they have been relatively ineffective in establishing peace. Bush likewise discusses the success of embedding US military personnel with Iraqis to ensure that they can effectively maintain areas that have been secured. He has again support Dr. Kier’s point that working personal interaction with the Iraqis, as practiced by the British, is most effective in maintaining security, stability, and cooperation. Bush’s speech seems to indicate a change from the rather Rumsfeldian notion that our military superiority and advanced technology, much of which is provided through RMA, are enough to win the conflict in Iraq. Perhaps this acknowledgement of past mistakes, which the Bush administration has been more willing to make of late, will likewise provide for a slight change in RMA or at least the faith put in its ability to guarantee absolute victory. RMA or not there was never any doubt we could defeat the Iraqi army, but clearly RMA is no longer playing a role in whether we can help the Iraqis bring stability to their war torn country. RMA is important and should continue to be pursued, but we cannot allow belief in a RMA-guaranteed victory to blind us to the fact that some operations, such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq, will still need extremely large troop deployments to guarantee success no matter how many cool new toys we get.

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