While he rips into "mistakes made", he also sets the Democrank's Strawman Arguments aflame.
Throughout this postmodern war, the military has been on the horns of a dilemma: DonÂt shoot and you are indicted for being lax and allowing lawlessness to spread; shoot and you are gratuitously slandered as a sort of rogue LAPD in camouflage. We hear only of the deliberately inexact rubric "Iraqi civilian losses" -- without any explanation that almost all the Iraqi dead are either (1) victims of the terrorists, (2) Iraqi security forces trying to defend the innocent against the terrorists, or (3) the terrorists themselves.
Legitimate questions arise as to whether America' army is too small, or whether requisite political support for military operations is too predicated on the 24-hour news cycle. But all those are issues transcending the war in Iraq. In retrospect, up-armoring humvees would have been wise from the very outset -- so would having something remotely comparable to a Panzerfaust in 1943, more live than dud torpedoes in 1942, or deploying a jet at the beginning of the Korean War that could compete with a Russian Mig 15.
So again, the proper question is not whether there were tragic errors of judgment in Iraq -- but to what degree were they qualitatively different from past errors that are the stuff of war, to what degree were they addressed and corrected, and to what degree did their commission impair the final verdict of the mission?
Nothing in this war is much different from those of the past. We have fought suicide bombers in the Pacific. Intelligence failures doomed tens of thousands -- not 2,300 -- at the Bulge and Okinawa. We pacified the Philippines through counterinsurgency fighting. Failure to calibrate the extent of Al Zarqawi's insurrection pales before the Chinese crossing of the Yalu.
Syria is out of Lebanon -- but only as long as democracy is in Iraq. Libya and Pakistan have come clean about nuclear trafficking -- but only as long as the U.S. is serious about reform in the Middle East.
Read the whole thing, and continue to be amazed at the brilliance that is VDH.