The Post tomorrow has a good article about a bad situation in Iraq.
Specifically, it’s about Fallujah and poorly-thought-out civilian intervention in the course of battle in that restive city.
According to the article, the White House first ordered the assault on the city (in response to the killing and mutilation of four US military contractors) over the advice of the commanders on the ground. Then, again over the advice of those same commanders, they ordered the end of the assault before the mission had been accomplished.
That rapid turnabout managed to achieve most of the ill effects of an iron fist policy (lots of deaths, radicalization of civilians and terrible effects on world opinion) while preventing any of the possible positive ones from being realized.
There is a lively literature about the often fruitful tension between military commanders and their civilian superiors. But this is text book case of the bad effects that can stem from injecting narrowly political considerations into war-fighting, especially when they take little account of facts on the ground.
In any case, read the article. It’s an important one.
More tomorrow about how Iraq — i.e., the actual Iraq as opposed to the rhetorical ‘Iraq’ — has disappeared from the 2004 presidential campaign.