Mark Steyn describes an incident that confirms my impression that the politicians are botching up Iraq.
During the Falklands War, a bayonet charge on enemy positions would have been publicly applauded by the Prime Minister, honours and medals would have been discussed and the British public would have been in doubt that the government and the military knew exactly what they were doing. We could agree or disagree with the objective or the means, but not the operational competence or the political will.
Where Iraq is going wrong is not that the military are incapable (unless they run out of ammunition, boots, flak-jackets etc). It is that military action will be undermined by political ‘arse-covering’. The resolution shown by troops is frittered away by Colin Powell and his cronies in the US, and by the Labour government in the UK. Powell looks more and more like his caricature in the Tim Burton movie Mars Attacks! played by Paul Winfield.
My view on Vietnam is that it would have been better if the US had not got involved after the French pull-out, given that they were going to do so eventually anyway, or that the US should have fought to win. I take a Barry Goldwater position rather than a Eugene McCarthy one.
It used to be Colin Powell’s position too.