Strategy: Win in Iraq with Lightweight Forces

"The Garbo Doctrine" (Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian, 3/26/03):

In the months before war a debate raged in the Pentagon between, crudely put, the uniforms and the suits. The soldiers wanted more time, so they could build up to the 250,000 troops that would constitute the "overwhelming force" believed since the first Gulf war to be the best way to deploy US power. They wanted another month. But the Pentagon civilians, led by Defence Secretary Rumsfeld, insisted on going earlier, with many fewer men.

Why would a hawk like Rumsfeld prefer less to more? My Washington source offers an astonishing explanation: "So they can do it again." The logic is simple. Rumsfeld and co know that amassing an army of quarter of a million is a once-a-decade affair: 1991 and 2003. But if they can prove that victory is possible with a lighter, more nimble force, assembled rapidly - then why not repeat the trick? "This is just the beginning," an administration official told the New York Times this week. "I would not rule out the same sequence of events for Iran and North Korea as for Iraq."

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