A case in point is this recent Wall Street Journal column, written by conservative author John Keegan. His column begins as follows:
The mystery of the Iraq War is to explain how a brilliantly executed invasion turned into a messy counterinsurgency struggle.But is this really such a mystery?
Even Keegan doesn't seem to think so. He offers several reasons for why the Iraq war "turned into a messy counterinsurgency struggle." They range from the early isolation of Sunnis in Iraq to the predictable reason that is often heard from conservatives -- "a lack of troops, a fault for which the Defense Department has been responsible." Keegan slams Rumsfeld, but not Bush, for this presumed troop shortage.
Given that: a) the president is the commander-in-chief, and b) Bush has had ample opportunities to dismiss Rummy if he felt he was receiving poor counsel on the war, is there any point at which hawks like Keegan will assign any blame to Bush himself?
And is it really a "mystery" why "attempts to create a [democratic] regime" in a country with no democratic traditions "failed to take root"?
Keegan notes, "Disbanding the army released tens of thousands of trained fighters into unemployment ..." Is there any doubt that many of these trained fighters (particularly Sunnis) joined the insurgency? Again, no mystery.
Finally, Keegan demonstrates how little he comprehends about the situation in Iraq by concluding his column thusly:
... American soldiers know combat secrets that their enemies do not and cannot match. Whether pure military skills will win the war, however, cannot be predicted.But our "combat secrets" don't really matter when the enemy rarely reveals itself and almost never in large numbers.
The military skills of U.S. troops are of little significance when Sunni insurgents kidnap Shiites or detonate a bomb in a Shiite neighborhood. Much of the violence is occurring around our troops, rather than to our troops.
Is Keegan watching the same war we are?