After watching Lt. Col. John Nagl's appearance on the Daily Show a couple of times I decided I'd buy his book. I haven't gotten very far into it, but I thought I would go ahead and share one of the statements that struck me. It comes in an introduction by Sarah Sewell.
Recall the earlier stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom when charges of Bush Administration incompetence grew out of complaints that we had nowhere near enough troops in Iraq to get the job done. Numbers bandied around were 400,000 or a half million. Donald Rumsfeld was pilloried on a regular basis, mostly for being arrogant, but he was also accused of ignoring his generals. Bush and Rumsfeld both maintained that the general's got the troops they asked for, but critics were never convinced. The demand was for more troops, more power.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Not enough troops, that's the bottom line of the thin green line, part of a study ordered by the Pentagon which finds that the U.S. Army is stretched too thin by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, disputes the results, but Democrats have come out with similar findings.
Let's get some more. For that, we'll turn to our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, those two reports sound a similar alarm that the constant rotation of battle- weary troops into war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan is a prescription for a broken Army.
But consider this from the introduction by Sarah Sewell to the Counterinsurgency Field Manual.
Offensive operations are no longer sufficient. Defence -- the restoration of public security -- becomes a key to insulating civilians from insurgents and restoring trust in local authorities. And this is an asymmetric challenge because it is far harder for the counterinsurgent to protect civilians everywhere than for the insurgent to kill them at times and places of his choosing. While the precise mix of offense, defense, and stability operations in COIN will change over time and by sector, the doctrine's overall message of downplaying offensve operations is clear.
It is a stark departure from the Weinberger-Powell doctrine of overwhelming and decisive offensive force.
Ms. Sewell was was deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1996, and is currently director of the National Security and Human Rights Program at Harvard University's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.
Admittedly the troop level argument has always been, shall we say, nuanced? At one time the argument was that there were nowhere near enough troops, but then sending more troops to Baghdad was not a good idea. At that time the war was considered lost, and that was reason to withdraw. Lately critics concede that the troop surge is having a positive effect. And so, with the war no longer lost, now is a good time to withdraw.
The only constant through all of this is the persistent pressure to surrender. Reasons come and reasons go but the Democratic objective remains the same. Surrender. For the Democrats, the stunning setback that is now being handed to al Qaeda in Iraq is disastrous. And should it come about, the emergence of a peaceful, stable, democratic Iraq will be worse.
So far the Counterinsurgency Field Manual is a fascinating read.