Blogs > Cliopatria > Is Frederick Kagan Asleep?

Dec 25, 2004 2:56 pm

Is Frederick Kagan Asleep?

In this week's Weekly Standard historian Frederick Kagan upbraids Donald Rumsfeld for taking too small an army to war in Iraq.

Frederick Kagan, voice of reason, right?

But 4 paragraphs in he makes this statement, which suggests otherwise:

In the past several weeks, the Bush administration has taken two steps it should have taken six months ago: It destroyed insurgent safe havens in Falluja and elsewhere, and it announced an increase in troop strength to prepare for Iraqi elections in January. U.S. policy will pay a price for the tardiness of these actions. Fallujans will go to the polls, if they feel safe enough, with the vision of American attacks and rebel resistance green in their memories. There may not be time for things to settle down in that war-torn city, a major center of Iraqi Sunnis, prior to the elections.

What?"There may not be time"?

If Kagan opened the newspaper he would discover that as of this moment the fighting in Falluja goes on. Three U.S. soldiers died the other day there. And to date something like a dozen or so Fallujans have been allowed back in to their city.

I am afraid that Kagan is guilty of the same sin he attributes to Donald Rumsfeld: Ignoring unpleasant facts.

I stand with George Washington. Facts are important. Forget the dreamy romantic illusions of Jefferson. Give me a soldier who knows facts.

As Joseph Ellis notes in his magisterial biography of GW, Washington held romantics in scorn. Romantics believed in the"virtuous Patriot." Washington, having seen the Patriot up close and personal, was under no illusions. The Patriot could be selfish, war-profiteering, and provincial. Better, instead, to look with cold eyes on the world and deal with it as it is.

An election in Falluja? At present no one's living in Falluja. An election there in a month is a joke.

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Brian Page - 1/31/2005

You wrote that Fred Kagan must have been jocular to suggest
"An election in Falluja?", and commented that "At present no one's living in Falluja. An election there in a month is a joke."

I imagine that now, after the first sucessful election in Iraq in a little over a half century, and at the begining of the process leading to humane government there, Dr. Kagan must be laughing.