The View From Leavenworth

Speaking of figuring out who to blame, Elizabeth Bumiller has an interesting piece in the Times where she went to Fort Leavenworth, where the Army does its thinking, and spoke to some mid-career officers:

Discussions between a New York Times reporter and dozens of young majors in five Leavenworth classrooms over two days — all unusual for their frankness in an Army that has traditionally presented a facade of solidarity to the outside world — showed a divide in opinion. Officers were split over whether Mr. Rumsfeld, the military leaders or both deserved blame for what they said were the major errors in the war: sending in a small invasion force and failing to plan properly for the occupation.

It seems to me that the idea that the military's senior leadership didn't do enough to warn against this looming fiasco is mistaken. The top brass' opposition to Bush's war plans was, after all, sufficiently well-known to prompt this scathing editorial from the liberal New Republic magazine slamming Bush for leading the country headlong into a disaster that would kill hundreds of thousands of people undue hesitancy to fire dissenting officers.

If TNR what was happening, then so did Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. But this debate capped off an era in which it was widely believed by a bipartisan set of powers-that-be that America's professional military officers were unduly hesitant to commit troops to battle. With the hindsight of years, of course, we can see that they hesitate precisely because they're the ones -- not magazine writers -- who wind up bearing the costs when things go south.

Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Playing An Actual Keyboard Cat

A music video transforms food, pets, and objects into extraordinary instruments.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

Video

The Man Who Built a Forest Larger Than Central Park

Since 1979, he has planted more than 1,300 acres of trees.

More in Politics

Just In