Three years too late - but exquisitely timed to avoid any offense to the GOP - Glenn Reynolds finally backs more troops for Iraq. He was scorning those of us who were saying it two years ago. I have to say I'm more open to persuasion on this than I once was - because the situation has changed so dramatically. We had a window of opportunity to secure order before constructing a new polity. That was the chance to send in more troops. Instead, we allowed violence to determine the new order, and those who wielded that violence most effectively now call the shots in Baghdad and elsewhere. The danger of adding new troops now is that they might end up enforcing the policies of one sectarian militia versus another, i.e. getting entangled in an already well-advanced civil war in defense of one side. That we don't want to do.
I fear we have lost that window for the indefinite future. It may indeed, in retrospect, have disappeared by the spring of 2004. I don't favor a pull-out; but I am much less sure that more U.S. troops will help any more. I fear Rumsfeld's legacy is to prove his own argument about a super-lite military - or, rather, never let it be tested. He really did prefer to lose a war than concede a point. Whether that was a conscious decision or just hubris or derangement is a matter for history to judge.