This report from LTC G, currently serving his third tour in Iraq, came by way of a mutual acquaintance. It's actually his Update number 13, and I will post the previous Updates very soon.
How sad that General Petreus couldn’t pull this speech in it’s entirety off the shelf. Unfortunately the third paragraph needs some serious work….but this is 2007, much has happened since Al Queda’s triumph of 9/11. We have inflicted serious defeats on the enemies’ capabilities. Our home front…well, ok we don’t have a funding bill…..and the freedom loving nations of the world…well, ok they have lost their stomach…and victory would be cool and all…But you troops, you guys rock! We love you. Go knock yourselves out…you have about three months to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Don’t screw it up.
The note that Eisenhower didn’t publish, the one he kept in his pocket, written before the operation in case of failure, read:
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.What an incredibly amazing document. The fact that the commander, on the ground, in charge of the free worlds human and industrial treasure, took personal responsibility for the success or failure, knowing he had the backing of his government and its people. Great big brass balls!
Can you imagine if we had put the D-day invasion up to a congressional vote? How about the A-Bomb? How much harder would D-Day have been if every aspect of the strategy had been second guessed in every nightly talk show and editorial for months on end. Rommel would have giggled like a school girl.
While I would never advocate a restriction on a vigorous public debate, the simple reality is that there is a time and place for the doors of Congress to be shut. The hard decisions to commit or withdrawal should be done in secrecy. And in a way that keeps the troops certain that the sand on the beach is worth wading up onto, keeps the enemy uncertain of how high the climb is, and keeps hope alive in the millions tyrannies’ victims who have a vested interest in which way the tide will turn.
Our job gets harder every day, but is no less rewarding. This morning we drove past construction crews already rebuilding last weeks collapsed traffic circle. The crazy lady has been forced to pick a new corner to sit on, but she is alive. And I am left to wonder whose world is crazier, hers or mine."