Baghdad – The Metaphor

Last week, there was the briefest of news clips on television, showing Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb, of the British Army in Iraq:

This is how he described the effort to secure Baghdad, section by section:

DoD News Briefing with Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb from Iraq

It’s hard pounding.This is as complex as I’ve ever seen anything I’ve ever done.This is really difficult.This is three-dimensional chess in a dark room.

<>In the rest of his brief remarks, he expressed hope that it could be done. Is there a basis for hope? Two things are hopeful, perhaps, in a military sense: the accuracy of the metaphor, and the appropriateness of the goal, which is security rather than “victory.”

<><><>Politically, it is doubtful that there is the political will to back the President’s endorsement of what I think has been sold to him as a plan for “victory,” by military planners with consciences who want, somehow, to restore Baghdad.

I have more faith in military planners with consciences than I do with the policy wonks who seem to have gotten us into this mess. Whether the overall goal of this country is, or should be, to carry on with such a complex and difficult military plan, is a different question.

Is there a Marshall Plan for Iraq to be had?


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