Sunday, April 03, 2005

A Global War on Terror "Field Trip"

It is Wednesday and Solomon2 is on a field trip to discover "U.S. Strategy in Iraq and the Global War on Terror". This "event" is not in a government office or even sponsored by the U.S. government.

Part I: Why the Trip?

It's old hat to us inside-the-Beltway folk, but maybe the rest of the world doesn't realize: what do America's politicians and political appointees do when their party is out of power in Washington, D.C.? The answer is, they don't give up easily. The apolitcal types get jobs at the professional associations. Both parties can retreat to law firms and Political Action Committees or "non-profit" lobbying groups. And because the Democrats have a lock on the universities, the Republicans created their own Institutes.

Of course, the Republicans are in power now, and some people have moved from their Institute into government. However, some people have fallen out of favor with their superiors, some want to drop out of the spotlight a bit, and others have discovered they actually prefer the Institute life.

But how much use are they? My destination is the American Enterprise Institute, which bills itself as "dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of freedom--limited government, private enterprise, vital cultural and political institutions, and a strong foreign policy and national defense--through scholarly research, open debate, and publications". We'll see. Some organizations, I've decided, stick to one school of thought and in sponsored debates only field "token" opponents or worse -- people so lightweight, inarticulate, or nutty as to discredit the other side as crazy or dim-witted, like the stars of th "Out of Left Field" column at WorldNetDaily.

It's been decades since I'd been to the downtown "K" street area, and I had forgotten that, despite L'Enfant's best efforts, the streets don't always flow in a logical fashion -- 17th Street and Connecticut Avenue switch places here. Blocky, height-limited office buildings have replaced many of the run-down or abandoned brick buildings in the neighborhood. Looking for my "old" bearings, for ten minutes I walk in the wrong direction. Then I realize my mistake, about face, and find the correct address.

Go! Through the doors, and up the elevator to the top floor. So these are the corridors of non-power. It is an ordinary commercial office building -- quite an improvement from the usual built-for-government job. The halls here are wider, the ceiling seems taller, the air isn't as stuffy. Carpet and marble floors. Clean bathrooms. No peeling paint.

I pick up my ID badge at the reception. Solomon2 has exchanged his usual pajamas/jeans for a suit and tie, but these young ladies are dressed in more casual outfits; not jeans, but not formal business attire, either, rather like librarians. So I inquire if the books proudly displayed on shelves behind the counter are for sale. "No, but you can order them over the internet!" -- and pay shipping like everyone else.

With a few minutes still to spare, I enter the conference room and look around. Some people seem to have removed their badges immediately, and want to remain anonymous. Almost everybody, men and women alike, are in business suits. The worst-dressed is a slovenly fellow sprawled out in the last row. Later, I find out he is the TV reporter for Al-Hurra, the overseas Arabic-language TV station funded by the U.S. government.

Two women near me are young, pretty, and dressed in nearly identical power suits. This doesn't bother them in the least. One has her eyes on the empty table in front with her notepad poised and ready, the other is in deep conversation with her boyfriend or colleague.

Most people are munching on the food: Cold-cut subs sliced into four-inch segments. As this tempting treat isn't an option for Solomon2, he contents himself with bottled water. The chairs are very comfortable, there is seating for a hundred, but the room is only half-full. A few semi-famous analysts are present, but some Solomon2 expected to show up are absent. Could this be a way to judge the importance of the event, or does it reflect the insularity of the analysts?

The moderator, Thomas Donnelly, arrives and introduces his two "Discussants" to the audience. Ground rules: we are friends, even when we disagree, but "we may not use the terms 'risable' or 'fuco' or any other Deconstructionist." Huh?

Part II: The Debate

Up until this moment I wasn't sure it would be a debate! (You can watch it yourself here, and the transcript is here.)

I'll procede from my notes -- verbatim, to let my readers judge for themselves. My comments are bracketed.

[Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of international relations at Boston University and ex-Army colonel, is no lightweight, but the author of many books and articles in the finest policy journals. He stated his position immediately:] "My role is offer critique of U.S. policy since someone who disagreed emphatically with the President's policies...a course that is not good for the country..." [His points (as I number them) are:]

1) D.C. is a city of "wild mood swings", and the town now feels good, and that isn't good for the country. [We're letting our emotions get in the way of clear thinking!]

2) President Bush is compelled by his religious convictions: it is "foreordained" that "Providence" designates the U.S. to spread democracy and freedom. Bacevich thinks it is "presumptous to understand G-d's plan, the 20th century alone says G-d's ways are mysterious and hidden".

[Where's his proof? Bacevich wants us to believe Bush is a dangerous religious nut, but his own words do not make me feel safer. He is speaking with absolute confidence about the President's mind -- maybe he is telepathic and can read thoughts! Has he never considered that ways he finds "mysterious and hidden" may indicate his failings as an analyst and historian?]

3) "[It is difficult to interpret] the meaning of ongoing events across massive social, cultural, and religious boundaries."

[In other words, Bacevich is aware that he knows little of what he is talking about, and that makes him uneasy.]

"Daniel Pipes cautioned against being too quick to impose our own meanings on developments [as the results may be illiberal.] Bluntly stated, in a free vote, the radical Islamists may gain power [in elections in some Arab countries.]

[A good point, one I first raised at the beginning of Oslo. For an answer to this, read this transcript of The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror]

4) "This month my new book, which I am hereby shamelessly plugging, will begin to appear in bookstores." Bacevich is "uneasy at using military power" as we Americans choose "wrongheaded, pernicious, attitudes...we had persuaded ourselves that we were the masters of war and that force, both force actually used and force threatened, offered a precise and controllable instrument for bringing about political change...This militaristic view is what made preventive war against Iraq seem, in the eyes of some, both possible and desirable. Yet, notwithstanding the abundant evidence of error and miscalculation that has presented itself, notwithstanding the fact that we are now embroiled in a war that is costing us dearly and in which the prospects for military victory now appear negligible, I see little indication that our political elites have reexamined the dangerous assumptions underlying their thinking about force. Unless and until we wean ourselves from militarism, the prospect of more costly blunders like Iraq will remain a real possibility, with consequences likely to be disastrous."

[As Professor Bacevich read from his prepared speech, I smiled broadly and attempted to make eye contact. I will credit him with some sense of shame, for he would not look up from his text to look at the audience.]

[Let's deconstruct this, shall we? How does Bacevich judge all Americans, or that our attitudes are wrongheaded? In what way? Of course we effected political change, but claiming such efforts were meant to be "precise" is a red herring. What is the "abundant evidence of error and miscalculation" here? How does military victory appear negligible? As for "re-examining dangerous assumptions", by my thinking, everything is working. As for "disasterous consequences", it has been reported that prospects for another 9-11 have declined because of a lack of martyrs -- primarily due, no doubt, to U.S. military operations!]

5) "Bush mouths goals" - but he doesn't mobilize resources. "Someone else's kid" will fight, future generations will pay...

[Bacevich is certainly correct to be concerned about that. One of Bacevich's sons is a newly commissioned officer in the Army. Whether the U.S. should initiate a draft or not is a worthy issue to discuss, but not here. Bacevich, however, is obsessed by the "fairness" issue. My own take on force sizes is discussed in my post Why is the U.S. in Iraq?]

6)The Administration's economic policy is "reckless. I'm not an economist so I can't say if it's sustainable."

[I do not easily see how an economic policy can be both reckless and sustainable. You admit this isn't your field of expertise. Why are you talking about this at all, professor? Are you somebody else's puppet? Now I understand why we are forbidden to use the term, "risable".]

7) Endurance "should involve collective sacrifice, not the poor...the sharp decline in the willingness of African Americans to volunteer for military service is one indication that some folks are beginning to wise up."

[What a prejudiced comment! How does this guy know how to interpret statistics? How can he determine causal factors without a survey? Who is he to speak for any group of people, let alone a group he is not a member of?]

8) What do we do? Our purpose in Iraq is to reduce the insurgency to a minimum, but Iraq will depend on us for years to come.

[If it isn't obvious by now, Professor Bacevich follows the school of International Liberal Interventionism -- you can carry out military activities for police or disinterested humanitarian actions, but otherwise not for reasons of national interest. Bacevich is not concerned with making Americans feel more secure.]

Beyond Iraq, there are two options:

1) Forge on with rooting out tyranny. Then we should (a) mobilize our country and make it a "crusade"!

[Just what the jihadis want for recruitment purposes! And what about the economy?]

(b) If we really want to save the world, move "beyond political democracy" and establish "Freedom from Want".

[Bacevich thus demonstrates that he is no democrat, if democracy fails to serve his desires, and believes Socialism is superior to "political democracy".]

2) "Realism and modesty", which Bacevich describes as no preventable war, reduced world commitments, "reconfigure for National Defense", treat Terrorism as CRIMINAL activity, seek greater energy self-sufficiency....

[Bacevich calls this "realism" but what he is describing is isolationism: other than seeking out Bin Laden, we are to pull in, and wait until another bolt-from-the-blue hits us.]

Peter Feaver is a professor at Duke, a lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserve, and has written on warfare, nuclear proliferation, and civil-military relations:

"I'm used to a hostile environment" where I'm the only conservative.

[Too used to it. Feaver immediately starts out on the defensive.]

1) "I thought Iraq had WMD!"

[They discovered large amounts of WMDs last year, Mr. Feaver -- in China, Japanese weapons from World War II. They were discovered by accident. The Japanese were supposed to declare such weapons and remove them after the war. That didn't happen. What mattered was that Japan could no longer use the beblistering things.]

2) I was wrong about the robustness of public support...Two years ago I "might have said that the new Democratic president would have a public relations nightmare on his hands."

[If anything, Mr. Feaver is the lightweight. No wonder Bacevich's books outsell his! I believe that Kerry could have won had he listened to Bill Clinton, and several other Dems would have easily beat Bush, but our domestic politics isn't the topic of discussion here.]

Mr. Feaver then discusses results of surveys that reveal, to him, that the U.S. public is not "misinformed" about terrorism, but treats the War on Terror as a new "cold war" - and develops his nine points accordingly.

[This sounds really shaky to me. Feaver is clearly approaching the WOT from a cold war mindset, trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. There will be similarities and differences, but no clear frame of events is possible as long as you persist in thinking this way.]

1) A long-term war with few "pitched battles".

[I think the Bush Administation is seeking to engage U.S. forces continuously, for as long as this Administration is in power.]

2) Ideological as well as military: "Andy [Bacevich] sees the U.S. as only wielding a screwdriver, with the world to be screwed!" [Ouch!]

3) An "over-arching" strategy is required, รข la George Kennan's "Containment" manifesto.

4) Costs shared, no just by U.S.
[The "free-rider" problem is made worse be the lack of a defined front and the influence of terrorists and fifth columnists within our usual "allies". Some allied officials rose to their positions of power by the "statesmanlike" deals they cut with terrorists or rogue regimes. Why should they repudiate themselves now?]

5) Domestic support can't be taken for granted.

6) Balance security with civil rights -- we had McCarthyism, but America's civil liberties expanded, too. [Non-sequitur. Feaver has not made the connection with the War on Terror.]

7) Tough on terrorists. It is to Bush's credit that he is "looking for the root causes" which are "stunted political development".

8) Intelligence key. [Intelligence is a form of support. Actions are key.]

9) Revise & re-organize government agencies. [We have Homeland Security, but what about the State Department?]

What does the New Cold War frame not replay like the old?
1) A balance between "containment" and "rollback". [How can suicidal terrorists be contained? They're deadly even when they're in U.S. prisons.]
2) What is "tolerable terrorism" and what is not? [Doubtless the rumored possible U.S. "acceptance" of Hizballah is on his mind.]

Part III: Excerpts from the Rebuttal:

Donnelly [moderator]: " you believe that a successful prosecution of the war, the GWOT as we call it, properly ought to get--even allowing for reallocating resources within the current top line and within the current military structures, even allowing that, do you think that is a sufficient level of effort?"

FEAVER: "If we need more 'Iraq equivalents' probably, but if we don't do it that way, then we are in a 'stressor period' and in 18 months it'll be over." [What's this? I never heard that before!] "I never bought the 'take down Syria-Iran strategy." [Maybe he just rented it?]

Donnelly: If a Cold War, does that reduce our claim as liberators? "Am I going to lose my virtue if I am content to wage a Cold War?"

BACEVICH: "Of course, because we'll make common cause with [tyrants]! The Cold War frame Peter invented is....but this is Peter Feaver's frame, not the Bush Administration!" [Whatever you say, Colonel - you're a Colonel, you must be right!] Bush is committed to using U.S. power to be more accomodating to our values, or what we think should [prevail?] Even if it were a Cold War, where was it won? Eisenhower understood it would be won at home.

[Too simplistic. Eisenhower understood that the U.S. of the 1950s needed some form of economic restructuring and political restructuring. He fought off attempts by the Democrats to increase defense spending - Eisenhower knew from U-2 overflights that the Russians weren't as powerful as they pretended to be. He kept the U.S. out of Vietnam, or conceived of it as a limited committment. Eisenhower supported Brown vs. The Board of Education with federal troops, rather than pull an Andrew Jackson and refuse to do so. The punitive income tax structure was finally relaxed under Kennedy, whose brother fought the corrupting power of the unions -- but that's another story.]

BACEVICH: "...this Administration has little serious interest in what kind of society we are, and what kind of country we are becoming." [Absurd statement about any president who personally campaiged for his office -- he could not have gained votes otherwise.]

FEAVER: "My complaint about Andy is that he's always willing to punt on first and ten. He's declared defeat many, many times, and, at some point, he may be right. But I would point out--I would suggest that Operation Enduring Freedom is a little more of the kind of success that I'm talking about.

BACEVICH: "...the problem with the charge is that it is false....I have always said that Operation Enduring Freedom was essential.

I certainly have not said that Operation Enduring Freedom should lead to a long-term presence, but once we said to the Taliban you guys got to cough up Osama bin-Laden, and they said no, then there was no alternative but to go in and take down the Taliban as a demonstration that support for terror of that type is unacceptable."

[Oh, wow, cosmic, everything is so simple! And giving up Osama to rot in a U.S. jail while his confederates are free to plot and train would really solve everything or teach anybody a lesson?]

Part IV: Excerpts from Q&A:

Ali Alyami from the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia: "Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest human rights violators, the government of Saudi Arabia. Yet, the Saudi reformers are languishing in Saudi prisons. The United States...have never said anything, have never mentioned their names. Yet, the Saudi policies are probably the most dangerous policies to the stability and democracy of this country. And I would like you to tell me why double standards and why double talks?"

[I'm tired of the "double standards" charge. When the U.S. isn't being criticised for "double standards", it is criticized for being "simplistic". The questioner thus undermines his perfectly valid question.]

FEAVER: Well, it seems to me that it's a bit unfair to accuse this President of not talking about democracy in the Middle East enough because it strikes me that he has said more on this and broken more taboos than all previous presidents combined..."

[Good answer, but what these guys really wanted to know, as Alymi's young associate made clear to me afterwards, was:

Why didn't the U.S. invade and democratize Saudi Arabia after 9-11, or at least after Afghanistan? After all, most of the highjackers were from Saudi Arabia.

Krauthammer is right -- when you want your country invaded, you dial Washington. These guys used to be peers with men like Allawi and Chalabi. Now such former Iraqi exiles take part in governing their country while these fellows are still unknowns. How depressing!

Yet it is a serious question, and deserves a fuller answer. Our troops were already in Saudi Arabia, it would have been very easy. My first answer was that this is clearly what Al Qaeda expected us to do, and thus a very good reason not to do it. My deeper answer was that overthrowing a country where American troops were stationed to protect its citizens from external attack would have "murdered our military honor."

The U.S. might have succeeded in taking over the country, but our system of alliances would have been ruined, and we probably would have engendered a counter-alliance of Islamic States opposed to the U.S. One can easily envision France eagerly taking the lead of such a coalition. In my opinion, Saudi Arabia was not ready in 2001 for Iraq-style democracy. Thus, a U.S. "invasion" of Saudi Arabia would do little to restructure Arab society, isolate the U.S. completely, and only make the problem of terrorism worse.]

Questioner: In the War on Terror, Global War on Terror, there is also ideological aspect we are fighting and we are standing against, because the militant Islam stands for a specific ideology. What is the role, what is the strategy in our War on Terror to counter that ideology?

FEAVER: "The ideology that is the problem is not Islam. But it's rather a narrow perversion of Islam. That's the problem. And that point needs to be stated over and over again, lest someone miss it." [Post 9/11 political correctness.]"...the larger political strategy was recognizing that the causes of terrorism are not American misbehavior but rather stunted political development, stunted opportunities in key societies around the world." [Muhammad Atta was an architect. No stunted opportunities there!] "...Promoting political pluralism in key parts of the world that is the ideological struggle." [At least he got that part right, but if the U.S.A. had said this before liberating Iraq, would our allies have supported the invasion?]

BACEVICH: "The bucks being invested in that piece of this sophisticated strategy would strike me to be miniscule compared to the bucks being invested in the military piece of the strategy." [He's comparing apples and oranges. Military battles require expensive tanks. Ideological battles require cheap yet arduous talks.]"...the best way to bring about the ultimate demise of this threat is through containment. Islamic radicalism in my judgment cannot satisfy the desires of the people in that part o the world. It is doomed to fail. And all we need to do is to contain it until that day comes about, which is what we did in bringing about the demise of the Soviet Union." [When New York is nuked by terrorists with no return address -- or from Marseille -- who are you going to bomb, Colonel?]

[Feaver & Bacevich then diverge into a discussion of containment and energy policy.]

Questioner: "How do you solve the terrorist situation by containing terror cells. I mean, I understand how you solve Cold War by containing a state. But terror cells seems to me uncontainable, unless you take out the reason for their existence. So can you comment on that?

BACEVICH: "You can't contain terror cells. You got to go get them. They weren't in Iraq. They are in other places around the world...mount a massive international effort, chiefly a police effort...That's what you got to do to terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda: go root them out and kill them, but I don't think you do that chiefly by invading countries." [Police effort? That didn't work before 9/11, nor so much after, save for the threat and use of military action. ]

Paul Leventhal, Nuclear Control Institute: " does Iran factor into the frame, Peter that you raise, and does the Cold War analogy still fit? What type of military response do you foresee as being appropriate, if one is needed, if the diplomatic route does not actually work? How does Iran and the potential nuclear threat from both countries figure into this?"

FEAVER: "The jury is still out as to whether the diplomatic effort will succeed or not, but I think we--the Administration appears to now be completely behind attempting the diplomatic route with Iran...If it doesn't succeed, I guess you can invite us back for another panel to speculate on what to do then."

Donnelly: "...How would the Bacevich Doctrine deal with the case of Iran?"

BACEVICH: "It's the same." [Let's keep talking while Iran develops nukes, but not think about what happens if they don't listen to us.]

FEAVER: "See. Can I just--I think this is the real issue with Andy. Andy and I have been arguing over this for years and years...It's Iraq."

BACEVICH: "I put myself in the camp of people who view that not simply as unnecessary and mistaken and tragic, but as profoundly, profoundly reckless and contrary to our interests. And, yes, I have to concede the point, and, therefore, I think it colors very much my overall evaluation of the Administration.

"Now--and part of the reason I think that the anger that some of us feel does not wane, and, therefore, maybe from your point of view, we remain unable to give the Administration a fair break is because from our point of view there has not been an iota of concession, recognition, rethinking that has manifested itself. Rather it is despite the ever shifting rationale for why the war was necessary, yes, it was necessary. Yes, it's a wonderful thing. Yes, it's just going swimmingly well. And all those who say nay are sort of cast beyond, you know, outside of respectable opinion.

"So, yeah, the Iraq War, I'm not speaking for other people, for myself, it really sticks in my craw, big time."

[So Bacevich practically confesses that anger is responsible for his refusal to consider facts and hence his very flawed academic approach. And why should there be ANY such rethinking by the Administration if everything is working as it should? Why, to soothe the brows of sensitive reality-challenged wrong-predicting academics, of course!]

Part V: Summary Statements

[Feaver's excellent summary is reproduced verbatim from the manuscript and my notes.]

FEAVER: "There are three repeating or recurring fallacies that I would guide the reader to look at.

"The first one is the damned if you do, damned if you don't' fallacy. Some day I would like to ask Andy Bacevich, who fumes bombastically about our miserliness abroad, to debate the Andy Bacevich who argues that we should stop spending money abroad and start spending it at home.

"There's a sort of an all purposes critique--the common ideology that links those two is that whatever we're doing is wrong. But otherwise, it's hard for me to see the logical consistency.

"The second is what I would call the omission versus commission fallacy. This is the mistaken believe that moral analysis only consists of analyzing acts of commission. So if we want to evaluate American military action, we look at all of the times when we did do military action, then we must conclude some subset of that was doubtless wrong, and then that ends our moral judgment. Of course, more robust, sophisticated moral analysis would consider acts of omission. There's possibly many times that military action was not considered.

"So Andy's conclusion that we're militaristic in the post Cold War, sort of that last decade or so--and I've run the statistics by him before. He's not persuaded by it. But you all haven't heard it.

"Roughly 76,000 enemy combatants [dead] at the hand of the U.S. military, not counting OIF. [OIF?] But a million people died in those conflicts before the U.S. did anything about it. And roughly--somewhere between seven and 12 million people died in the conflicts that we did literally nothing about.

"And it strikes me that if you're evaluating American militarism and happy-go-lucky overeagerness to use military force, you should at least weight the moral consequences of our reluctance to use our coercive military power, a reluctance that translated into some 12 million people dead in the last decade.

"And the third fallacy is the unpredictable consequences fallacy. This is the idea that military action involves negative, unpredictable consequences always, and that's true; but that failure to use military action does not. And that's the fallacy.

"So if you--by this reasoning allows you to conclude that using the military is always dangerous, but not using the military is always safe. In fact, history is replete with examples where delay in using decisive force made the problem worse; made the problem harder. I would say that we essentially used Andy's preferred strategy on the Global War on Terror in the 90s. That was--describes how we approached, and that was not sufficient to stop 9/11."

BACEVICH: "...I want to try to clarify what I--where I've sown confusion. The damned if you do, damned if you don't fallacy is, to my mind, more a query, a question. What are we about? What is our responsibility? [Bacevich's expression, intonation, and manner show some degree of puzzlement. Maybe he really is clueless.] What is our constitution call upon us to be as a body politic. And if it is to, you know, transform the world, then it seems to me that--if indeed that is our purpose as a people, then we really are very niggardly [sic] in our approach to doing that. And we really are very sort of selfish and live a style of life which is an insult to those people around the world..."

[Bacevich is still hard at work, muddying the waters. He says "we" and "our". He doesn't mention the U.S. government. If he did, he would soon have to admit that the U.S. government has a responsibility to protect its citizens, but is not responsible for promoting international social welfare or "transforming the world" by democratisation. It's just that democratisation, as a cure for terrorist-breeding societies is our course of defense for defending the U.S. Poor Hindus from Madras aren't threatening to destroy this country. Rich and middle-class radicalized Muslims from failed societies are.]

BACEVICH: "...aren't we responsible for everyone else, too? some degree, we are not responsible for bad things that happen [so we shouldn't care about the 300,000 dead at Saddam's hands, or the dead in Darfur, or the Holocaust, or Hitler's rise to power...] and if we say that the appropriate response--early response, preemptive response is to use force around the world, then it seems to me at least plausible to argue that we will end up being something quite contrary to what we have defined the nature and purpose and values of our country. [Whose definition, professor? Yours, or the majority who voted for Bush?] We really will end up being the bully of the globe. [So you won't get invited to Paris as often as you may like. Get over it.] We really will end up being overstretched. We really will end up being irretrievably militarized and I'd like to avoid that."

[Read Democratic Realism, professor; we won't get overstretched. That'll clear things up fast.]


The debate encapsulates nicely the liberal/conservative divide:

Anthony Bacevich does not think in terms of defending the country, but "humanity" as he determines what the priorities should be. Furthermore, in his irrational resentment he denies inconvenient facts which argue against his preconceptions. This is "September 10th" thinking. To his credit, he does not pin the "War for oil" tag on President Bush.

Peter Feaver is struggling to escape from the bonds of Cold War thinking. He knows what has been accomplished, and his closing arguments show a grasp of the Administration's strategy, but he hasn't quite figured out how it was developed -- not through the prism of the Cold War and its preserving-the-status quo rules, but through the consideration of cold facts, and them throwing the table to start fixing them.

P.S.: Tomorrow's post will deal with the line of thought created by those Saudis who wanted the U.S. to invade their own country.

Update May 12-13, 2005

Mr. Feaver has read this blog entry and politely responds with clarifications: "Those figures [76,000 dead, OIF=Operation Iraqi Freedom] are a compilation of estimates of combat fatalities on the other side (i.e. not our deaths and not civilian deaths) in all the wars that the U.S. participated" including Desert Storm and "through the war in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom. So they are not just Afghanistan; they are also Bosnia; Somalia; Kosovo; etc."

No comments: