I posted her Op-Ed here.

My response –

I appreciate that Ms. Cheney is a diplomat of some standing in the diplomatic community. Unfortunately, her arguments prove that she does not understand the conflict. It is nice to say, “we must win.” Please, provide me a strategy for winning. Increasing troop strength is a tactic. The strategy, which has failed for the last three years, remains the same.

If President Bush and his administration was truly serious about winning this war then he would have performed everything differently. As soon as the violence broke out in Baghdad, with the lawlessness and looting, the president would have met with his Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary defense and any other military expert he could find to figure out why our strategy, so early in the war, was failing.  We weren’t being greeted at liberators.  Why?  The President would have asked why, if he was serious.

If our president was serious about winning the war, he would’ve listened to General Colin Powell who successfully conducted the first Gulf War. General Powell clearly understands the region and its complexities. But our president never sought out General Powell, instead, General Powell had to seek him out. General Powell offered diplomacy.  This was rejected by the President.  General Powell promised if we break it (Iraq) we will own it. President Bush did not heed General Powell’s warnings.  Over $350 billion later, we are well on our way of buying it.

If President Bush was truly serious about winning the war, he would’ve learned from our past failures and the past failures of our allies. The French failure in Algiers. Our own struggle in the Philippines at the turn of the century. These are just a few of the conflicts which underline the importance of dealing with insurgencies early.

If President Bush was truly being serious, he would’ve followed the successful formula that President Clinton used in the Balkans. Again, following the Powell doctrine, we have 40,000 troops in a country of 2.5 million. Using this template, we would need over 400,000 troops to control Iraq. We need overwhelming force to quell the violence and to rebuild a country whose infrastructure has been abused for the last 20 – 25 years.

Therefore, if our President is only going to prescribe a Band-Aid to heal what can only be described as a major shotgun blast to the flank of Iraq, we have to assume that he is not being serious. It also must be assumed, that the rest of the neocons are not being serious. We’ve tried increasing troop strength before. We did this with operation Together Forward. It didn’t work for a variety of reasons. We then tried Operation Together Forward II. This didn’t work either. Neither of these “surges” worked. Again, the tactics were the same, increase troop strength, go house to house and weed out the insurgents. It didn’t work.

I ask you and your colleagues to give the American people a strategy that they deserve. A strategy for winning not a strategy for prolonging chaos. Then, and only then, should the American people get behind you and the president who has failed the American people and the American military time and time again.

Errington Thompson, M.D.
Trauma Surgeon