Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"Counterinsurgency" and Eric Shinseki's Limit

Before the Iraq invasion, American general Eric Shinseki was laughed out of his job for suggesting it would take 300,000 soldiers for the Iraq operation, meaning the occupation of Iraq, "counterinsurgency" being the current jargon for occupation.

Eric's looking pretty good, even conservative.

American General Dan McNeill recently suggested 400,000 troops would be required for the Afghanistan occupation, but that number is politically impossible, politically unspeakable, and politically unthinkable. That number (400,000) has quietly disappeared, having been under-reported in the first place. I think the point at which total denial is applied to realistic requirements for a military mission could be called the Shinseki Limit, in Eric's honour.

A French general looking at the French occupation of Vietnam after 1945 said "it would take a million men, and even then it couldn't be done". William Westmoreland got up to half a million men for half of Vietnam, and even then, it couldn't be done.