So, we’re having coffee after lunch and tune in C-span. The speaker , General Michael Rose, is at Columbia’s Saltzman’s Institute of War and Peace Studies making the argument of his new book, Washington’s War: The American War of Independence to the Iraqi Insurgency. I thought the analogy had some rather major weaknesses and found his position a bit irritating. Still, it is somewhat bracing to hear a British military man discuss our earlier conflicts. His very British point of view defines his values and positioning; they of course differ somewhat from a Midwesterner’s vision. He admires Petraeus, although the book was clearly written and argument solidified before the Petraeus strategy had developed. He remains sure, however, that we are losing, that the government there is accomplishing nothing, and that we should declare it a lost war, leave, and move on. His analogy encourages later, perhaps more cheerful, parallels as well – in the aftermath for Iraq (America’s Constitution) and for America (Britain’s great Victorian age). He repeatedly argues decisions should not be made in terms of the worst scenario – though we should have foreseen the worst scenarios when entering Iraq. Considering a blood bath might follow an early retreat is not reasonable, since bad seldom (not as much as 1 out of 10 he says) follows such conflicts.
He is a fifth generation military man. C-Span gives some biographical context: “Gen. Michael Rose (ret.) commanded the 22nd Special Air Service Regiment from 1979 to 1982. He was later commander of the UN forces in Bosnia (1994-1995). ” He strongly defends in the C-span interview as well as in his interview with Charlie Rose, the UN’s actions in Bosnia and criticizes NATO. The force in both interviews of this discussion indicates it contains points he wants to make. (I thought of Hanson’s argument that Lew Wallace did book tours for Ben Hur as much to defend his Civil War record as to sell books.) Also, he believes Tony Blair should have been impeached.
So, I turn to Chicagoboyz and ask for information, intelligence and a sense of proportion. (I did do a search of him on our site, but may have entered the search poorly. If, as seems to be happening lately, my mind is wandering and someone has talked of him, please let me know.)