Thursday, January 11, 2007

Never Reinforce Failure

There’s a cardinal military rule taught at places like Sandhurst and West Point and Saint Cyr but is in fact as old as Homer, if not older.

The rule is this:

Never reinforce failure.

In other words, don’t throw good money after bad. Don’t waste more lives on an operation that has already failed. It’s almost impossible to make a bad plan succeed by throwing more resources at it, and the result is almost always to make a failure larger.

President Bush has just disregarded this golden rule. It puts in him notorious company such as Field Marshal Douglas Haig, Marshal Robert Nivelle, and even scum like Adolf Hitler.

To ignore this rule is the cardinal military sin, because it means you’re asking your people to suffer and die in vain

So I’m going to stick my neck out here and predict that another five brigades of American troops in Iraq will make no long-term difference. Another five divisions wouldn’t.

That the war, if one recalls it’s various justifications and objectives back in 2002-3 is lost, and that the only result of this reinforcement will be more dead and mutilated people on all sides.

After so many years, I shouldn’t really be surprised at Bush’s stupidity and pathological inability to face reality, but… I am. This is a last desperate throw of the dice - only he’s gambling lives rather than dollars.

The shock and awe at what he’s done today makes me angry and sad and bitter.

America and indeed the whole world deserve better than this pathetic, superstitious, stupid man.


Blogger Marshall North said...

I agree. I'm afraid the bloodbath will only get bloodier.

8:44 PM  
Blogger David Young said...

Are you saying that no conflict has ever been won by the arrival of reinforcements?

3:33 PM  
Blogger roGER said...

No David, I'm saying what I said in my post.

Perhaps you need to read it again.


5:36 PM  
Blogger David Young said...

If you aren't saying that no conflict has been won by the arrival of reinforcements then you must concede that some there have been some conflicts that were being lost by the ultimate winner prior to the arrival of the reinforcements.

In return, I will concede that there are some battles or wars that cannot be won by increasing resources (my chief candidate would be the 'war on drugs', but who knows?).

My question is - How are you supposed to know which is which? Forget the current situation in Iraq. Just as a general case, how do you know? It sounds a bit like the old advertising adage - 'Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.'

You'll have to forgive me for being born in Scotland. I was always told 'If at first you don't succeed try, try again'. My grandparents never taught me the 'never reinforce failure' lesson.


10:58 PM  
Blogger roGER said...

I'm sorry David - NO poker player as good as you could find the concept of throwing good money after bad so alien.

The hand that is Iraq is lost.

It's long past time to fold and move onto the next hand.

PS: Please don't be sorry for being born in Scotland - it's a great place.

11:28 AM  

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