MS Project Comes to Iraq?
The buzz phrase in round I was the weasel word redeployment (think Monty Python's Holy Grail: redeploy! redeploy! redeploy!. The buzzword in round II is benchmark. Redeploy was nothing but surrender and the Democrats did this for one reason and that was to show their blue meat leftists the state of things and to at least try to appear to surrender.
Benchmarks is a much more reasonable idea. Of course, it all depends on the exact meaning of benchmarks and the consequences of not achieving those goals. I believe the Administration does have milestones set for the Iraqi government and this entire project. This is going to be where the contention lies. Usually in war you do not get too specific or vocal in broadcasting your objectives, let the enemy find out what your objectives are after you have accomplished them.
What goals, what consequences for not meeting those goals, and what are the consequences of meeting those goals will the Democrats attempt to legislate? That is starting to sound like a Constitutional power grab.
I would guess the cliche about no plan is going to get louder and the Democrats are going to try and tell us their new funding bill lays out a winning plan. Anticipating this very debate I wrote a piece entitled On Plans & Planning. The political opposition confuses the enemy veto with lack of a plan. There is an active enemy working to disrupt any and all Coalition plans and that can not be discounted when analyzing former plans and creating future plans. How the enemy disrupts the plan is usually quite unknown.
The Iraqi War is a situation that requires flexibility and what may seem at the moment a reasonable benchmark, milestone, goal etc may in the future not just be unattainable but undesirable. The mandate to fix funding to benchmarks removes the flexibility our commanders need.
Think of it this way. Let us say the Packer defense plans to defend a run play going away from AJ Hawk. AJ Hawk (linebacker) detects the Bears are going to run a screen play to his side, what is AJ to do? Does he go with the plan or does he attack the screen he detects? The Democrats appear to be saying he had better go with the plan and potentially give up a lot of yards. Of course, AJ had better be correct.
A couple of thoughts. In WWII the objectives and campaign goals were roughly debated over. Not only within service branches, but between services, and nations. If congress decided to insert itself in all of that and attempted to make those goals widely known I shudder to think what would have happened.