Of all the items Joe Knippenberg has posted on Iraq, the most predictable and disturbing are those from Hanson. Pass over quickly the irrelevant historical examples, the confused discussion of offensives, asymmetric warfare and so on. Hansons point is that our military forces must be allowed to operate like a real military; no more emphasis on training and patrolling. Just go out and get the bad guys. This is ridiculous. The reason that the emphasis went to training and patrolling is that we started out with the idea that we should hunt down and kill insurgents and this failed. It failed not for want of firepower or the willingness to use it but because the central problem in Iraq is not military but political. (Consider in this regard NATOs recent public admission that it killed too many Afghan civilians in 2006.) Joe K is simply wrong to say that our military force must first convince our opponents that they cant prevail through violence. Our opponents are part of the current government. They and our other opponents outside the government do not share our view of what victory in Iraq means. We want democracy; they want their factions to prevail. This is a political problem. Should we use force against the factions in the government? Hansons articles are most disturbing because his rhetoric is really the beginning of the argument that we could have prevailed in Iraq if only the military had been allowed to operate without restraints imposed by misguided politicians. The same dumb argument is made about the war in Vietnam. If this myth gains currency, it will prove as harmful as the similar Vietnam myth has proven to be.