General Barry McCaffrey caught a lot of flack from conservatives when he served as Bill Clinton’s drug czar. Whether the criticism was deserved is debatable. Regardless of his policies in the Clinton administration, I think he has proven to be one of the best military analysts on TV. Time after time, he has advocated for complete victory in Iraq even when Bush officials seemed noncommittal to the idea.
General McCaffrey is just the type of field commander we need in Iraq. He’s a general who understands that wars are won with the overwhelming and aggressive use of force. Just look at his service record during the first Gulf War. He led the 24th Infantry division and was one of the most aggressive commanders in the field. He even took on retreating Iraqi Republican Guard units after the cease fire began.
Although some don’t agree with McCaffrey’s tactics, he has been one of the few former commanders that has advocated for the increased use of military power. Just after OIF began, he appeared on the BBC and firmly stated that hospitals should be destroyed if the enemy was using them for cover and command and control. He shares my view that the only way to win “hearts and minds” is through complete and total defeat. We’ve never attempted that in Iraq and I hope we finally do that. I hope Bush pays close attention to General McCaffrey.