Defining Military Missions
In his press conference, the President just said: “There must be a specific military mission that can be accomplished with more troops.” Last week Rich criticized a Rumsfeld statement to that same effect, saying, “Securing Baghdad seems a military objective, but Rumsfeld never considered it one, at least not one ‘that can be accomplished.’”
I think Rumsfeld and Bush mean “military objective” in a restricted operational sense. “Securing Baghdad” is ultimately a political objective because it cannot be achieved by military means alone. It seems to me that defining the military strategy which can contribute to that political objective is the task ahead for those who believe that we can accomplish something significant by sending more troops.