Printer friendly version

April 15, 2004

In Tune with Nordlinger

Jay Nordlinger agrees that some of the criticism hurled at the administration, while possibly well meaning, goes a bit further than is justified:

Why shouldn't military leaders know better than civilian leaders what strict requirements on the ground are? Isn't this supposed to be a lesson from Vietnam: that Lyndon Johnson and Bob McNamara, sitting in Washington, don't necessarily know best?

Well, those commanders have now stated the need for more troops. And the president and the secretary of defense have responded with alacrity.

I don't see why that's so shameful. I don't know how many troops are necessary; and neither would George W. Bush. But the likes of John Abizaid would know — and their word should count for a lot. The notion that Bush and Rumsfeld are somehow grudging about furnishing the tools — and the men — to finish the job is absurd.

"Leave it to the experts" isn't necessarily dismissive advice; experts are, well, experts, and when a particular one of them is in a position to have maximal information, in an endeavor in which secrecy is extensive, that's who the average person ought to trust most on the specifics. I, for one, consider it among President Bush's best qualities that he seems to understand this.

Posted by Justin Katz at April 15, 2004 9:23 PM