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‘It’s far graver than Vietnam’

THE US-led occupation of Iraq is now such a mess that even senior American military figures are speaking out about how Bush’s war is already lost. The liberal journalist Sidney Blumenthal, a former White House aide under Bill Clinton, interviewe

Issue No. 1920

‘This is far graver than Vietnam. There wasn’t as much at stake strategically there, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with a war that was not constructive for US aims.

But now we’re in a region far more volatile, and we’re in much worse shape with our allies.’
WILLIAM ODOM, retired general and former head of the National Security Agency

‘The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options.

We’re conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa. It’s so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong.

A decision has been made to attack Fallujah after the first Tuesday in November. That’s the cynical part of it—after the election.

The signs are all there. You could flatten it. US military forces would prevail, casualties would be high. I hate that phrase “collateral damage”. And they talked about dancing in the street, a beacon for democracy.’
JOSEPH HOAR, retired general and former head of US Central Command

‘I see no ray of light on the horizon at all.

The idea that we’re going to have an Iraqi force trained to defeat an enemy we can’t defeat stretches the imagination. They will be tainted by their very association with the foreign occupier.

In fact, we had more time and money in state building in Vietnam than in Iraq.’
JEFFREY RECORD, professor of strategy at the US military’s Air War College

‘I don’t think that you can kill the insurgency.

We have a growing, maturing insurgency group. We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self regenerate.

The idea there are X number of insurgents, and that when they’re all dead we can get out is wrong.

Most Iraqis consider us occupiers, not liberators.’
ANDREW TERRILL, professor at the Air War College’s Strategic Studies Institute

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Sat 25 Sep 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1920
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