Friday, September 09, 2005

One of the most time-honored traditions in the annals (that's "annals," not "anals"--there's a subtle but important difference) of military history is that of the "surprise attack." And one of the key aspects of a "surprise attack" is the element of what is commonly known as "surprise." And a key factor of any kind of surprise is not telling the other person (or persons) what is about to happen.

Has anyone bothered to explain this to Donald Rumsfeld? Back in the spring he and his commanders publicized the upcoming attack on Fallujah, which gave the insurgents plenty of time to get out of town. Then they did the same thing with Mosul. Far be it for me to tell the American Secretary of Defense how to do his job, but he probably should NOT be publicizing upcoming military operations.

For example, the Americans are now talking about launching a major offensive against rebels in the town of Tal Afar, which has become a major base of operations for the insurgency. But by talking about it, the Americans are essentially telling the insurgents to move their operations elsewhere before the attack.

Then again, maybe I'm just missing some ingenious new grand strategy on the part of Mr. Rumsfeld. I mean, what do I know? I'm just a deposed dictator.... Whose followers just happen to be giving the world's sole remaining superpower a run for its money.