Lt. Gen. William Odom, ret’d., was head of Army intelligence and director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, and served on the National Security Council staff under Jimmy Carter. He is a West Point graduate with a PhD from Columbia, and is a fellow at the Hudson Institute. He somehow has managed to remain outwardly respectable: why, he even teaches impressionable students at Yale, who are no doubt impressed with his having been on the National Security Agency. But Odom is an appeaser, and of a particularly appalling kind, the kind that pretends to “tough minded realism.” You know — remember Zbigniew Brzezinski, who pretended to be different from Jimmy Carter, but in the end turned out to be more or less the same?
Look at Odom’s appalling remarks on Iran. His reasons for not invading Iraq are essentially the same as those of MoveOn.org, and Markos Kos Zuniga, and Jimmy Carter and Brzezinski. About Iran he insists, falsely, that there is “nothing to be done” (nothing? nothing at all?) and that the only way to un-nuclearize Iran is to have the Israelis give up their nuclear weapons. A clearer statement of sweetly sinisterly calling for the suicide of Israel cannot be imagined. He’s transparent, is Lt. Gen. William Odom, ret’d.
His “Victory is Not an Option” article misses the point. It misses all kinds of points, because this former big shot in the National Security Agency and in the CIA has not learned about, and chooses not to know about, Islam — either its doctrine or the history of its practice. He chooses carefully not to find out about the division of the world between Believer and Infidel. He chooses like the Bush Administration to pretend that the Jihad is a matter of “terrorism” or of military combat alone. There is not a word from Lt. Gen. William Odom, ret’d., about Da’wa or demographic conquest in the nations of NATO.
Odom accepts the Bush Administration’s definition of “victory” in Iraq, and then proceeds to tell us it’s not possible. But what he misses is that there is another definition of victory that does make sense: to weaken the Camp of Islam. And in Iraq, the invasion and removal of Saddam Hussein had its main justification in what we were told was evidence either of possession of, or projects designed to produce, weapons of mass destruction. A second justification was that the removal of Saddam Hussein would, inevitably, lead to the transfer of power of the Land of the Two Rivers, and Baghdad itself, which is so important in Sunni Arab mythologizing about the glorious past, into the hands of the Shi’a, by removing the Ba’athist boot. Then, whatever else happened, the Shi’a would never relinquish that new power willingly, and the Sunnis, in and out of Iraq, would never acquiesce in the Shi’a dominance of Iraq.
“Victory” is not what the Bush Administration defines it as. There was to be Iraq the Model, a stable, peaceful, prosperous place, somehow to be emulated by Sunni Arab states that would apparently not notice the loss of Sunni power and the dominance of the Shi’a. But who in the Administration gave much thought to Sunnis and Shi’a? And just how much thought, when he was still in the government, did Lt. Gen. William Odom, ret’d., now “teaching at Yale,” ever give to the sectarian, ethnic, and economic divisions that might be usefully exploited within the Camp of Islam in order to weaken the onslaught of the Jihad?
Odom does not re-define “victory” intelligently — for a “victory” will be achieved, though now at far greater cost than had the Americans left three years ago, just as soon as the Bush Administration stops its sacrifice of men, and stops inflicting such harm on the army, both the regular and the civilian army. What is happening to the Reserves, and to the National Guard, and to the morale of people who are not quite as willing to endure what the regular army and the Marines are enduring, and the building cold fury at the Administration and its more compliant generals at this nonsensical policy, is a story that needs to be told.
But it is not being told by Lt. Gen. William Odom, ret’d.