A true story.
A couple years ago, Rumsfeld and God sat on the beach, bathed in the orange hues of an October sunrise. They were talking strategy.
"See," said God, "There's a whole lot you can't predict. Like whether the Iraqis are ready for self-rule. Shiite and Sunni internecine conflict has been suppressed by Hussein for so long, when you go in there and liberate the place, all hell is gonna bust loose."
"Uh-huh," said Rumsfeld.
"Most folks can't even tell a Sunni from a Shiite," God said. "Heck, I even get confused."
Rumsfeld fiddled with a stick, then asked, "They'll greet us as liberators, right? Small force, knockout blow, quick mop-up, and we're done?"
"Have you been listening to anything I've said?" God barked. "Look. You're gonna need a couple hundred thousand ground-pounders at least. You're gonna have to vet the Iraqi military, extirpate the Baath loyalists while keeping the good guys close, reconstruct shattered infrastructure, fend off the Iranians, establish a functional democracy, deal with the Kurds, keep costs down, keep troops out of harm's way, all while being careful not to inflame anti-American sentiment or diminish support on the home front--are you getting this down?"
Rumsfeld nodded. "Taking notes right here in the sand."
[123rd in a series]