Tom’s QDR boycott: A response from a ‘QDR-weary Defense official’
Today’s mailbag brings this response from a “QDR-weary defense official” to my statement yesterday that I am boycotting the QDR: … A lot of what you say is true of course, but I think often folks have over-inflated expectations of these reports. It’s like every four years people expect some weakened and weary civilians to ...
Today's mailbag brings this response from a "QDR-weary defense official" to my statement yesterday that I am boycotting the QDR:
Today’s mailbag brings this response from a “QDR-weary defense official” to my statement yesterday that I am boycotting the QDR:
… A lot of what you say is true of course, but I think often folks have over-inflated expectations of these reports. It’s like every four years people expect some weakened and weary civilians to come down from the mountain with some new stone tablets that will magically light the way for the next four years. And of course, every four years people are disappointed.
It’s not “Obama enough!” some like Peter Singer exclaimed in a LA Times op-ed — as if all we needed to do was insert some soaring rhetoric to solve problems (“Yes we can, manage risk prudently across a range of contingencies!”). It’s too Obama because it doesn’t use the word “win” enough, Tom Mahnken argues unsurprisingly disingenuously, as the whole report is in fact structured around the need to prevail in today’s wars (as if there is a meaningful difference between “prevail” and “win” anyway).
My own view is that this QDR was never intended to be revolutionary, it simply provides a decent strategic framework building on Secretary Gates’ well-known priorities, and whose architects used the process to ensure tens of billions of additional cuts to unnecessary systems and tens of billions of investments targeted to prevail in today’s wars. So you’re right of course — if folks have been paying any attention at all to the priorities of Secretary Gates the QDR is not especially newsworthy. But after too many examples of QDRs using Jedi-mind tricks to fool people into believing that they alone had the answers (anyone remember “shock and awe” or “transformation”?), I for one am pleased this QDR is not making the kind of waves that gets pundits excited.
Thomas E. Ricks is a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy. Twitter: @tomricks1
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