March 1, 2006  

To Ryan Henry

Deputy undersecretary of defense and principal QDR point man, one last QDR-related bolt. Proving that the Pentagon’s leadership is still stuck in the transformational past, pre-Sept. 11, Henry presented the review’s force-shrinking decisions “as a blueprint for shaping the force” for the long war in the greater Middle East. “It’s not about [troop] numbers. Numbers don’t tell you if you can get the job done,” he said. On the other hand, we would observe, the lack of numbers isn’t exactly getting the job done, either. The Bush administration has ridiculed arguments to increase the size of the U.S. military, especially the regular Army, as “Napoleonic” thinking. But the emperor’s observation that victory went to the big battalions, and Stalin’s famous dictum about Russian tank production — “Quantity has a quality all its own” — make us wonder whether in this case bigger isn’t better.