An Aphorism

Don’t place the outcome of your decisions in other people’s hands.

Of course you don’t usually have full control of outcomes when you are engaged in conflict, negotiations, and the like. But often you can do a lot to retain a good deal of control, through planning, sound strategy, and careful execution. The thing you can’t do is create a situation where the success of your policy is entirely in the hands of another party. That is what we have done in Iraq. We have asked the Iraqis to create security where we could not, and the success of our endeavor depends entirely on their success. We have lost the initiative because we don’t have a plan that gives us even some control over outcomes. No wonder we’re bogged down.

When you have lost the initiative in a war, you have lost the war, unless you can get the initiative back.

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