If it is worth doing, U.S. leadership should make a judgment as to when diplomacy has failed and act forcefully, early, during the pre-crisis period, to try to alter the behavior of others and to prevent the conflict. If that fails, be willing and prepared to act decisively to use the force necessary to prevail, plus some.

In working to fashion a coalition or trying to persuade Congress, the public, the U.N., or other countries to support an action, the National Command Authorities must not dumb down what is needed by promising not to do things (i.e., not to use ground forces, not to bomb below 20,000 feet, not to risk U.S. lives, not to permit collateral damage, not to bomb during Ramadan, etc.). That may simplify the task for the enemy and make our task more difficult.

I think I'm going to hide under my desk now.

Source: Donald H. Rumsfeld, "Guidelines to be Considered When Committing U.S. Forces," reprinted in the New York Times, 14 Oct 2002.

Some people have already /msg'ed me complaining about the lack of original content in this writeup. I just don't know what else to add: it pretty much speaks for itself.

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