I found a pointer in Joe Conason’s journal to a story which claims that the retired Marine general who was commanding the faux opposing forces in a giant military exercise quit in disgust after his orders were overridden by military brass because he was doing too well. The exercise was designed to test new tactics advocated by Donald Rumsfeld, and according to the story, the opposing forces were manipulated to insure that the tests were a success. It probably goes without saying that the opposing forces were playing Iraq. Of course, the fact that we’re running rigged military exercises doesn’t mean that we’d lose a war in Iraq, there’s no doubt in my mind that General Van Riper is a superior military commander to those we’d face in Iraq, and furthermore, the real American soldiers who served as opposing forces are no doubt better trained and equipped than real Iraqi soldiers. That said, using boneheaded tactics would doubtless cost lives on both sides of any conflict. It seems to me that if someone really wanted to improve the overall operations of the military, they’d crack down on the various bogus tests and exercises that seem to be run all the time. It amazes me that anything actually works when we go into battle, given the fact that every time we test something, it seems to be rigged.