Iraq lost the war because of Saddam Hussein's military incompetence and the shock of the allies' excellence.

Iraq was doomed because its backward-looking forces clashed with America's new military culture and competence.If the military budget is cut in accordance with present plans, that competence will suffer and our ability to resist aggression in the future will suffer.

The new strategy stressed initiative, agility, depth of operation and synchronization of all four services and their branches.

New tactics stressed avoiding battles of attrition and accepting risk, using night and poor-weather operations, attacking enemies' specific vulnerabilities and keeping the battlefield "fluid" through continuous operations so that foes would be kept off balance and forced to move in desired directions.

The new culture implied a new civil-military relationship. This unwritten bargain said the military would never again willingly fight a major war if it did not have full political support, if it could not use all its force to win quickly and decisively, if gradual escalation and political bargaining kept if from maintaining momentum and if politicians tried micromanagement.

Saddam made fatal political judgments.

He believed the United States would not risk war and, if it did, could be put off by threats of the kinds of losses that defeated it in Vietnam.

He believed the United States was too weak to lead an anti-Iraq alliance.

When the war began, allied reconnaissance aircraft and deep reconnaissance patrols moved into Iraq.

Their ability to monitor movement at night and in poor weather gave the allies nearly perfect vision over the battlefield.

The allies seized and kept the initiative and moved faster than the Iraqis.

The Iraqis lost cohesion, were forced in the direction the allies desired and could never deal with the fluid battlefield.

The allies not only bypassed Iraq's main forces, they froze them with air power.

Every tenet of the allied battle worked.

The system functioned at a level of perfection virtually unknown in the fog of war.

Now the bad news: Under military budget plans the United States will cut its forces by 25 percent over five years.

If this goes on we will be unable to refight our last war, much less the next one.

Like it or not, the United States is the only nation that can assemble and project enough power to meet any aggressor.

While Americans may not want to be the world's policeman, they must consider what it could be like to live in a world without any policeman at all.