The battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines led to the destruction of half of what remained of the Japanese navy. It also "sucked in" all the troops that Japanese could spare from elsewhere, leading to their deploying about half a million men in the Philippines, a disproportionate number, that could not be transferred after the Japanese naval defeat. So far so good.
With the above accomplished, was it militarily possible for the Americans to "island hop" the archipelago, capture only a few islands, "strand" the remaining Japanese, and "switch gears" to larger but now less-well-defended targets such as the modern Indonesia and Indochina, leaving the Japanese in the Philippines to wither on the vine, as had been the case in the Pacific Islands? (MacArthur was all for recapturing the Philippines but other military men disagreed with him.)
Did the Philippines actually have the strategic military or political importance that MacArthur attached to them, and need to be recaptured even if the Japanese had garrisoned them with a million men? Or was it even the case that the Americans had underestimated the transfer of Japanese troops to the islands, so that they thought they were facing X soldiers, when in fact, there was "a multiple of X" on the Philippines?
I know that a number of others argued for alternate plans, but were those plans soundly based on information known in the fall of 1944, or were they "after the fact" critiques or second guesses of MacArthur?