Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Last Remake

The drama of evil has its own logic. Here are a number of opening scenes. Let's see if we can't anticipate what conclusion a malevolent director might reach from them. Scene number one. The number of visitors who came to Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas mass increased by 50 percent, according to the Associated Press. "Israeli tourism officials said they expected some 20,000 visitors to cross from Jerusalem into neighboring Bethlehem, an increase of about 50 percent over last year. Tourism workers handed out sweets and flowers to pilgrims, and smiling Israeli soldiers posed for pictures with travelers."

Scene number two. In Iraq, "thousands of Iraqi Christians made their way to church through checkpoints and streets lined with blast walls, many drawing hope from a lull in violence to celebrate Christmas Mass in numbers unthinkable a year ago."

Scene number three. Muslim and Shi'ite clerics have attended Christmas Mass in Baghdad as a gesture of friendship and solidarity and a token of reconciliation. "Muslim clerics—both Sunni and Shiite—also attended the service in a sign of unity. 'May Iraq be safe every year, and may our Christian brothers be safe every year,' Shiite cleric Hadi al-Jazail told AP Television News outside the church. 'We came to celebrate with them and to reassure them.'"

Austin Bay thinks he knows what an evil screenwriter might do with these opening scenes. And how can he be so sure? Because we've seen the original movie before we know what the remake will look like.

The original movie was called the Tet and the drama was staged in Vietnam.

December 25, 2007. Sometime within the next six months or so, al Qaeda or Saddamist terrorists will attempt a Tet offensive.

No, Middle Eastern mass murderers don't celebrate the Vietnamese festival of Tet, but trust that America's enemies everywhere do celebrate and systematically seek to emulate the strategic political effects North Vietnam's 1968 attack obtained. ...

The objective of that drama was to convince an American political audience that the war in Vietnam was lost. That no matter how much effort was put into achieving victory everything could be shattered in a single, inevitable spasm.

Giap knew attacking U.S. public opinion was a classic anti-U.S. ploy. In 1864, politically shattering Abraham Lincoln was a key Confederate goal. The Confederates launched limited offensives (Early's attack on Washington) and bitterly resisted Union attacks, particularly in Virginia where Ulysses S. Grant's limited success was achieved at an enormous cost in casualties. ...

An Iraqi Tet would essentially feature the same story line with updated props and special effects. It's an easy drama to storyboard. First scenes of celebrations like the ones described above will create the backdrop of a false dawn. Then the darkness will descend.

Their "ultimate Iraqi Tet" would feature simultaneous terror strikes in every major Iraqi city. These simultaneous strikes would inflict hideous civilian casualties with the goal of discrediting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's and General David Petraeus' assessments that Iraqi internal security has improved. The terrorists would reduce Iraqi government buildings to rubble. Striking the Green Zone would be the media coup de grace, intentionally echoing North Vietnam's assault on the U.S. embassy in Saigon. Al Qaeda terrorists would also attack Shia shrines. Kidnapping or assassinating of senior Iraqi leaders would be another objective.

This time the target audience will be voters preparing to vote in the 2008 Presidential elections. One problem that al-Qaeda faces is finding the resources to stage a creditable remake.

Actually executing a genuine Giap Tet-type offensive in Iraq, however, borders on fantasy. On a daily basis Iraq's assorted terrorist organizations and militia gangs want to cause such system-shaking, simultaneous carnage, but they don't because, well, they can't.

Al-Qaeda's other problem -- which it shares in common with film directors doing remakes -- is that the storyline will never be as fresh as the original, especially with pundits like Austin Bay out there providing spoilers. Giap had the good sense to wait nearly a hundred years before attempting to reprise 1864.


Blogger Boghie said...

There was a lot more trust and faith in the movie directors back then...

Regardless, they promoted that movie last year...

Only a few Democrats watched. Those hard lefties may watch a remake - even one so soon after the most recent one dropped out of the theaters - but who else will buy a ticket with reviews like Austing Bay's out there.

12/26/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Lucky Pierre said...

Tet was a defeat for the commies on the battlefield, but a victory in the court of public opinion in the USA. We've already gone through our defeat in public opinion, but Bush muddled through by sheer bull-headedness and now al-Qaeda is getting to the defeat on the battlefield part. It's all bass-ackward from 1968, but what the hey, we'll take it!

12/26/2007 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

It was not until the final takeover of South Vietnam by the North that at least some of the surviving Viet Cong leadership found out what the real objective of the Tet offensive was...

It was the destruction of the home-grown insurgency, the elimination of the Viet Cong.

By getting Charlie out there in the open where massive U.S. firepower could be directed at him, the NVA ensured that when they took over the South there would be no armed opposition.

Tet was not just a victory for the U.S. and ARVN, it was THE victory over the insurgents. In the future the war in the South would be defined by massive NVA forces. The fact that it was seen as the reverse speaks volumes about both the attitudes of the Western media and the penetration of the U.S. at home by communist forces.

12/26/2007 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

In removing and hand-cuffing Blackwater, Al-Queda's enablers in the Iraqi government have set about their own plans to make it easier for whatever atrocity is being planned to happen.

Iraqi's must positively love being blowed up since they keep allowing these things to go on in their midst, and go out of their way at the highest levels of their government to make sure there's a free road to greater and gorier martyrdoms.

12/26/2007 09:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"since they keep allowing these things to go on in their midst"

i think thats a little too simple. i'm sure that most "iraqi's" would just like his/her tribe,neighborhood,militia, or sect to be victorious and end the violence--so that peaceful oppression can rule the day again.

12/26/2007 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger davod said...

"Tet was not just a victory for the U.S. and ARVN, it was THE victory over the insurgents. In the future the war in the South would be defined by massive NVA forces."

Who represents the NVA in the Iraq situation?

"In removing and hand-cuffing Blackwater, Al-Queda's enablers in the Iraqi government have set about their own plans to make it easier for whatever atrocity is being planned to happen."

The Iraqi Shiia extremists in government (especially the Interior Ministry) are more likely to be prepping for the Shia rat bags than Al Qaeda.

The average Iraqi is probably interested in peace and quiet, but they are not who the Coalition has` to worry about.

12/27/2007 02:34:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...


I were in the good side of the US governmnt I would be looking for signs of belligerance emanating from the naysayers here in the USA as an indicator of the vioence to come in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On a side issue. Does the recent I love Iran NIE give the Iranians some breathing space to up the tempo of terrorist support.

12/27/2007 02:40:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

You hit close to a good point there I did not mention.

An utterly reliable indicator of the effectiveness of our actions in the Vietnam War was that Certain People over here screamed the loudest.

My Lai? Nary a peep out of them. Just some innocent SV civilians being killed. The commies did that all the time, so BFD.

Bomb NV oil storage depots? Invade Cambodia? Invade Laos? Linebacker II? They went absolutely freakin' nuts.

Poke an animal with a sharp stick and you find out where the head is real fast.

Now who has been screaming about the Surge?

12/27/2007 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger Nate said...

Of course one should never say never, but I think Austin is completely wrong.

Tet, in strategic terms, was a phase in the Maoist model of insurgency. It was planned down to the minute in advance, and involved VC and NVA units spread about the countryside.

Iraq, on the other hand, has no such unified side to plan and execute such a move. Nor are the insurgect groups even practicing the Maoist model. Al Qaeda may yet plan another spectacular attack, but that doesn't amount to a Tet. That amounts to "more of the same." Furthermore the insurgents rarely mass--occasionally they have been seen massing in platoon-sized units, but this is certainly a rarity--they typically operate in small cells. All of this leads me to think there will be no Iraqi Tet. There will only be more of the same.

(The Taliban, on the other hand, do operate in platoon, company, battalion, and even occasionally up to brigade sized units.)

Could there conceivably be a spectacular attack against Christians. But that's not a Tet. That's another spectacular attack, right out of the AQ playbook.

12/27/2007 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

I think COL Bay is attempting to inoculate the domestic target audience through conditioning.

12/27/2007 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew X said...

If Col. Bay indeed is attempting to "inoculate", more power to 'im.

Now speaking as a military expert... (I have, after all, watched 'Saving Private Ryan' five times, so there!).. I have to beg to differ. As so many of us said, we were concerned about this in September, which would have been a perfect time for such a "Tet". The surge was still without results as such, Petreaus was about to testify before a hostile Congress, and the whole world knew that and what was at stake.

But, much to my pleasant surprise, it didn't happen. I have to think that is entirely because it couldn't happen. The enemy lacked the capability.

So one wonders what capability they will gain in the next six months to a year that will change that.

Secondly, every single day is one more brick in the stability of the Iraqi govt. Given current statistics, even if they pull a "Tet" in say, October, it will be measured against a year of success that even the MSM will have been unable to ignore.

So they may be able to do it, but I doubt it will have near the same impact. Had such a thing occured late last summer, it could have been as big a victory for the jihadists as it was for the Viet Cong, given our hand-wringing congress and media.

But it didn't happen.

"History, like a woman, must be taken firmly when she is ready. Otherwise she spurns the suitor, turns her back on him, and never offers him another chance."

Herman Wouk, The Winds of War

12/27/2007 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

I'll bet a bunch of money that the Roman aristocracy took pretty much the same smug view of the Ostrogoths and Visigoths as our aristocracy has for the fanatical Jihadis.

Actually, though, the analogy falls down because the Jihadis have much worse manners than did the Various Goths.

12/27/2007 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I agree that Col. Bay is warning us against our most dangerous enemy, the Surrenderin' Dems and their supporters - this is about our election, there's no possible way Al Qaeda or anyone else can do anything remotely similar to the Tet Offensive under current conditions.

That's not to say even one big bombing, like the destruction of the Golden Mosque, will not be tremendously harmful - but it won't be Tet.

It's the Dem voters that are dangerous. They believe they voted to surrender in 2006, and they believe their 40M votes were an ironclad mandate to lose the war that Bush couldn't refuse.

Remember, these people believe Bush and Cheney blamed Saddam for 9/11. They believe "guns cause homicide." They believe in Global Warming for God's sake! Most dangerously, they believe America is invulnerable and that only Bush will suffer from losing this war.

Just like Tet, the American voters are the primary element of risk. It wouldn't take a Tet to cause America to surrender now, even an Abu Ghraib or Blackwater would do. Notice, that fool Rep. Wexler is trying to impeach Cheney right now, over Valerie Plame, wiretapping, the lead up to the Iraq War - all issues that have been investigated and dismissed by normal people.

12/27/2007 01:41:00 PM  

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