Thursday, June 23, 2005

Who's On First?

Glenn Reynolds links to Karl Zinmeister's article in American Enterprise Online, The War is Over, and We Won where Zinmeister claims that:

Your editor returned to Iraq in April and May of 2005 for another embedded period of reporting. I could immediately see improvements compared to my earlier extended tours during 2003 and 2004. ... With the exception of periodic flare-ups in isolated corners, our struggle in Iraq as warfare is over. Egregious acts of terror will continue -- in Iraq as in many other parts of the world. But there is now no chance whatever of the U.S. losing this critical guerilla war.

Gregory Scoblete thinks it is premature to declare victory in Iraq because "guerilla wars" take decades to conclude; and since this one is only entering its third year, declaring the outcome makes as much sense as calling the result of basketball game in the first quarter. He further argues that by declaring the proceedings settled, Zinmeister is setting up the public for a cruel disappointment when the next flare-up occurs.

Don't get me wrong, I think on the whole, the trends are indeed positive in Iraq and that they can be sustained assuming continued American involvement and savvy leadership on behalf of Iraq's political class. I hope Zinsmeister is correct, and I'm optimistic about the longer-term prospects for our success in Iraq. But I'm actually amazed that after "Mission Accomplished," "cake walk" et. al. conservatives aren't more reserved when declaring victory.

Indeed, Zinsmeister's proclamations are irresponsible. Guerilla wars are notoriously long, bloody affairs. Expectation setting is crucial. Fault the media all you want for painting an unduly grim picture in Iraq, but isn't flatly asserting that victory is at hand equally wrong-headed? Reading Zinsmeister, you'd be forgiven for thinking that (a) U.S. troops could begin coming home shortly, (b) that in a few more months things will be noticeably calmer, or (c) that no course corrections are necessary. When A and B don't materialize, and it's hard to think they will, people will rightly wonder whether they've been lied to or whether the people making such sweeping claims were spinning or ignorant of the facts. Then - and this is crucial - the public support needed for seeing the war through to a successful conclusion will erode even quicker.

What does it mean to win a war against guerilla insurgents? What does it mean for a guerilla insurgency to triumph? The one answer that is popularly advanced -- one that is implicit in Scoblete's argument -- is that guerillas win if they simply remain in existence.  This site lists more than 383 armed guerilla groups extant in the world today. Clearly all of them exist and just clearly not all of them are triumphant. There are, for instance 27 armed guerilla groups in India, 9 in Britain (the most famous of which is the Irish Republican Army) and 11 in the United States. Yet no one asks whether it is premature to declare the Westminster Parliament in control of the Northern Ireland or wonder whether Los Matcheteros will take over the Washington DC. And the reason is simple: while the IRA and Los Matcheteros are still likely to exist in 2010, there is little or no chance that these organizations will seize state power in all or even part of Britain or the United States. Seizing state power over a definite territory is the explicit objective of nearly every guerilla armed force in the world today: if they can achieve that, they win. If they cannot achieve that and have no realistic prospect of ever achieving that, they are defeated, however long they may continue to exist.

Guerilla leaders themselves know this and invariably attempt to create a state-in-waiting in the course of their campaign based on an armed force, a united front of allies willing to support the guerilla's political objectives and a hard leadership core in firm control of both. They also attempt to create micro-states in the course of insurgency usually styled "base areas" or "liberated zones". Political influence, combat capability and territorial control are the real metrics of a successful guerilla campaign. The argument that mere existence or avoidance of defeat constitutes victory is hogwash: both the IRA and the Red Hand Commandos exist, but clearly the IRA is the more successful guerilla organization because it has a national united front, some combat capability and hard and diverse leadership core where the Red Hand Commandos do not. Even Al Qaeda, which some claim to be a creature of pure thought has sought to control territory in Afghanistan and spread its influence through Islamic "charities" while under the control of a central group of militants. It was, in other words, no different from any other classic guerilla organization.

While the Iraqi insurgents still retain the capability to kill significant numbers of people they are almost total losers by the traditional metric of guerilla warfare. First of all, by attacking civilians of every ethnic group and vowing to resubjugate the majority ethnic groups in the country they have at a stroke made creating a national united front against the United States a near impossibility. Second, there is a battle for supremacy among the insurgent leaders. The New York Times (hat tip: DL) reports:

Late Sunday night, American marines watching the skyline from their second-story perch in an abandoned house here saw a curious thing: in the distance, mortar and gunfire popped, but the volleys did not seem to be aimed at them. In the dark, one spoke in hushed code words on a radio, and after a minute found the answer. "Red on red," he said, using a military term for enemy-on-enemy fire. ... "There is a rift," said the official, who requested anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the talks he had held. "I'm certain that the nationalist Iraqi part of the insurgency is very much fed up with the Jihadists grabbing the headlines and carrying out the sort of violence that they don't want against innocent civilians."

In that context, the battlefield victories of the US Armed Forces and its coalition allies are not the empty triumphs the press sometimes represents them to be but expressions of the complete strategic bankruptcy of the insurgency. No national united front; no united hard core of leadership; no victorious armed force. This in addition to no territory and increasingly, no money and what is there left? Well there is the ability to kill civilians and to avoid being totally exterminated by the Coalition; but that is not insurgent victory nor even the prospect of victory.

When Austin Bay, upon returning to Baghdad after the absence of a year notes that "the Baghdad of June 2005 is not the Baghdad I left in September 2004" because:

It was the first time I saw independently deployed Iraqi forces. Now, I see senior Iraqi officers in the hallways of Al Faw Palace conducting operational liaison with U.S. and coalition forces. I hear reports of the Iraqi Army conducting independent street-clearing and neighborhood search operations. Brigadier Gen. Karl Horst of US Third Infantry Division told me about an Iraqi battalion's success on the perennially challenging Haifa Street.

it is not an irrelevant anecdotal fact. It is an observation that the new Iraqi government increasingly has a national united front; control of territory and an ever more potent army at its disposal. This condition has a name, although it may be irresponsible to use it.


Blogger David L said...

The war may indeed be over. A guerilla movement can only hope to defeat the willingness, but not the ability, of occupying force, the they free Iraqi or allied.

This guerilla war is incapble of winning the hearts and minds of the populace, who have increasingly become the targets of the guerillas.

Terror attacks on civilians do not win wars. Look at Adolf Hitler. Look at the Palestinians. Car bombs are a bloody nuisance. They not decisive.

6/23/2005 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

At the end of the American Civil War, there were Southerners who wanted to continue the cause as guerillas. General Lee, being a gentleman of honor, opposed such activity on priciple. The Ku Klux Klan, founded by Nathan Bedford Forrest in 1866, can be seen as the guerilla force that continued the struggle by other means.

Since the Klan is still around, albeit in an attenuated form, are we not obliged to view the Civil War as an ongoing "quagmire"?

Wretchard, thanks for bringing lucidity and common sense to some of the topics floating around toady.

6/23/2005 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

This is only a campaign victory. There's still a long way to go.

But for the moment, let's just be satisfied that the short term goals for this conflict have been achieved. Namely what Wretchard has pointed out.

Not that it'll stop the shrill voices of defeatism.


6/23/2005 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

The terrorists will be still be blowing themselves up in over a dozen different countries in ten years, just like they do now. Wretchard puts this in perspective--it is the control of the country and the allegiance of the people that matters.

Leftists in the western world ally themselves with terrorists in a most sentimental manner. Thus they make themselves doubly the loser, given the massive decline in appeal of their own ideology.

6/23/2005 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

W, in ref to al quada you write: "It was, in other words, no different from any other classic guerilla organization."
was the 'was' intentional?? If so, would you explain? cheers.

6/23/2005 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

wretched, did not the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan fit all the criteria you mentioned regarding the Iraqi insurgency? Yet the Soviets left...they lost. How is the Iraqi situation different then the Afghani one?

6/23/2005 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Great post, Wretchard! Ahh, the smell of victory in the morning!

Meanwhile, in a very different sense, the America-loving Democratic "leadership" is declaring another piece of the war over.

Nancy Pelosi says war in Afghanistan is over

Of course, Pelosi is only arguing this as the basis for freeing the poor detainees at Gitmo.

"I assume that the war in Afghanistan is over, or is the contention that you have that it continues?" she said to a reporter.
A few moments later, she said: "This isn't about the duration of the war. The war in Afghanistan is over."

And, of course ...

"The war to remove the Taliban government from power was over in 2001 and the president has said the mission was a success," said Jennifer Crider, Mrs. Pelosi's press secretary.
She said President Bush's failure to prosecute the war there, and his effort to go to war in Iraq, have complicated the conflict in Afghanistan.
"One of the main reasons that our troops continue to be attacked by al Qaeda and Taliban fighters today is because President Bush decided to invade Iraq, diverting critical resources needed to secure Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the demands of the war in Iraq have made the job of our brave troops in Afghanistan much more difficult," the spokeswoman said.


6/23/2005 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...


The resistance the Soviets faced in Afghanistan had a very powerful ally helping them. Just like the North had in Nam. Who do the dead-enders have in Iraq now?

6/23/2005 06:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I would say the Insurgents are receiving assistance from the Governments of Syria and Iran as well as individual Saudi Arabians, if not portions of their Government.
While this assistance is not on the scale of Soviet aid in either Nam or Afghanistan, it does exist and could be considered hostile to our goals.
The Iraqis will be up and running much quicker than expected. I always chuckle at the purported omnipotence of the Opfor and the ineptness of our Allies. Just the opposite is usually the case.

6/23/2005 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Nice observations--it also makes me wonder what the point of belaboring the supposed lynch-pin of the "quagmire" theory is (that is, that, as a Marine commander recently said, "when I kill one I create three") when obviously it applies at least equally to Iraqis killed by car bombs. Is it not also the case, based on the same logic, that the slaughtered civilians' loved ones form a commensurate hatred against the jihadis/insurgents? Or are to believe that the victims of the car bombs are likely to take the left-liberal tack and conclude, rather philosophically, that it was really the fault of the US invasion and occupation, that motivated these thugs? Seems unlikely.

That, Ash, may be the answer to your "what is the difference between the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and this war?" The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan became a war of annihilation against the Afghan people, and the Soviets intended to annex the country. There were no Afghan mujahadin killing their own for the purpose of pushing the Soviets out; they attempted to kill the Soviets, in order to push them out. And they were backed by the USA and had support from Arab financiers and freeboot fighters backed by Gulf oil money. Evidently these were welcome as fellow Muslims--and they could use all the help they could get against the ruinous Russian army. Iraq, however, has a healthy Arab suspicion against its neighbors in the way that tribes fear and suspect their neighbors. That Syria and Iran and Saudi Arabia and Palestine support those who car bomb their loved ones can hardly redound to their credit--unless this meta-narrative of anti-colonial, anti-US sentiment truly trumps all. The evidence suggests this is a left-liberal fantasy and form of projection, however.

6/23/2005 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As to Pelosi, this is just the beginning of the "Well We've Won, Let's Come Home" campaign. It will grow louder with each coming indig Afghan or Iraqi success.
By December the drum beat will be insatiable. As more and more people decide that we've won this battle front, there will be continued calls to withdraw in Victory.

The Administration needs to Publicly define both the Enemy and the conditions that constitute Victory, or the War on Terror will be over. Prematurely and well short of our initial goals.

6/23/2005 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Incidentally, how many ground invasion troops can one carrier battle group provide?

Reading a great book now called "The Great Game," throughout which many examples of gunboat diplomacy occur.

Presuming we are able substantially draw down our quasi-permanent force in Iraq to a 30,000 combat troop rump force, I wonder what the cost and feasability would be of preserving a ground invasion force in the sea capable of rapidly striking and holding parts of Iran (mainly its key ports).

Apropos of the guerrila problem in Iraq, isn't it safe to presume that the coming military strike will be designed with the same direct/indirect strategic goal in mind, namely to bring down three regimes by means of physically taking down only one? Barbara Lerner in this morning's NRO advocates bombing runs along the Syria/Iraq border at Qaim and deep strikes into Syrian and Lebanese territory at training camps. These seem like half-measures that would insure an enormous increase in diplomatic/political cover for the terrorists. That was the point of going to the UN, however weak that turned out to be. I guess the special forces option of "going in and sowing chaos and blowing stuff up" would probably be useful to some extent, mainly as an irritant and a plausibly-deniable escalation to demonstrate our seriousness, but I hope someone's devising a way to bring decisive strikes, Osirak style, agsinst the Persian and Syrian regimes' willingness to continue this painful exercise in futility.

And then we can deal with the Saudis. Damn inconvenient that Mecca and Medina happen to be on the greatest proven reserves of sweet light crude eh?

6/23/2005 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Harrywr2 said...

The "Kill one create three" meme was a quote from a commander in Mosul. He also went on to say that the intelligience gleaned from captured insurgents was of great benefit. Of course, our great MSM has a knack for turning an intelligient discussion of strategy(relying on intelligience driven arrests rather than crushing force.) into a "we are losing" story.

6/23/2005 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger jrobb1 said...

Victory! Bring the boys home!

6/23/2005 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

There is another thing that puzzles me about your analysis wretched and that is the notion that the insurgents do not control any territory. They seem to control all the territory where the US army is not. The US moves in, the insurgents simply leave or blend in to the population. In fact, it appears, they simply live there (aside from the relatively low numbers of foreign Jihadists). As soon as the US soldiers move on, they pick up again.

6/23/2005 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Monty said...

I've said it before: I'm not sure we'll be able to say that we "won" this war for many years, perhaps decades.

We have already won a military victory -- every time the terrorists try to face the Coalition troops in stand-up combat, they get crushed. They have no centralized power bases, and their only tactical successes come with the slaughter of innocent civilians via IEDs and suicide bombers. The terrorists do not even have a unified ideology or political goal -- there is a mix of foreign islamists, domestic islamists, former regime elements, and plain old common criminals contending in the Sunni Triangle.

What we see in Iraq right now is gang warfare writ large. The Islamists might be compared to the "Bloods", while the former Ba'athist regime elements are the "Crips". And you have a host of other groups, loose affiliates and bitter enemies, splinter factions, tribal groups, gangsters and thugs.

The U.S. cannot "win" this battle via military action alone. If that were the metric, we could indeed declare victory and go home: our military is basically undefeatable in any conventional sense. But if we define victory in a broader political sense -- a free and democratic Iraq -- then we must adjust our sights out ten or fifteen years.

We must also recognize (and our government must admit) that this is a *regional* war, not an Iraqi war. Military action against Syria, Iran, and possibly Saudi Arabia is going to be necessary sooner or later to quell the violence in Iraq. We cannot "win" in a political sense until the external threats to Iraq are neutralized.

6/23/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

re baron bodissey's comments on the Klan: to a large extent, they won their political objectives, which were to relegate the freed blacks to non-voting serfs, drive out the northern carpetbaggers, and re-establish defacto white rule. This lasted until the 1950's, to a large extent.

The objectives of the Iraqi insurgents probably are as varied as the number of competing factions.

Some (the Al-Q jihaadists) want to tie the US down and bleed us, meanwhile using the conflict to agitate people in the Islamic world and help with fundraising

Others (the Ba'athists), probably want a return of at least some of their prior power and privileged status, and are hoping to force the Iraqi govt to buy peace with them.

Still others are mercenaries paid by Syria and Iran (and I suspect China as well) who want to keep the gravy train rolling. they will continue to be paid as long as it is seen as a way to keep the US too busy in Iraq to deal with the other problem children in the world

6/23/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/23/2005 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

Scoblete makes 2 test for "victory," (B) that within a relatively short time (months) things will be calmer and (A) that troops can be drawn down.

You are unable to read these remarks despite the fact that they are clearly marked and claim by "Scoblete's standards" any guerilla movement has confounded these criteria.

Not true. We simply do not know how the situation will develop. Your predictions taking back 2 years of imminent defeat have been consistently wrong. If you were in a position of responsibility you would be demoted for not only failure of prediction, but failure to correct your methods. Instead you delete the archives and try to remove the record.

2 months ago we had hope that one of Scoblete's criteria was being fulfilled. Attacks were reduced and increasingly on softer targets. The last month they've escalated and the number of attacks on hard targets (US troops) has increased.

Whether this is temporary or not, we don't know.

What we do know is that at the end of 1967 the government announced there was clearly "light at the end of the tunnel," it was claimed that the enemy was unable to launch a major offensive. A little later Tet came. Despite nearly complete demoloishment of NLF ground forces and heavy pounding of NVA forces this was not percieved as a US victory.


Because the US had implied the enemey was incapable of such a thing.

Do not celebrate victory until you have it.

6/23/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger karrde said...

baron bodissey--excellent question.

I was just paging through the first few chapters of John Grisham's The Chamber, which hints at the terror sowed by the Klan in 1967, and their impotence in 1980.

When did the Klan's insurrection/terror war fail?

Was there a precise moment when the Klan's influence was no longer decisive in state/national politics? Or was there a "high-water-mark", after which all Klan activity was effectively defensive and reactive?

All of these questions can be mapped over into questions about the Iraq insurgency, with a few caveats:

(a) The Iraq insurgency doesn't have a single, focused ideology and a coherent set of goals.
(b) The Iraq insurgency has lots of outsiders among it. (The Klansmen were almost all native to their Theater of Operations, and used that fact to great advantage for a century.)

6/23/2005 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Fresh Air said...


Why can't you make a post without referring to your host as "Wretched"? It's not really funny, and it's certainly not appropriate. I would have banned you three times over by now if this was my site. That Wretchard has extended his forebearance in the face of such discurteous behavior is testament to his gentlemanliness. You should take a lesson from him.

6/23/2005 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I will consider the war on terror to be over when the Saudi's hand over the keys to their oil wells.

Until then, pulling out of Iraq is preparatory to taking the next step in the Allah-forsaken part of the globe. I don't think we'll be "bringing the boys (and girls) home" by Christmas, by October 2006, or perhaps even in this decade.

Personally, I think the next step will be Iran, but if Dubya chooses KSA first, I can get behind that, too. Baby Assad is in over his head and I think will implode on his own with minimal amounts of tugging, but we *must* do something about the Mad Mullah's, and Saudi Arabia is still funding the rest of the terrorists, so we *must* do something about them, too.

Iraq is close to being able to stand on its own, so we can begin to withdraw. But that neither means that the WOT is won, nor that the troops will be coming home.

6/23/2005 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Guerilla wars take decades to conclude. On that time scale we are only in a position to comment on events that concluded years ago. But in the temporal reality of the moment, success can be measured on more concrete terms. Regardless of the diplomatic posturing, the clear intent inside Washington building up to the war was regime change and on that account “Mission Accomplished” rings correct. Characterizing the 3rd IDs ‘thunder run’ into Baghdad as a ‘cake walk’ is little more than bravado expected of such brave exploits. There were those who poo-pooed the term ‘shock and awe’ because the tempo of air strikes and wide area of operations neither shocked nor awed the casual observer, but I suppose if one were the enemy command attempting to marshal resources and mount an effective counter strike, shock and awe would have rightly described the depressing stupor they must have felt.

Lefties at WOC and David have criticized Belmonters for serially declaring victory in the war when in fact that victory in a series of battles from Falluja 2 and on were clearly evident. What is the ultimate victory? When we are at last sitting on the right side of God in heaven? In no case has the ‘insurgents’ managed to fight the US forces to a standstill. No community of innocents have been taken hostage. The signs are that the civilian population is becoming increasingly confident of coalition forces and shows some optimism of the eventual outcome.

We just recently pulled out of Bosnia after 9 years of ‘occupation’. Was that a victory. Do the David Bennetts of the world care? Where were the calls to pull out of Bosnia sooner? Did not the Clinton administration make comments like they’ll be back home before Christmas?

As far as the ‘insurgents’ flowing back into places the US forces have recently left, there will be less of them to do so and the Iraqi forces will be able to ferret them out with time. Meanwhile the will of the US military to prosecute terrorists and their willing allies remains strong. Iraq, the world’s largest aircraft carrier, will remain as an alternative to KSA and UAE as a forward base of operations for years to come.

Mission Accomplished.

6/23/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

my apologies, totally unintentional, really! wretchard it is.

6/23/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


Chester writes about mobility of force, continuous contact and decisive battles being part of the American Way of War.

By stopping at the Borders and "Huckerin' Down", the Public lost the feeling of Momentum and the Will to continue.

Either it's "Bring It On"
& "Let's Roll"
or "Bring 'em Home"
& "We Won This One"

The Marines and Army are not the tools we should be using to build roads and schools, either in Iraq or the US. We shouldrRedesign the Peace Corps to fill that kind of need, in the future.
Use our Combat Power for just that purpose...Combat

6/23/2005 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...


I think the real evidence, and perhaps the very first evidence, of the terrorists failure in Iraq is the detritus of their occupation. In every single instance the terrorists have implemented the most awesomely insane and restrictive interpretations of sharia law imaginable. In every single instance terrorists, Islamofacists by creed, have shown themselves completely incapable of actually **ruling** any city or area. In every single instance the rule of law breaks down, theft and murder becomes rampant and commerce halts completely.

There is no scenario possible where such incompetence can succeed. Any possible success, i.e. the takeover of any significant city or area, invariably ends up destroying the usefulness of that city or area.

All that remains is teaching the Iraq people that coddling terrorists, or being afraid of them, doesn't work. That the only good terrorist is a dead one.

A lesson they are learning every day.

6/23/2005 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

War is a political exercise and victory will be arguable when we have successful completed our politic objectives.

Victory in Iraq has no relationship at all to a successful 'crusade' against radical Islam.

It doesn't require the elimination of the insurgency, it only requires that the Iraqi government accept responsibility for the security of Iraq.

It also has no relationship to a complete withdrawal of US forces. The Iraqi government may request and receive military assistance for an undefined period which may last decades or longer.

I think many on this board believe that we embarked on a 'crusade' that will be victorious only when Islamic fascism is defeated.

Desert rat complains often that the War on Terrorism lacks definition. It doesn't lack definition at all. The 'War on Terrorism' is a general term describing the expenditure of energy in an attempt to contain STATE sponsored terrorism by Islamic Fascists hostile to our government.

We were at war with a Baathist regime in Iraq, and the Taliban in Afganistan.

6/23/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

David said:

...Terror attacks on civilians do not win wars.

...Yep, look at London in 1940, or Hamburg in 1943. It just made population more determined...

6/23/2005 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

The Iraqi government may request and receive military assistance for an undefined period which may last decades or longer.

Exactly. Look at NATO. Don't see too many people complaining about that. Look at Okinawa and Yokohama. Don't see too many people complaining about those either.

6/23/2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Sorry for the spam, I hope that my vigorous posting here has allowed me some wiggle room regarding tooting my horn. I thought it was interesting to post contrasting remarks by Chuck Hagel opposite of Karl's piece. See that piece here.

Chuck Hagel believes the war is lost. It is sort of fun to see the contrasting statements side by side.

Sorry if this offends and if it does then I wont do it again.

Pierre Legrand

6/23/2005 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Looks like Hagel's positioning himself to pull a Nixonian "peace with honor" platform in his presidential campaign. Not only is this depressing (although easily guessed considering his appearances on liberal twerp Stephenopolous' little ABC Sunday Morning show), it's also annoying, because that's what Biden will be saying (I presume).

Which leaves Rudy as the pro-war candidate. I wonder how he'll fare. Still 3 years away, which leaves a lot of room for events, but one wonders what Hagel's "we lost!" is all about. Even those who say we're losing don't say that. Droopy bastard.

6/23/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"By stopping at the Borders and "Huckerin' Down", the Public lost the feeling of Momentum and the Will to continue.
41 and 43

6/23/2005 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

A few moments later, she said:
"This isn't about the duration of the war. The war in Afghanistan is over."
Is anyone in the United States of America stupider than Nancy Pelosi?

6/23/2005 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

tells us the WoT goal is to defeat state sponsored terrorists.
"...The 'War on Terrorism' is a general term describing the expenditure of energy in an attempt to contain STATE sponsored terrorism by Islamic Fascists hostile to our government. ..."

Obviously this is untrue.
Many Terrorist Groups & States recieve a pass.
Hezbollah and Hamas are both State Sponsored terror orginizations. The Sudan is an Islamic Terror State engaged in Genocide, which by any definition is Terror. Iran and Syria are both States that Sponsor Terrorism, but we are not engaged in hostilities with either. All of the above mentioned are engaged in covert support of AQ, both in Iraq and around the Globe.
For US the WoT is centered in Iraq, George Bush has said that more than once. Victory in Iraq will be the End of the WoT. Not that it should be, just that it will be.

Yeah, there will be Status of Force agreements and what not, but the War will be done.

6/23/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/23/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The magazine said Saddam told his guards that when the Americans invaded Iraq in March 2003, he "tried to flee in a taxicab as the tanks were rolling in," and U.S. planes struck the palace he was trying to reach instead of the one he was in.

"Then he started laughing," recalled Reese. "He goes, `America, they dumb. They bomb wrong palace.'"
Saddam Pelosi?

6/23/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

I know little about military affairs. Having said that, it seems to me that Iraq is part of a much bigger picture -- the fact that the psychotic subset of the Islamic world is in a position, given enough time to organize, to kill Americans where they live by the tens and perhaps soon by the hundreds of thousands. Iraq is supposed to be a vehicle to prevent that from happening, from what I can tell, both by tying down and killing jihadis over there instead of over here and by giving Arabs and Muslims the possibility of a different, sane, consensually governed future.

In that framework, it seems to me that these are some key questions:

1. Does what is happening in Iraq - the car bombs, IEDs and the like - decrease the ability of the jihadis to coalesce and expand their capacities to harm the U.S.? Are they a weaker force because of Iraq? A subsidiary question is whether they control or will control territory. One of the major drawbacks of ceding Afghanistan to the jihadis was the ability it gave them to plan attacks unmolested.

I find it hard to believe the people car-bombing mosques and the like could ever rule Iraq through such tactics, but does the battle of Iraq increase the cohesion and effectiveness of jihadi combat capability even without that?

2. Is Iraq effective in decreasing the appeal of the jihad elsewhere? Or the opposite?

3. Is what we get out of Iraq with respect to the above criteria worth what we lose, both in moral terms and in terms of tying down seemingly large amounts of combat power?

I confess I do not know, but if anyone has any light to shed on these matters (or can think of better questions) I would appreciate hearing what they have to say.

6/23/2005 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Why do you guys persist with the fiction that this is a war against terrorism being fought in Iraq? Sure some terror groups are operating there but the majority of the fight is simply to try to control Iraq. The GWoT is a completely different war....which really isn't a war unless you consider the War on Drugs to be a war in the traditional sense.

6/23/2005 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...


"Why do you guys persist with the fiction that this is a war against terrorism being fought in Iraq?"

1. Where are all the terrorists fighting?
2. Where are all the terrorists dying?
3. Where are all the terrorists being caught?

6/23/2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Because the war on terror is a strategic puzzle, not a straightforward shot, Ash. We must preserve some semblance of order, including international legal order. Thus, we had a clear casus belli in Afghanistan because of their support for Al Qaeda and their rogue-state status (only 2 states had recognized the Taliban government; that's one reason they are illegal combatants). We had a clear casus belli--though a very contested one--against Iraq with their unfulfilled treaty obligations, decade of sanctions and UN resolutions, and failure to satisfy even the most anti-war parties in the final hour. Now we face the problem of having no outstanding, globally-acknowledged beef with any of the principle terror master countries--Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and some African countries (leaving out intermeddlers like Russia and China). So it merely looks like a war against Iraq for the strategy-impaired: because the strategy is take them ALL down. First and foremost, however, we have to do it in a way least likely to constitute a general war. That's what's happening now; that's what the subtext to the Iran crisis is; that's what the subtext to all the Syria-goading is. This is all for the sake of laying the ground open for a reasonable use of force--or, in the best case, that the reasonable pretext for the use of force causes those governments to lose their will, or for their long-suffering people to be emboldened. Now we surround Iran; we border Iraq; we're a stone's throw from the Saudi oil fields; we're officially friendly with Pakistan; and we ARE trying to create an independent, democratic government in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lebanon has swung our way. Israel is trying to extricate itself from Gaza, with the West Bank to follow. Generally, the plan is going very well. Distracting everyone with car bombs and other crap, however tragic it is, is what we're all mad at the MSM for. Note also that those attacks are characterized as an inexorable result of US action--with the imputation that we, not the bombers, are to blame. And that is Leninism. And so on.

6/23/2005 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/23/2005 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

Re: Chuck Hagel...

I'm sorry to admit I hail from the land of Droopy. I voted for the bastard twice. I will now devote as much gold and effort as I can to see to it he returns to the private sector.

Hagel is a perfect example of the struggle between the opposing camps of attrition warfare vs. 4G warfare. Hagel comes from the deep tradition (shared by Colin Powell) of Vietnamophobia. Rather than learning the lessons of Vietnam and adapting, these knuckleheads advocate status quo to avoid the potential of getting involved in difficult foreign involvement.

In other words: difficult foreign intervention = Vietnam = we're gonna lose it.

Thus Hagel, as a Vietnam combat veteran, oughta know that massive deployment doesn't necessarily play out into victory over insurgents. But, Hagel as Vietnamophobe, advocates the 6 to 1 policy.

Similarly, Hagel also oughta know the power of MSM to incubate a defeatist attitude, eventually losing a winning cause. But, as a Vietnamophobe, he can't believe that the US is capable of winning anything but wars of attrition, and therefore he spouts the MSM-friendly "we're losing" mantra.

Further, politics trumps all. Chuckie sees a President in the mirror, and the only way for a sad sack Nebraskan to make his play on the national stage is to prostitute himself for face time on the Sunday news mags.

Hence, Hagel is more than ready to publicly bemoan the cause as a means of looking like a wise and free-thinking Presidential candidate.

God, I hate that guy...

6/23/2005 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

well said, dan

6/23/2005 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

strike that "border iraq" clause. my bad.

6/23/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Heyhey--thanks rat.

Ash, is all this making sense to you? In order to get some sense of the picture and how I think most of us see it, read a book about one large empire--Roman, Ottoman, Chinese, whatever--and pay attention to the way the maps change as you progress through the narrative. You'll see that sometimes in order to affect the color of a very big part of a map, an army only has to do a very small thing in one little corner of the map. It's difficult to make inferences, but it's much easier once you have some sense of how it works. And it takes a long time. For example it took Rome 35 years of warfare or so to secure Greece as its protectorate--but then when the Goths sacked Athens in 350 something AD they were especially astonished because the city had not known war for 400 years--which is to say, since the victory of Rome over some local tyrants. Saying that these things, these wars, accomplish nothing is just completely 100% backwards: little between nations is ever settled but through warfare. Did you see the latest poll somewhere that a majority of Germans are still pissed that they lost parts of Poland in the post WWII settlements? WHAT!? But these things persist. None of us, I'd bet, believe our predictions or analyses are 1000% accurate; one think I love about Belmont is we all seem to have a healthy respect for the contingencies of historical evolution. But neither does it do one any good to wallow in ambiguity and succumb to the anxiety that necessarily arises from the slow pace of things, because that will lead to defeat. We must beat ass. Lots of it.

6/23/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

Why do you guys persist with the fiction that this is a war against terrorism being fought in Iraq? Sure some terror groups are operating there but the majority of the fight is simply to try to control Iraq.

Because the terrorists chose to make it the battleground is the best answer I can come up with.

A policy of regime change based on the non-compliance with the articles of the armistice and resulting cease-fire of the Gulf War was well within our legal rights under international law.

When the terrorists moved in it was they who made Iraq the next front in the GWOT.

The GWoT is a completely different war....which really isn't a war unless you consider the War on Drugs to be a war in the traditional sense.

This is the fundamental wrong thinking of the Left. The War on Drugs is a law enforcement action. The GWOT is a military action.

The purpose of the War on Drugs (aside from interdiction) is to capture and prosecute the principals.

The purpose of the GWOT is to kill terrorists. Capturing them, when it happens, is not for the purpose of bringing them before courts, but to extract intelligence. That intelligence is for the purpose of killing more terrorists.

See the difference?

6/23/2005 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Storminator said...

I think the WoT will expand into Syria next. We've done a number of operations on the Syrian border to control the influx of jihadis. As the Iraqi civilian authority expands to fill western Iraq, it will become increasingly apparent that to pacify the staging ground for terror attacks in Iraq, action will have to be taken in Syria.

And the Iraqi people will be pretty fed up with Syria by then.

And Iraq will invade Syria.

6/23/2005 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Is anyone in the United States of America stupider than Nancy Pelosi?

I nominate Michael Moore and/or Jimmy Carter. Actually, Jimmy Carter as Stupidest, since Michael Moore seems to have hunkered down and shut up lately.

Evan said: "...worth what we lose, both in moral terms ..."

I do hope I'm mis-reading this, and Evan did not mean to infer that as long as we are fighting terrorists, we are losing some sort of Evan-defined morality.

6/23/2005 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger TallDave said...

The metric for victory is NOT peace. It's controlling the country.

Peace would be nice, but it's not a prerequisite. Israel still suffers violence, but no one argues they have "won" control of the country,

6/23/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger TallDave said...

have not*

6/23/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Dan, so the plan is basically going well and this plan is to expand the American Empire. The terrorism aspect is really a red herring and it is the domination of the whole region that we seek. Light Sweet Crude being the Casus Belli?

Am I reading you correctly?

6/23/2005 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ash repeat after me: "I will not troll; I will learn in silence."

That is all.

6/23/2005 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Dan, I am not trolling. Let me pull quotes from what you wrote to support my synopsis.

"Because the war on terror is a strategic puzzle, not a straightforward shot, Ash."

"Now we face the problem of having no outstanding, globally-acknowledged beef with any of the principle terror master countries--Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and some African countries (leaving out intermeddlers like Russia and China). So it merely looks like a war against Iraq for the strategy-impaired: because the strategy is take them ALL down."

"This is all for the sake of laying the ground open for a reasonable use of force"

"read a book about one large empire--Roman, Ottoman, Chinese, whatever--and pay attention to the way the maps change as you progress through the narrative. You'll see that sometimes in order to affect the color of a very big part of a map, an army only has to do a very small thing in one little corner of the map."

So, I think I read you right on the Empire part. But now to terrorism. Why this region in particular? Terrorism exists in many places. Wretchard wrotes quite a bit about the Phillipines for example. Why are we so concerned with this particular region? I think the answer is simple, the oil resources and the power it brings. The terrorism is just a side issue, an excuse, the real prize lies in all that power to be had through control of the region and the oil that lies beneath.

6/23/2005 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Ash, the war in Iraq is not part of the war on Terror it is indeed the central front. Saddam learned well from his Soviet masters the art of plausible denialibilty by using terrorists. This is a well known tactic that nearly every powerful nation has used but its even more relevent for the less powerful against the more powerful...especially in todays climate, with people like you voting. See they attack your will by using terrorists while allowing you the fiction that those terrorists are stateless and therefor out of reach. Freeing politicians like Clinton from the responsibility of acting when the terrorists strike.

When the Soviet Union fell it became widely known that nearly all of the radical gangs that were parading around Europe as Revolutionaries were indeed paid for by the Soviets. It allowed them to screw with our countries on one hand while on the other allowing those who wished to believe that nonsense that they were peaceful.

Lets review Saddams ties to terror.
1. Saddam warned us of his ability to send individual terrorists to attack us even though his armies werent strong enough to reach us if we were so bold as to stop his invasion of Kuwait. This is a matter of record provided by his own Foreign Service.
2. Saddam attempted to murder President Bush using a car bomb
3. Saddam attempted to hire Islamic Fundementalists to blow up Radio Free Europe located in Prague. Atta was mixed up in this plot since he was a connection to said radicals.
4. Saddam held terror get togethers where all sorts of terrorist would get together to pledge their support to fighing the Infidels and where Saddam was called the Great Warrior.

This list is only those items which are confirmed beyond a shadow of doubt. Then we have the credible links to the 93 WTC and his links to Atta and the Anthrax attacks.

To claim as many try to that Saddam was not linked to terror is the sort of thing that only an incompetent government could do.

Pierre Legrand

6/23/2005 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...


Ash, this is old ground babe. You'll have to go back through my other posts if you care to hear my answer on those questions. But, just for example, if it isn't clear to you that Islamic terrorism is real, there's not really much I can do to convince you, is there? Yeah--it's about oil. All this d*cking around, when we already apparnetly run the world, is because we're trying to fool people. Wow. We are sneaky. Do you know how cheap that intellectual frisson is that you seem to love so much in your conspiracy theories? C'mon. The real world is much more interesting and gratifying.

Anyway, it's hard to believe you make your posts in good faith, and thus hard to see why I should keep responding to you, so good luck in your endeavors. I'm late for class.

6/23/2005 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

From nahncee:

I do hope I'm mis-reading this, and Evan did not mean to infer that as long as we are fighting terrorists, we are losing some sort of Evan-defined morality.

That's not really what I meant. I was thinking primarily of the combat deaths. If what our nation gets from that sacrifice (and from the strains on our military more generally) is worth it, then of course it is a bitter price we (or, more properly, our armed forces) must pay.

So is it? As I said before, from a strictly military/strategic perspective I am simply trying to plumb people's minds on the likely outcomes of the battle of Iraq.

6/23/2005 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

That’s an old canard Ash. Nice try. There is indeed terrorism in the Philippines, but mostly since the US was asked, nicely, to leave. We have had a fight with Saddam since the early nineties and the cessation of hostilities there was violated by Saddam himself.
Afghanistan is not about oil, nor was Bosnia, Kosovo, or Somalia. Your tired rhetoric cannot think out of the Marxist box. Stalinists such as yourself were anti-Nazi in the early 1930’s, then quickly tacked to pro-Nazi when the Soviets made a pact with Germany. You have no ideals. You hate America because that is what your Marxist handlers have told you to do. You are a boorish prat and a troll.

Quit making an Ash of yourself.

6/23/2005 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger KeithM, Indy said...

Some people and their myopia. One has to wonder if it is willfull blindness on their part, or a successfull strategy of moving the focus to Iraq, so that the Secret Warriors can operate in secret.

President Bush has said that the war in Iraq is a "central front" in the GWOT. This does not imply that it is the ONLY front, just a main front. And seeing as how terrorists are flocking there, mostly to die or be captured by American forces, I'd have to agree with the assessment.

But then where are the other fronts in the GWOT.

Pretty much anywhere the US Military currently (or recently) has troops stationed to either directly seek and engage the enemy, or train local forces to directly seek and engage the enemy, is a front in this war.

Other fronts include where ever the US is sending aid, and trying to improve relations with other countries.

The GWOT is a multi-front war, in which all our available resources must be engaged. Diplomatic, humanitarian, financial, and military. If you'ld read the National Security Strategy, and gotten past the words "pre-emptive" you'ld know this already.

Success will come when terrorist sponsoring states no longer sponsor terrorists capable of launching international strikes against the United States or it's national interests. That is the end state desired in the GWOT.

Other military fronts include Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

6/23/2005 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


You asked "What is the likely outcome of our war in Iraq" (to paraphrase). I think of Iraq as the sideshow. The locus of our enemy is in Riyadh. We are now within one weeks motormarch of the wasp's nest. When completion of the rebuilding of the Iraqi fields has been achieved - in another year or so - Iraq can take Arabia's place as 'swing supplier'. Until Iraq is capable of doing so, the danger to the world economy is such that burning out the wasp's nest is not a feasible solution.

The "strength of the insurgence" is dependent upon the flow of money from the whoreHouse of Saud. They are currently in the position of having lost but they have not surrendered. They will.

6/23/2005 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As anyone that has ever read Frank Herbert knows the driving force of civilization come down to a single phrase...
"The Spice Must Flow"

For anyone to think we would allow our entire civilization to be held hostage by a bunch of Bedouin camel breeders is comical.

6/23/2005 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I am not trolling.
America, they dumb.

6/23/2005 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger N. O'Brain said...

Darn, you must be reading my mind!

"...the complete strategic bankruptcy of the insurgency."

My thought is that IEDs and suicide bombs are a sign of desperation, not a sign of triumph.

6/23/2005 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan resembled the classic losing position of a government facing a successful guerilla movement: the French against the Viet Minh in 1954. The Mujahedin had a superpower sponsor; they had safe havens in Pakistan; there were large areas in Afghanistan where Soviet troops could simply not go. But most important, the Afghan government did not represent any significant and stable sector of the population. Consider the constrast with Iraq. The current government consists in large part of Shi'ites and Kurds who, if the insurgency won, would be resubjugated. That is in fact the programe of Zarqawi (see my earlier posts for direct quotes). In other words, the insurgency is fighting for the antebellum status, the restoration of the ancien regime. Certainly its ex-Saddamite collaborators are aiming for that.

The Mujahedin held many Russian soldiers prisoner, confined the Soviet forces to garrisons and annhilated entire parachute regiments -- like the French.

Frankly Ash, there is no resemblance.

6/23/2005 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


"The insurgents seem to control all territory where the US Army is not." At the maximum, even granting your proposition, the insurgency does not control anything beyond certain portions of the Sunni areas. They don't control any part of the Shi'ite and Kurdish areas. So by your own logic, we can bound the insurgency's scope to Al Anbar and a few other provinces.

But even within this area they are being displaced by the Iraqi government. That's Austin Bay's point. The US forces are essentially a SWAT team hitting the insurgent hard core and supporting the Iraqi government forces.

There are two empirical facts which are counterexamples to your theory. The first was the elections. If the insurgents were everywhere and could influence everything, then why did the elections take place when they did everything to prevent it? Following onto that, why is the Iraqi constitution advancing to competion? The second fact is that US forces are declining in number while Iraqi government forces are correspondingly increasing. By your logic, the insurgents should control more and more territory, since the only part of Iraq the Coalition controls is whatever an American soldier is standing on. But this is not the case.

Of course, no amount of argument will convince you of the proposition that the insurgents can never regain Iraq again. Only events will persuade you and I am extremely confident that will be provided.

6/23/2005 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I find myself wondering why people feel the need to come here and bicker. Maybe they think they're the Thought Police.

We try to think positively, we seek alternatives to the chronic depression of the NYT, et. al. Is that a Thought Crime?

6/23/2005 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Policing Thought is a positive agenda.

6/23/2005 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Esp in the middle of a *Quagmire!*

6/23/2005 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Spc. Sean O'Shea, then 19, of Minooka, Pa., said Saddam later mellowed in that view.
"Towards the end, he was saying that he doesn't hold any hard feelings and he just wanted to talk to (George W.) Bush, to make friends with him," he told the magazine.
Too bad Rather isn't CIC.

6/23/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The ignorance of the citizenry is your strength.

6/23/2005 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

1984 Online

6/23/2005 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And I thought that was one of the first bits of wisdom for

"doug's little red book"

6/23/2005 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


Is the Filipines a source of terror? It isn't.

If Abu Sayyf gets crushed tomorrow then Qadafi, the Sauds, et al will be back in Mindanao looking for the next Robot or Global. If we put an end to the tyrranical regimes of the Middle East (after all hasn't the left for years considered typical Middle Eastern oppression the cause of terrorism?) and then put an end to Abu Sayff, what chances do you think there are Abu Sayyf comes back to life?

If I am fighting an oil fire I want to put the well-fire out before I put out the fire in the nearby shed.

6/23/2005 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

I think both we and the Iraqis have to recognize that the best they can hope for is a country that is fairly prosperous but in which shocking senseless violence perpetrated by terrorists is quite common and which is hated by its neighbors for both its difference and its success - neighbors which it can lick blindfolded with one hand tied behind its back on any day of the week from a standing flat-footed start. And a country which has as a friend, ally, and philosophical inspiration the most powerful and innovative nation in the history of the human race.
In other words, a country just like Israel.
I will be surprised if one day IDF and IAF tankers are not shaking hands in downtown Damascas.
May the new Iraqis be as hard to hold back as are the Israelies!

6/23/2005 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Right Doug,

Here's the relevant cite:

'You haven't a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston,' he said almost sadly. 'Even when you write it you're still thinking in Oldspeak. I've read some of those pieces that you write in The Times occasionally. They're good enough, but they're translations. In your heart you'd prefer to stick to Oldspeak, with all its vagueness and its useless shades of meaning. You don't grasp the beauty of the destruction of words. Do you know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year?'

Winston did know that, of course. He smiled, sympathetically he hoped, not trusting himself to speak. Syme bit off another fragment of the dark-coloured bread, chewed it briefly, and went on:

'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we're not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,' he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction. 'Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?'


Ps. Desert - I was trying to compare the bad guys in Iraq to say ... 20 Chinese Divisions coming across the Yalu River in Korea. Or, say the Soviet-armed NVA - those guys could shoot down our B-52's and Thud's! To compare the dead-enders in Iraq now to these former enemies is just silly.

6/23/2005 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Be careful to avoid defining victory by a given end-state; this leads, for example, to seeking to establish the workers' paradise(Russia), or trying to make people perfect(Islam).

We are better off defining victory by the establishment of a process, with the final outcome of that process undefined.

For me, the process I would like to see is democracy. So by my definition, we won in Iraq on Purple Finger day.

The mission now is to ensure that

1) Iraq does not regress;

2) Democracy spreads in ME and then to the rest of the world.

1) will require an Iraqi generation, (20 - 30 years)?

2) is already happening.

Terrorists? = Thugs who adopt a "cause" to justify blowing up babies. They will never go away. They can only be contained and all access to WMD must be strenuously resisted.

Oil Reserves? We don't have to appologise for wanting oil, and wanting to control oil - as long as we pay a fair price. We have a right to exist too, although that may come as a shock to many.


6/23/2005 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

For a historic parallel, check out the battle for Guadalcanal August 1942 to February 1943.

We took the airbase when the Marines landed, then fought off all attempts by the Japanese to retake the island. We forced the Japanese to fight in a place of our choosing.

In Iraq, we force Islamic Jihadis to fight in a place of our choosing. It isn't easy. "War is hell." (Sherman)

The Jihadis trained in Afghanistan, were going to attack us somewhere. Absent some major religious miracle, that causes them to become evangelical Christians, they were and are our enemies to the death.

The smartest way to fight is to place your army in a defensible position your enemy is forced to attack. That is what we did in Iraq. A prime reason we have been unattacked since 2001 is Iraq. Ben Laden knows he cannot allow a free Iraq. It is too dangerous to the remnants of the arc of danger that stretched from Riyadh to Islamabad September 12, 2001.
Saudi Arabia,

Every one of those countries controlled by our enemies. Pakistan with nukes. Iraq & Iran seeking nukes.

We don't appreciate how far we have come in less than four years. Thousands of fighters who trained in the camps are still alive. I would much prefer we face them with allies in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon & Afghanistan, than try to stop the shipment of nukes into 5 American cities, across a border we can never secure.

Be not afraid. Freedom is on the move. Hope, real hope is our most powerful weapon. We have won in Iraq. Freedom for Iran by 2006 must be our next goal. Then the Saudi corrupt cess pool, and the Syrian backwater can be cleaned out. Being an optimist is essential.

6/23/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

"Is anyone in the United States of America stupider than Nancy Pelosi?"

May I introduce Patty "Osama is a hero to his people" Murry.

6/23/2005 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

Terrorists? = Thugs who adopt a "cause" to justify blowing up babies.


Not so long ago I ran into three Ulster Unionists in a bar in Scotland.

After the boozy conversation took a decidedly misinformed anti-American tone (replete with threats on my Yankee life) I came to the dawning conclusion:

People find justification for hatred and violence. Ideology has very little to do with it after the first 20 years into the cause. Ancient hatreds are difficult to unseat.

Muslims will continue to be Muslims, and a certain percentage of these will always find an excuse for self-detonation. Anti-Zionist, anti-globalization, anti- Western pop culture...doesn't matter.

Hopefully the people of Iraq will get used to the new way, then isolate and deal with the psychotic minority.

Ultimately, hopefully this minority will continue to shrink across the region.

When these two events happen, we have achieved victory in Iraq.

6/24/2005 12:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"People find justification for hatred and violence. Ideology has very little to do with it after the first 20 years into the cause. Ancient hatreds are difficult to unseat."
Thanks for reminding us of that, Husker.
When you haven't been around it for a long time, you tend to forget it is as simple and ugly as that.
That old saw about if you were not a liberal at 20, you had no heart or whatever did NOT say:
If you were not a *LEFTIST*...
Their hate boils more vigorously by the day.

6/24/2005 03:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mike h,
It was good of her to acknowledge all of Osama's good public works:
Schools, bridges, roads,
whatta guy!

6/24/2005 03:43:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

You're right Doug!
Schools. bridges, roads...
He has blown up all of that stuff and more.

6/24/2005 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gregory Scoblete said...

Thanks for the link and thoughtful comments. I've posted a reply here:

6/24/2005 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger exguru said...

Gen. Abizaid was much better on "Face the Nation" today than he was before the Armed Services Committee. In fact, he was stronger than Rumsfeld was on Fox. My guess is that the situation is well in hand. They all remark that the Iraqi forces are quickly getting much stronger, and that they have a strong will to fight.

6/26/2005 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Harkonnendog said...

Just want to thank you Wretchard. You remain, by far, the best pundit regarding Iraq.

6/27/2005 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Harkonnendog said...

Whoops, I lied. I posted this to liberal UPC pundit Cernig and he retorted with:
" Hi Hark,

vowing to resubjugate the majority ethnic groups in the country

Got a backup source for that statement? It's central to Belmont's argument and yet I have never seen such a thing. Certainly the recent negotiations with elements of the insurgency suggest otherwise.

In other words, I think it's untrue and the whole argument fails."

I came back with some self-evident observations about Al Quade and Baathis relations with Shi'a, but I'm wondering if you, or anyone for that matter, can give me a smoking gun?

6/27/2005 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

He should have been the face of the war in Iraq from the begining, IMO.

6/30/2005 05:21:00 PM  

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