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Thursday, April 26 

Can We Win?

Ed raised a good question in my post below.
Do you think that ONLY the democrats are the ones who have tired of this war? I mean across the board... not just senators and representatives, but general public... are the only ones who oppose the war either democrat moonbats or traitorous yellowtails?
Short answer, no, I don't think it's only Democrats, or the barking moonbats or traitors who have tired of the war. Hell, I'm tired of the war and would love to see it over with.

Now for the long answer, and we hit on part of that in this post below.

Let's start with international opinion. Let me be as crystal clear about this as I possibly can, I don't give a rat's ass what the French or any other nation has to say about this war. This is said from the perspective of someone who loves Europe. I lived in Germany for more than 7 years total, and loved every single minute of it. Europe has become a socialist nightmare, with high unemployment, pissed off citizens, and a slowly eroding culture. Europeans, no matter how strong their ties are to us, are not us. They don't determine our policy, or decide when it is appropriate for us to defend ourselves. In short, they can collectively kiss my hairy white ass. Most European countries are in such a rush to appease the Islamofascists that they are giving away their own countries and identities. IMHO, the multicultural crowd in Europe is going to achieve what the Ottoman Empire failed to do; create an Islamic Europe.

Now, back to us. I think most people are tired of the war. But I think most Americans are tired of the war precisely because they think we have been, and are, losing. From the moment the first bomb dropped on Iraq, they have been inundated with "news" claiming that the war was started based on a lie, we didn't fight it properly, we're only inciting the terrorists to attack us, and Iraq is a distraction from the "real" war on terror.

I disagree with almost every single one of those points.

However, I think Ed raised a good point in his comment on this post.
Truth be told, the war could have been won without ever losing an american [sic] life to enemy fire... of course, the US government and the American people don't have the stomach for such a war... If the US military simply hammered Iraq for a year with carpet bombings rather than a ground war, I can guarantee you that the militias would have lost their will to fight relatively fast... I am talking all out levelling [sic] of every structure in every city in Iraq... The will would have been lost probably around the time when the entire population would had to find caves for shelter. Of course, lots of people would have considered such a tactic low and complained that it wasn't fair... but we would be in a different place today. As some bright wit somewhere said, "Kill them all, let god sort them out!"

That's how you win a war now and prevent a war in the future...
The rules of engagement we utilize when we fight are designed with our failure in mind. However, I think the media, and the collective memory of Vietnam plays a large part of that. We are a media centric culture, and video of thousands of dead civilians will turn this country anti-war faster than you can say "don't shoot, I'm French".

In WWII we killed thousands upon thousands of civilians. We bombed the shit out of Germany, leveling everything even remotely strategic. If there were civilians there, we felt bad about it, but we did it anyway. Same with Japan. You think we made sure all the civilians were out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before we leveled them? But by taking that step, we shortened the war by months, if not years, and saved thousands of lives on both sides.

My great uncle, who fought in Italy and Germany during WWII, tells a story of raiding a warehouse after a fight. They routed the Germans, and upon entering the warehouse, they found row after row of pallets of food. Wheels of Swiss cheese large enough that it took 4 men to carry one. There was meat and cheese and wine, and there was enough of it that the whole battalion had a good meal or two.

Now imagine if something like that happened today. CNN would have cameras on the scene, showing the greedy Americans looting the poor Iraqis. There would be condemnation from the U.N., and every major newspaper in America would have headlines above the fold about how we are stealing food out of the very mouths of the people we are supposed to be helping.

Ever day I have this discussion with people at work. In my office there are Republicans, Democrats, and your average idiots. We sit in the break room at lunch and watch the news. Every time there is a broadcast giving the number of Americans killed that day, and the total killed to date, someone invariably says, "They need to just bring the home. This is just awful." The reason is, of course, that they don't want to see anyone else die. I then begin to question them about what they think will happen to the region after we pull out. How many thousands of Iraqis will be killed for helping the coalition? What do they think will happen to oil prices if Iran rolls into Iraq and takes over? How many terrorist attacks will take place closer to home if they aren't busy fighting us in Iraq?

Most people, after being forced to think their actions through to their logical conclusion, realize that we need to stay in Iraq and fight until we have won. The biggest problems most Americans have is that they are, for lack of a better word, ignorant. Most people have no clue when it comes to American history, what it took to win most wars, or what actually happened in Vietnam. The only "war" they remember is the Gulf war of '91, and that was not indicative of how wars are fought or won. There is a large segment of our population, like it or not, whose only source of information on history and war is the 30 minute nightly news cast. They won't research anything on their own, and will swallow anything dished out to them as long as it has some pretty graphics behind it. There is also a segment of the population, albeit a much smaller segment, that wants to know the truth. I think that accounts for the rise in popularity of talk radio and blogs. They realize they aren't getting the full story from the media, so they seek out alternate sources of information. The media can belittle these alternate sources all they want, but they have made a large impact on politics today, and they are here to stay.

I firmly believe we can win this war. The surge is only 60% complete, but yet there is a dramatic shift in what is being accomplished. If you skip the anti-war propoganda of the media and go straight to the source, like the blogs from soldiers who are actually there, or Iraqi bloggers, you get a different picture of what is going on in Iraq. The fight is far from over, but we are definitely making progress.

I think that is where the media and the politicians in this country have done us all a disservice. The Democratic leadership has failed us because of its unending devotion to surrender, and the Republicans have failed us because they are spineless pussies who have steadfastly refused to say "political future be damned, I'm doing the right thing". From the beginning, Bush failed to take his case to the American people and show them what we are fighting for and why we are fighting, and it has come back to haunt him. The media, for the most part, is populated by people who believe that there is never a cause worth fighting for, which means every war is immoral. If war is immoral, then the people who support it are wrong, the war is bad, and we need to end it all as soon as possible. How can you possibly get the truth about the war from people who's very ideological bent forces them to believe that war is inherently evil?

The fact of the matter is that our government isn't governed by the will of the people. We are a republic, governed by the rule of law. The President, along with every member of the House the Senate, takes an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America. Whether it is popular or not, the government has an obligation to fight on our behalf to protect and preserve the people of America. For all his faults, and there are many, Bush understands this concept. He believes this is a war that has to be fought and won, and he is committed to it, no matter what the damage may be to his legacy.

This war may not be winnable under this administration, but I guarantee that if we don't allow the surge to work, this war will never be won. The next administration, whatever their party, will be forced to withdraw the troops, and then we all better stock up on guns and ammo, because the fight will be coming a lot closer.

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I can't help pointing this out... but first you said, "Let me be as crystal clear about this as I possibly can, I don't give a rat's ass what the French or any other nation has to say about this war."

Then you said, "I then begin to question them about what they think will happen to the region after we pull out. How many thousands of Iraqis will be killed for helping the coalition?"

Now, these two statements are seemingly contradictory... on the one hand you don't care how the war is viewed abroad and in the other you state that you care what happens to a foreign nation... Both of these situations are based on perception, arguably the second the perception of the rest of the world if we leave the iraqis out to dry... just wondering, do you really care about the iraqis or do you care that the American war machine may be saddled with the perception that it lost another war?

Now I agree that the media plays a role in how Americans see the war and that Americans, most of them anyway, don't have the stomach for a real war... but my ideas of the war are not based on the media or the news (I don't even have cable or local tv news). I have to dig deeper to get any information so I rely on multiple sources and form my opinion based on fact, not conjecture. Are the Americans losing the war? Not exactly... you have to have a tangible objective to lose and since there isn't one (democracy in iraq or stability in iraq -- yeah, you can put (sic) in there if you want to pick on my capitalization laziness Frank -- these ideas are pretty ambigous... there is no real way to ascertain when we have achieved those things short of having a McDonald's and Starbuck's on every corner in bagdad).

Are we achieving the stated goals originally stated in the call to war? Not exactly, unless you count NOT FINDING IMDs or proof of their existence to be success.

How can we measure success? Clearly you can say we are not LOSING the war, but is that really the same as saying we are winning? If we are no better off than we were five years ago in the region, can you seriously think that the war has thus far been successful?

It's not contradictory at all. I don't care what the Europeans think about our war, and yes, I do care about what happens to the Iraqis.

In the late 80s, I visited the DDR (East Germany) while it was still under Soviet control. Once you have looked into the eyes of an oppressed person, it's something you never forget. I also lived there through German reunification, which was, in the long run, a good thing. In the short term, it was awful for the country, but I think we can all agree that liberating half the country was good.

Why is it that liberating an Islamic country should be any different? Saddam was a bad man, I think we all agree about that. The WMDs were part of the reasoning for war, but not all of it. But if we are going to fight about it, okay then. If you had asked me about it even before the war started, I would have told you the same thing I'm about to tell you. Saddam had WMDs at some point, otherwise he would have never been able to gas the Kurds. Was he seeking nukes? I don't know, but all the relevant intelligence agencies believed it back through the Clinton era. Given that we spent months saying, "We're going to invade. Get ready, we're going to invade." If I were Saddam, I would have spent that time transporting whatever weapons I had out of the country, which many people have speculated that he did. I'll bet dollars to donuts that if you had a few days to poke around in Syria you could find some nasty stuff.

I agree that for the last couple years we weren't losing the war, but neither were we winning. If anything, we were kind of holding our own, while more and more terrorists were allowed to pile into the country. Given everything I've read over the last couple of months, however, things appear to be taking a turn for the better. Under the new R.O.E., we've been actually catching the bad guys, and killing the ones who fight, no matter where they are. The Iraqi bloggers I've read all say that, while Baghdad is still not safe, it is much better than it was just a few weeks ago.

And finally, I would define success as the point when Iraqi forces outnumber coalition forces, the government is stable, and will survive with or without us. How will we know when we've reached that point? That's where we have to put a little faith in the boots on the ground, and listen to the commanders in the area, and not to politicians in Washington who won't even take the time to attend a briefing on the war, or even worse, have already stated that they won't believe the general if he says that progress is being made.

You said:

"From the moment the first bomb dropped on Iraq, they have been inundated with "news" claiming that the war was started based on a lie, we didn't fight it properly, we're only inciting the terrorists to attack us, and Iraq is a distraction from the "real" war on terror."

Actually, in both the run-up to the war and the first weeks of the war, media coverage was overwhelmingly favorable. The Bush Administration and sonservatives openly celebrated the effectiveness of imbedding media with the advancing troops. There was virtually no coverage of antiwar protests and, up until the "Mission Accomplished" moment, no major media disputed that the war was a great success and that President Bush would be re-elected by acclaimation.

It was not until the narrative departed the obvious reality that the coverage turned: When the insurgency got its start with the looting of Iraq's cities, when the inter-factional fighting started to spin out of control, and when the weapons of mass destruction were not found.

I know the mythology is that the media were against this from the start. That's false. The media have simply reported the deterioration as it happened, despite your wishes that if report only good news. That the media have been, by and large, correct was evidenced last night in the Republican Presidential debate, when every single candidate agreed that the war has not gone well. That's not bias. That's fact.

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