Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Things to Think On. . .

I'm a little busy today, so I'll leave you some reading assignments, and some things to think on.

I commend to your attention Andrew C. McCarthy's fine piece on President Bush's triumph and defeat in the Iraq policy debate over at National Review Online. (Hat tip: TigerHawk). President Bush is getting his policy preferences adopted: but has failed utterly at conveying their necessity and merit to the American people. Yes, anybody this side of witless idiocy should be able to see the importance of winning the war; but, as Mr. McCarthy says:
. . .In a just war, you have to remind people why the cause is just, why the sacrifices are worth it. You can’t focus, myopically, on Iraqi “democracy” — something Americans simply don’t care that much about — while your not-so-loyal opposition, day after withering day, delegitimizes the casus belli. . .
When the domestic enemies of our effort spend every day assiduously destroying support for the war -- it is necessary for the President to go over their heads, and participate, daily, in encouraging support for the war. Alas, President Bush is, unfortunately, among the most inarticulate occupants of the Presidential chair in modern memory. The Great Communicator, he ain't. As Mr. McCarthy and TigerHawk point out, the Question before the House is this:

If we leave now, we lose. It’s that simple. We make a prophet of bin Laden, who has been saying all along that we’d quit once things got tough. We embolden the enemy, swell its recruitment, inflate its funding, and guarantee that suppressing it, after the inevitable next wave of attacks against us, will cost many, many more American lives.

(emphasis supplied)

Read the whole thing.
We also need to think on the kind of war we are fighting, and the kind of war we are willing to fight. John Dillin, in the Christian Science Monitor, points out that we aren't pursuing, in Iraq or anyplace else -- anything like "Total War." As Mr. Dillin says: "America and Britain didn't win WWII by building playgrounds and schools and setting up local governments. They won by pounding the other side into dust." Mr. Dillin suggests that the answer to why we don't wage war with everything we've got is a "moral ambiguity" in the minds of our leaders about whether we really need to win this war.
The political or social inability of the US to pursue total war, for total victory, deprives the US of the ability to use its best assets -- sheer economic and military weight. The constraints of "Fourth Generation War" -- a form of conflict more political than military, negates these assets. Since 1945, no great power, with the possible exception of Britain in Northern Ireland, has prevailed in an insurgency type conflict. Have a look at Colonel T. X. Hammes (USMC's) article on the evolution of "Fourth Generation Warfare" originally published in Military Review, over at Defense and the National Interest.
Given the political composition of Congress, the failure of the administration to even try to mobilize public opinion in its favor, and the approach of the election, I must confess that I am not very optimistic about the future. The "come home America" peacenik crowd -- the bulk of whose useful idiot members really think the world will sit quietly by and let us swill oil like so much Coca-Cola -- are going to have their day, at least for a time. But there are other actors in the field, who will act to ensure that our defeat is not limited to losing a doubtfully popular war in Iraq -- it is going to have worldwide implications, none of which are going to be good. More on that another time.

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