Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Are We Winning The War?

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8

This question's been asked a lot lately: in last week's Time cover story, and in various national polls. The perception among the left side of chattering classes, and a good portion of the American public, is that the War of Terror is not militarily "winnable". I've blogged on this before, and my thoughts haven't really changed -- the only way we can lose the war is if we as a country lose the political will to fight.

The war is eminently winnable "militarily"; it's the political will that's lacking, and what probably does make the war unwinnable -- absent another attack on the U.S. that forces our leadership to take the actions necessary to "win" the war. The Time article that talks about how "unwinnable" the war is mentions that we lost four killed in the recent assault on Tall'Afar. I hate to sound callous, but those are well within the realm of militarily sustainable losses. What's keeping us from winning the war is our self-imposed restrictions on the use of force in areas with civilian populations. Now, don't get me wrong -- these are a good thing, and I support them. It ties one hand behind our back, especially when fighting an enemy who has no such restrictions. (If you don't believe me, do this thought experiment: Imagine that a media blackout is put in place in Iraq, and no information will ever come out of there about what happens during a specified period of time. Who do you think will end up in a better position militarily when the reporters go back in?) Still, there are some lines in warfare I'd rather not cross; many of the strategies necessary for success, against an Arab opponent with an Arab mindset, are most likely considered war crimes.

The reason the war may not be winnable politically is that there is a substantial portion of the country that doesn't want us to do what we need to in order to win. My good friend Rob says that the anti-war protesters aren't "against the troops" (except maybe the guy with the "Victory to the Iraqi Resistance" poster in the sixth picture down at this site). Here's my response: The nature of this war is that our enemies can't hope to win unless they end our political will to fight. Any evidence that they are doing so does embolden them and help their recruiting -- people will tend to want to fight for the side they think will win. Therefore, those who demonstrate against the war, which is well within their rights, should recognize that they are providing indirect support for the enemy. They may feel that they aren't really pulling a page from the anti-war dogma of the past that you can only properly oppose the U.S. by actively supporting our enemy, but that is the result of their actions. All I'm asking is that they admit that the net effect of what they're doing. They may have decided that the harm being done to the country by continuing the war is worse than the harm that may befall us by pulling out, and that's their right, and I'll accept that as long as they're honest about what they're doing.

Can we win the war? Yes, we can, in the long run. It's my belief that we're in the middle of "a time of war" that Ecclesiastes mentions; no liberals wanting to create a "Department of Peace" can change that. This war with militant Islam will go on for decades. Hopefully, we'll learn from the mistakes we made in Iraq, and do it better on the next battlefield.

Going deep...


Anonymous Byron Audler said...

I'm very cautious to mention this war in the same context as the Vietnam war. But one similarity is exactly what you speak about in your post: losing the political will to win. There is no way on God's green earth, that the NVA could have been the US militarily. But they did learn to play to the press, and the cameras, and damn near wrote the book on how to paralyze a democracy with bad press.

If you ask the average line grunt in the sandbox, someone who is on patrol and sees and talks to the Iraqi people, 80% of them are completely with the program, because they KNOW they are making a difference. And when those of the liberal wing of the Democratic party start to go into rant mode about the war, and what good is it doing fighting in Iraq, I ask them in return: When was the last time we were attacked by terrorists in the US?

Iraq is a magnet for terrorists, all of them eager to die to kill the invading infidel, and our troops over there are gladly obliging them.

God bless them..each and every one.

9/27/2005 2:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hate to use anon, but its the quickest

Not only can we win this war, but for all intents and purposes we already have.

Today's news of yet another senior AQIZ leader getting ratted out shows that we can strike at will and that, further, we are getting more and better info from the Iraqis themselves.

The American left demanded that we win not only the military war, but the hearts and minds. Now that it is clear that we've done that, well, watch for a major goal post move coming to an MSM outlet near you!

9/27/2005 10:48 AM

Anonymous next_93 said...

I've mentioned this on other sites, but it seems appropriate here. I recently saw a liberal windbag gassing on about how the war is illegal and how it's not really a part of the "war on terror", and I immediately found myself going down the following logic train:

1. If it's not terrorists who are killing and maiming American servicemen and Iraqui civilians, then who is it - the Iraqui Boy Scouts? I mean, someone who plants a bomb in a marketplace and sets it off in the name of Jihad pretty much fits my definition of an Islamic terrorist. Even if you posit that Iraq wasn't a terrorist nation at the start of the war (and I'll beleive that the same day I go to Kim Jhong Il's barber), it's CERTAINLY full of terrorists, NOW

2. In the last 2 1/2 years or so, our guys in Iraq have gotten good (very, Very good) at killing the Bad Guys over there.

Ergo: If (a) there are Bad Guys over there who, by thier actions, qualify as Terrorists, and (b) we're killing said Bad Guys in large numbers,


(c) HOW THE HELL DOES THIS NOT QUALIFY AS PART OF THE WAR ON TERROR????? I'm no military strategist, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that "killing the enemy" is up near the top of the to-do list when fighting a war (unless you're from Canada, Germany, France, Russia, or [God help us] Belgium).

9/27/2005 11:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mention the “net effect” of protest being a negative outcome. Are you saying that benefits of exercising our freedom outweighs the harm that protesting does by ‘emboldening the enemy’? What brings you to this conclusion? How do you weigh freedom vs. victory? I will grant you that protesting the war does ‘embolden’ the enemy, but are you expecting citizens of the freest nation on earth to sit on their thumbs when their government is doing something they disagree with?

9/27/2005 3:48 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Not at all. I said in my post that I support them in their right to protest. I just want them to realize that doing so emboldens our enemy. Every choice one makes in life comes with its own set of pros and cons... I'm just frustrated with those who don't recognize that their choice does give comfort to the enemy. They have the freedom to make that choice -- I just hope that they realize all that's involved in the choice they're making as it relates to the real world.

9/27/2005 4:14 PM

Blogger StinKerr said...

When does the disagreement stop, anonymous?

I disagreed with the invasion of Iraq even after Colin Powell's presentation at the U.N. I didn't think that he offered enough evidence. When the troops crossed the berm, however, and the die was cast I got behind them and supported them and their mission.

I didn't see that there was anything to be gained from invading Afghanistan either, knowing that the country was left a pile of rubble from the Soviet occupation. I was wrong there too.

Over the years I have had my share of disappointments and disagreements with policies and actions and have excercised my rights to disagree and challenge. When the final decision is made, be it an election where my chosen candidate is defeated or a policy that I disagree with, I have learned to live with it and go on. All the while supporting "...the freest nation on earth."

Were I to take the attitude that some have I'd still be protesting the Kennedy election of 1960. There is a time to argue and protest and there is a time to get on with business. The time to get on with business in Iraq has long since come and protesting a fait accompli is fruitless and can only harm and distract those who are in harm's way finishing the mission.

Afghanistan and Iraq have been freed of oppressive regimes and the people there are building their own democracy in their own countries and in their own way. I would think that someone who espouses such a notion for themselves would be glad of others having the same priviledges. Perhaps I'm mistaken.

9/27/2005 6:40 PM


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