Saturday, January 13, 2007

Get Tough or Get Out

I've taken several days to absorb the impact of Bush's announcement to send another 21,000 or so troops to Iraq. Not that it wasn't pretty much predictable: most Democrats oppose it and some Republicans, tired of having the US weighed down in what seems like a futile effort, are sick of it, too.

Haven't heard any other solutions, though, that seem particularly practical. But, again, that was largely predictable.

One thing that always astonishes me is that the will to win wars is so vastly under-rated. I really wish someone could explain this to me.

It isn't about military might. The US has the people, the equipment and the training to do the job. It isn't about the soldiers; they're doing their jobs. It's about the politics and the way things are presented to the public. There have been numerous instances in Iraq where the US has had an opportunity to really put the sledgehammer down on the terrorist elements trying to split the country apart and have not done so for, more or less, PR reasons. Unfortunately, good PR at home (oh, look, we were nice, we dropped leaflets and let some terrorists run away and others negotiate) is very bad PR amongst the islamists (oh, look, those Americans don't have the balls to really come after us if we hide behind some civilians or hole up in a mosque).

Some of those people, Moqtada al-Sadr in particular, have gone on to greater and greater influence and ability to create havoc.

This is going to be the US's last chance to stabilize the situation. They have to get tough with the Iraqi government, with the terrorist leaders and with warnings to Syria and Iran to stop interfering.

If they don't, all the fine soldiers in the world aren't going to be able to control the situation.


Michael said...

My brother-in-law served a year in Iraq. He went there with pretty much no opinion on Arabs or muslims, and came back firm in the belief that the US will not be safe, ever, as long as Arabs and muslims remain alive.

Pretty freaky what a dose of reality will do, isn't it?

Now, I think he may be a little exreme on this, but it just goes to your point:

America needs to take the gloves off, because our enemies already have.

SUZANNE said...

There's only one moral way to fight a war.

Convert your whole nation to the war effort and crush your enemy like a bug.

When you kill an animal, you don't let it linger. One swift bullet to the head.

Same thing with a war. You don't go in half-assed like the US has. Put everything into it, or don't go in at all.

I was opposed to the war in Iraq for various reasons, but now that the US is there and the only power that can really do anything, it should stay there and pick up the mess and establish order.

The half-hearted support of the WAR (not the troops!) is one of the reasons why it's going so badly. When you fight a war, you can't be bogged by politics and PR crap. Either the people agree with it or they don't, and if they don't, it's probably best not to go in. Now the war effort is hampered by all this bellyaching over perceptions on the homefront. You can't fight a war with that on your mind.

War is just not pretty. If it's not worth the war, then don't go. Otherwise, get over the ugliness.

southfield_2001 said...

You're both bang on with your comments, as far as I'm concerned.

I remember when the US had al-Sadr hemmed in and could have taken him out. They didn't...because he was holed up in a mosque and they were worried about the reaction if they damaged it.

The reaction from letting him live is that about 50 Iraqis a day are dying from terrorist attacks that he's orchestrating, that the US is still totally bogged down, that public perception is the US is losing the war and that the arabs -particularly in Syria and Iran - are laughing their heads off at the Americans and have zero respect or fear of the US.

Everyone should have realized that was the inevitable result of mollycoddling terrorists.

Michael said...

warnings to Syria and Iran to stop interfering

It's gone beyond needing warnings, Southie... Syria and Iran will need some physical punishment to get the message. The raid on the Iranian consulate (and who are they to complain) was a good start, but not enough. I hope there is more to come...

Suzanne: Right on about the way to fight. That's why the US won WWII, but failed in Vietnam. Pres Bush needs to start making the case, loudly, publicly, and with much better speechwriters than he has now, as to just why America is there, and exactly who we need to fight.