Archive for February, 2006
There has been much loose talk comparing the War on Terror, and specifically the War in Iraq to Vietnam. In reality there are far more differences than similarities. There is however one aspect between Iraq and Vietnam that is nearly identical. The Terrorists, insurgents, or Islamic Fundamentalists however you want to refer to them, clearly learned the central lesson from our withdrawal from Vietnam. That lesson was that America can be defeated, not on the battlefield, but in the realm of propaganda. In essence the terrorist’s goals are to so demoralize the American public that they demand the War on Terror be abandoned. Car bombs and suicide attacks will never achieve a tactical victory in any military engagement; they can however affect the morale of the American public and of the liberated Iraqis. These tactics are propaganda tactics, not to win converts to their cause, but to convince America that the effort is futile.
The Media intentionally or not, is assisting those who would like to see us fail in Iraq. Suicide attacks, Car Bombs, and daily casualty reports get front page headlines and continuous air time in the broadcast media. What these reports do is obscure the real evidence of progress throughout Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the rest of the Middle East. I am not saying that these reports should be censored, but these attacks are only part of the story. For a full understanding of Iraq and the War on Terror the full story must be reported. When was the last time reports of our reconstruction efforts been reported, let alone at the same magnitude as the efforts of terrorists? In other words the Media consistently reports on the “successes” of the insurgents against us, but fail in reporting on our success against the insurgents.
All of this lends support to those Americans who imagine that we can safely pull out our troops and walk away from Iraq. There is no taking it back. We don’t get a do-over. Done is done. There were serious and principled, patriotic even, arguments to be made against the war back in the long summer, fall and winter of 2002. Once the decision was made and the boys stepped over the line of departure though, all of those arguments became moot. From that point on the only choices on the table was victory or defeat. From that point on, you either hoped we won, or hoped we lost.
Pulling out now would have ramifications far beyond Iraq. If America leaves Iraq before our mission there is complete whether you agree with that mission or not, we will have handed the Islamists a far more significant victory than even the bloody attack of September 11th. It would validate their most powerful recruiting tool; that weak Americans will inevitably be defeated by Jihad, and the future belongs to a despotism based on Islamic Tyranny and radicalized Islam. The effects on our Allies would be even worse especially those who are themselves under threat from Islamic Fundamentalists. How many would conclude that appeasing the terrorists would be their best hope of survival?
We can still lose this war on Terror. We won’t loose it on the Battlefield however. Should we lose it will be on the editorial pages of our newspapers, and in the speeches given by our elected representatives who place the short term political gains of their party ahead our national security on their priority list.