Monday, November 21, 2005

The War Today

I think this article by Ralph Peters is a pretty good summary of where we stand today in the war (for those of you who really believe we are at war).

I am not quite as cynical about the motives as Peters, but I think he is dead on about the impact of the current debate and the potential consequences.

Update: Per request, here is the text of the entire article.

November 21, 2005 -- QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.
Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.

Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq — and the region — if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.

Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems' leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they're risking their lives for nothing, we're throwing the game.

Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates — knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.

Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies — that's what Americans do.

While we're at it, let's just print up recruiting posters for the terrorists, informing the youth of the Middle East that Americans are cowards who can be attacked with impunity.



Whatever you do, don't talk about any possible consequences. Focus on the moment — and the next round of U.S. elections. Just make political points. After all, those dead American soldiers and Marines don't matter — they didn't go to Ivy League schools. (Besides, most would've voted Republican had they lived.)

America's security? Hah! As long as the upcoming elections show Democratic gains, let the terrorist threat explode. So what if hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners might die in a regional war? So what if violent fundamentalism gets a shot of steroids? So what if we make Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the most successful Arab of the past 500 years?

For God's sake, don't talk about democracy in the Middle East. After all, democracy wasn't much fun for the Dems in 2000 or 2004. Why support it overseas, when it's been so disappointing at home?

Human rights? Oh, dear. Human rights are for rich white people who live in Malibu. Unless you can use the issue to whack Republicans. Otherwise, brown, black or yellow people can die by the millions. Dean, Reid & Pelosi, LLC, won't say, "Boo!"

You've got to understand, my fellow citizens: None of this matters. And you don't matter, either. All that matters is scoring political points. Let the world burn. Let the massacres run on. Let the terrorists acquire WMD. Just give the Bush administration a big black eye and we'll call that a win.

The irresponsibility of the Democrats on Capitol Hill is breathtaking. (How can an honorable man such as Joe Lieberman stay in that party?) Not one of the critics of our efforts in Iraq — not one — has described his or her vision for Iraq and the Middle East in the wake of a troop withdrawal. Not one has offered any analysis of what the terrorists would gain and what they might do. Not one has shown respect for our war dead by arguing that we must put aside our partisan differences and win.

There's plenty I don't like about the Bush administration. Its domestic policies disgust me, and the Bushies got plenty wrong in Iraq. But at least they'll fight. The Dems are ready to betray our troops, our allies and our country's future security for a few House seats.

Surrender is never a winning strategy.

Yes, we've been told lies about Iraq — by Dems and their media groupies. About conditions on the ground. About our troops. About what's at stake. About the consequences of running away from the great struggle of our time. About the continuing threat from terrorism. And about the consequences for you and your family.

What do the Democrats fear? An American success in Iraq. They need us to fail, and they're going to make us fail, no matter the cost. They need to declare defeat before the 2006 mid-term elections and ensure a real debacle before 2008 — a bloody mess they'll blame on Bush, even though they made it themselves.

We won't even talk about the effect quitting while we're winning in Iraq might have on the go-to-war calculations of other powers that might want to challenge us in the future. Let's just be good Democrats and prove that Osama bin Laden was right all along: Americans have no stomach for a fight.

As for the 2,000-plus dead American troops about whom the lefties are so awfully concerned? As soon as we abandon Iraq, they'll forget about our casualties quicker than an amnesiac forgets how much small-change he had in his pocket.

If we run away from our enemies overseas, our enemies will make their way to us. Quit Iraq, and far more than 2,000 Americans are going to die.

And they won't all be conservatives.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer.

3 Comments:

Blogger Germanicu$ said...

Hurtleg,
Could you see your way to posting the entire text of Mr. Peters's essay? I am not an online subscriber to the NY Post, and while I'm always willing to read new online articles, I try to limit my "free" subscriptions (as I'm sure we all do, since "free" means "spam").

This is as much as I was able to see, before it showed me ads:

QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.

Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.

Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the...

10:22 AM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

try
NAME: ecpub@naxs.net
PASSWORD: festival
I got them at bugmenot
You can use bugmenot in the future for sites where free registration is required and you don't want to be spamified.

here it is:
HOW TO LOSE A WAR

By RALPH PETERS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Email Archives
Print Reprint



November 21, 2005 -- QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.
Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.

Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq — and the region — if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.

Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems' leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they're risking their lives for nothing, we're throwing the game.

Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates — knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.

Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies — that's what Americans do.

While we're at it, let's just print up recruiting posters for the terrorists, informing the youth of the Middle East that Americans are cowards who can be attacked with impunity.



Whatever you do, don't talk about any possible consequences. Focus on the moment — and the next round of U.S. elections. Just make political points. After all, those dead American soldiers and Marines don't matter — they didn't go to Ivy League schools. (Besides, most would've voted Republican had they lived.)

America's security? Hah! As long as the upcoming elections show Democratic gains, let the terrorist threat explode. So what if hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners might die in a regional war? So what if violent fundamentalism gets a shot of steroids? So what if we make Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the most successful Arab of the past 500 years?

For God's sake, don't talk about democracy in the Middle East. After all, democracy wasn't much fun for the Dems in 2000 or 2004. Why support it overseas, when it's been so disappointing at home?

Human rights? Oh, dear. Human rights are for rich white people who live in Malibu. Unless you can use the issue to whack Republicans. Otherwise, brown, black or yellow people can die by the millions. Dean, Reid & Pelosi, LLC, won't say, "Boo!"

You've got to understand, my fellow citizens: None of this matters. And you don't matter, either. All that matters is scoring political points. Let the world burn. Let the massacres run on. Let the terrorists acquire WMD. Just give the Bush administration a big black eye and we'll call that a win.

*


The irresponsibility of the Democrats on Capitol Hill is breathtaking. (How can an honorable man such as Joe Lieberman stay in that party?) Not one of the critics of our efforts in Iraq — not one — has described his or her vision for Iraq and the Middle East in the wake of a troop withdrawal. Not one has offered any analysis of what the terrorists would gain and what they might do. Not one has shown respect for our war dead by arguing that we must put aside our partisan differences and win.

There's plenty I don't like about the Bush administration. Its domestic policies disgust me, and the Bushies got plenty wrong in Iraq. But at least they'll fight. The Dems are ready to betray our troops, our allies and our country's future security for a few House seats.

Surrender is never a winning strategy.

Yes, we've been told lies about Iraq — by Dems and their media groupies. About conditions on the ground. About our troops. About what's at stake. About the consequences of running away from the great struggle of our time. About the continuing threat from terrorism. And about the consequences for you and your family.

What do the Democrats fear? An American success in Iraq. They need us to fail, and they're going to make us fail, no matter the cost. They need to declare defeat before the 2006 mid-term elections and ensure a real debacle before 2008 — a bloody mess they'll blame on Bush, even though they made it themselves.

We won't even talk about the effect quitting while we're winning in Iraq might have on the go-to-war calculations of other powers that might want to challenge us in the future. Let's just be good Democrats and prove that Osama bin Laden was right all along: Americans have no stomach for a fight.

As for the 2,000-plus dead American troops about whom the lefties are so awfully concerned? As soon as we abandon Iraq, they'll forget about our casualties quicker than an amnesiac forgets how much small-change he had in his pocket.

If we run away from our enemies overseas, our enemies will make their way to us. Quit Iraq, and far more than 2,000 Americans are going to die.

And they won't all be conservatives.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Ralph Peters can sure pound a pulpit!

This war was always basically a neo-con chess game: let's develop a bunch of wacky theories about the necessary link between terrorist capabilities and state sponsorship (theories that have been blown out of the water by the increase in terrorism occasioned by our invasion, with no corresponding Iraqi state onto which they can place the blame), add a little neo-liberal economic reconstruction and crony capitalist kick-backs into the mix, then test them out in the real world in "Iraq the Model."

All of the guys running this war had been saying we needed to go to war to remove Saddam Hussein since the 1990s. You're welcome to believe that the evidence of "no operational relationship" between Iraq and Al-Qaeda was the silver bullet they had been prophesying all along, and the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of threats to our security, but that is certainly a low standard to apply to something like a justification for a war, which is something conservatives used to take seriously.

As for all this Republican propaganda about "emboldening the enemy," let's take a walk down memory lane, from the Saturday, May 15, 1999 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"On Capitol Hill, congressional leaders said they would hold the administration to a fixed date for a total withdrawal. One Republican leader said that if the 30,000 troops "are there one day past New Year," Congress will cut off funding.

"We're not putting up a half-billion dollars without a deadline," said one Republican leader, sporting a red heart-shaped button symbolizing the party's commitment to have the ground troops back home by Valentine's Day.

"We're not going to authorize one cent past $750 million.""

Congress will cut off funding for the troops?! Our troops?! I think we can all remember the emboldened sound of Milosevic's Vincent Price-like cackle telegraphing across the Balkans upon reading of the Republican leader's (let's just refer to him as The American Chamberlain) back-stabbing of our troops stationed abroad. How the troops managed to survive this vote of no confidence by the Republican Party in their mission is a true mystery. In fact, let's ask Ralph Peters if has any insight:

"As I write, we are waging a thoughtless demi-war... In a curious manner, it illustrates our loss of moral example. The shared drabness of service no longer informs president or senator, and ignorance of military matters rules... Today's aspiring politicians regard military service as a blue-collar detour unworthy of their time. As a result, an administration unparalleled in its arrogance has blundered into a disaster that has swiftly cost a people its homeland, that threatens America's last shreds of strategic credibility... While weeks lie between this electronic dash of ink and the printed page, even a miraculous turnabout... will not erase the incompetence with which the adventure was begun. At the heart of our nation's government, not one person has worn a uniform. We have seen the Babbitization of the Presidency, too."

Sorry! In my haste to quote Peters, I mistakenly excerpted a commentary of his--on the Balkans!

I guess it's OK to criticize a war policy you disagree with--morale of the troops be damned--but one you're keen on must be defended by any means necessary, even if it means accusing your opponents of soldier-killing and enemy-emboldening. What the hell! As Ralph notes, it's all about scoring political points anyway.

The hysterical tone that's being increasingly adopted by defenders of the war is to be expected, given the utter lack of facts on their side. But what's really worrying is that the entire Republican Party seems to have cast off any concept of standards and accountability. Timelines and benchmarks are things traditionally used by people interested in achieving objectives and measuring progress. Given that definition, it's no wonder the Bush administration avoids them like the plague.

2:32 PM  

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