Counter Terrorism ops are much different then total war. There is an old saying something like "the Generals always plan to refight the last war". That is why so many old military people are trying to apply a conventional military solution to an unconventional operation. Counter Insurgency is a strange bastard style of war. It is not total war but it is also more then the Leftist" Police matter". Guess a lot of you don't know the US waged a successful Counter Insurgency in El Salvador during the 1980s and early 1990s huh? It's called the El Salvador option and it works. The other thing most old neo-Isolationists forget is the political aspect. Iraq was doable. We had the political consensus to do it. So since we needed a kill zone we could suck the terrorists into and we needed to get the American people to support the cost, there was no other choice BUT Iraq. Want to real blow the Leftists minds? Tell them this. Even if Al Gore won in 2000 and 9-11 happened, the USA would STILL be doing the same thing now in Iraq.
Why? Because Iraq was doable militarily and politically. There was no other strategic choice for the USA but Iraq. Once Afghanistan was liberated there was NO where else the USA could go but Iraq. For all those who try to say "oh we should of gone into Pakistan/Saudi Arabia/North Korea/Iran etc etc etc people, there was NO grounds, nor political consensus, to attack any of those countries. Even if there HAD been a way to attack them, the USA could not leave an Iraq we were "containing" unfought on our flank. The minute we had committed militarily someplace else, Saddam would of made trouble. The most immediate threat was Saddam so he had to be dealt with one way or another.
Here in a nutshell, is the military reason for Iraq. The War on Terrorism is different sort of war. In the war on Terrorism, we have a hidden foe, spread out across a geographically diverse area, with covert sources of supply. Since we cannot go everywhere they hide out, in fact often cannot even locate them until the engage us, we need to draw them out of hiding into a kill zone. Iraq is that kill zone. That is the true brilliance of the Iraq strategy. We draw the terrorists out of their world wide hiding places onto a battlefield they have to fight on for political reasons (The "Holy" soil of the Arabian peninsula) where they have to pit their weakest ability (Conventional Military combat power)against our greatest strength (ability to call down unbelievable amounts of firepower) where they will primarily have to fight other forces (the Iraqi Security forces) in a battlefield that is hostile to guerrilla warfare. (Iraqi-mostly open terrain as opposed to guerrilla friendly areas like the mountains of Afghanistan or the jungles of SE Asia). There are other reasons to do Iraq but that is the MILITARY reason we are in Iraq. We have taken, an maintain, the initiative from the Terrorists. They are playing OUR game on ground of OUR choosing. For the classic Military minded, we are on Sze Tse's Death Ground.
Problem is Counter Insurgency is SLOW and painful. Often a case of 3 steps forward, two steps back. I often worry that the American people have neither the patients, nor the intellect" to understand. It's so much easier to spew made for TV slogans like "No Blood for Oil" or "We support the Troops, bring them home" then to actually THINK. Problem is the Terrorists have NO desire to coexist with us. They see all this PC posturing by the Hysteric Left as a sign that we are weak. Since they want us dead, weakness encourages them. They think their "god" will bless them for killing Westerners. So we can covert to Islam, die or kill them. Iraq is about killing enough of them to make the rest realize we are serious.
See in the Arab world the USA is considered a big wimp. We have runaway so many times. Lebanon, the Kurds, the Iraqis in 1991, the Iranians, Somalia, Clinton all thru the 1990s etc etc etc. The Jihadists think we will run again. In fact they are counting on it. That way they can run around screaming "We beat the American just like the Russians, come join us in Jihad" and recruit the next round of "holy warriors". Iraq is also a show place where the USA refreshed in the World Nations minds the object lesson that there are lines they cannot cross. On 9-11 the "Muhajadeen" crossed that line and we can, and will, destroy them for it
Good one, and I agree.
The final battle for the war on terrorism is being fought in the news rooms in this country. They control the information, and therefore they influence the perceptions of the public. In military terms, victory is a foregone conclusion if only the American people are willing to stay the course. It is that "stay the course" sentimentality that is necessary to ensure victory, and the more broadly and loudly that is proclaimed and embraced the swifter the victory will come in places like Iraq.
Much of the terrorist violence is premised on the idea that they can win the battle to make Americans believe that we're losing, and thus have us defeat ourselves.
The President needs to sit down and have that all important conversation with the American people, but even more importantly, the Iraqi people need to proclaim loudly that they want what we have offered. Freedom.
And then we'll have to see how the press reports either event.
I've seen this "Daddy,Are We There Yet?" crowd before.
They weren't helpful then and they aren't helpful now.
If I may suggest. A book I've been pushing.
Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground. Robert D. Kaplan
Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground (Must Read Book)
Fresh Fiction ^
Posted on 09/21/2005 11:09:56 AM CDT by Valin
Imperial Grunts Robert Kaplan
Imperial Grunts is vintage Robert Kaplan, combining a deep appreciation of history and wonderfully vivid writing with an infectious wanderlust.
Military on the Ground Random House September 2005 448 pages ISBN: 1400061326 Hardcover $27.95
In this landmark book, Robert D. Kaplan, veteran correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and author of Balkan Ghosts, shows how American imperialism and the Global War on Terrorism are implemented on the ground, mission by mission, in the most exotic landscapes around the world.
Given unprecedented access, Kaplan takes us from the jungles of the southern Philippines to the glacial dust bowls of Mongolia, from the forts of Afghanistan to the forests of South Americanot to mention Iraqto show us Army Special Forces, Marines, and other uniformed Americans carrying out the many facets of U.S. foreign policy: negotiating with tribal factions, storming terrorist redoubts, performing humanitarian missions and training foreign soldiers.
In Imperial Grunts, Kaplan provides an unforgettable insiders account not only of our current involvement in world affairs, but also of where America, including the culture of its officers and enlisted men, is headed. This is the rare book that has the potential to change the way readers view the men and women of the military, war, and the global reach of American imperialism today.
As Kaplan writes, the only way to understand Americas military is on foot, or in a Humvee, with the troops themselves, for even as elites in New York and Washington debated imperialism in grand, historical terms, individual marines, soldiers, airmen, and sailorsall the cultural repositories of Americas unique experience with freedom were interpreting policy on their own, on the ground, in dozens upon dozens of countries every week, oblivious to such faraway discussions. . . . It was their stories I wanted to tell: from the ground up, at the point of contact.
Never before has Americas overarching military strategy been parsed so incisively and evocatively. Kaplan introduces us to lone American servicemen whose presence in obscure countries is largely unknown, and concludes with a heart-stopping portrait of marines in the first battle in Fallujah. Extraordinary in its scope, beautifully written, Imperial Grunts, the first of two volumes, combines first- rate reporting with the sensitivity and insights of an acclaimed writer steeped in history, literature, and philosophy, to deliver a masterly account of Americas global role in the twenty-first century.
Imperial Grunts paints a vivid picture of how defense policy is implemented at the grassroots level.
Kaplan travels throughout the world where U.S. forces are located. This is not just a book about Iraq or Afghanistan.
Rather than debate imperialism, Kaplan relies on a keen understanding of history, philosophy, and in-the-field reporting to show how it actually works on the ground.
Imperial Grunts escapes Washington and shows us what its like to live with the grunts day to day.