April 6, 2004

"The word "quagmire" will once again become fashionable..."

It always amazes me that people can't understand that, if we are fighting a guerilla-type enemy, a battle is almost always good news! Militarily speaking, the Tet Offensive was a splendid opportunity, and our soldiers seized upon it, slaughtering Viet Cong in such great numbers that they never were an effective force again. (Politically it was a catastrophe, giving many Americans an excuse to align with a totalitarian tyranny in the much more important struggle against Republicans.)

Right now all we know of Falluja is that the Marines are there in force, and gunfire and explosions are being heard. That's almost surely good news. Especially since some of those we are fighting are foreigners, members of a shapeless witches-brew of jihadis from a score of countries. They are Islamist wackos who might be past or present or future Al Qaeda, might belong to any number of other groups, might help found tomorrow's Al Qaeda-type organization. But instead of plotting God-knows-what atrocity in the year 2010, the darling fellows are emerging to beg for martyrdom! Rejoice. Don't anybody tell them that Iraq is a "sideshow." [And a year ago we were killing them by the hundreds. You won't convince me that that hasn't made the world safer.]

Stephen den Beste writes:

...However, in the short run it's going to be painful. The rate of casualties will rise.

And the usual suspects will come out of the woodwork. Opponents of the war will point to these uprisings as proof that the project is a failure and that "Iraqis" (collectively) oppose "the illegal occupation". "Non-aligned" organizations will condemn nearly everything we do as being war crimes, or violations of "international law". The "legitimacy" of the process will be questioned, and second-guessers will say that if we'd only turned it all over to the UN none of this would have happened. Once this new phase of combat opens in earnest, there will be wild predictions of catastrophe. There will be predictions of huge numbers of civilian deaths and hordes of refugees; of destruction, misery, starvation, plague. We will be told that this will cause a broad uprising against us inside Iraq, and that it will anger the "Arab street". We'll be blamed for the next terrorist operation in Spain. News reports will slant everything to make the situation look as bad for us as possible. The word "quagmire" will once again become fashionable...

Update: Here's an account of the fighting in Falluja.

Posted by John Weidner at April 6, 2004 12:02 PM
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