August 16, 2004

Goals

David Warren writes about his disgust that we are not crushing opponents like Al Sadr.'

...The news out of Najaf, and Kut, is murky, but it appears that, for at least the sixth time since last autumn, a powerful and successful U.S. Marine attack on some of Iraq's more notorious embedded "bad guys" is being halted before completion. It is the same story after each round: the Marines have the enemy on the ropes, and then a ceasefire is agreed. The enemy is given a few weeks to regroup, and then the battle resumes with fresh ambushes costing unnecessary U.S. casualties...

...The American military is superb, but the political will to use it decisively is not there. For again, it is Clintonesque to use an army to strike public relations poses. Armies are designed for destroying things. Either there is a war to finish, or they should return to barracks, Stateside... (Thanks to Alan)

Warren's a smart guy who I respect, but this time I think he's just way off base. He writes as if 4th Generation Warfare is not a concept he's heard of. Nowadays the news media is one of the battlefields. And public relations is a weapon of war. Which is why, in a recent battle in Najaf, our soldiers fought six hours for possession of one worthless damaged Humvee, just so the world's TV news stations would not have the pleasure of showing it in the possession of Al Sadr's militia. And Al Sadr's louts fought to get it for just that very reason. (And that's why those frauds the Democrats did nothing about Abu Ghraib though they knew about it for months—until they got their hands on some inflammatory pictures. Those pix were weapons in the war, and the Dems used them in tacit alliance with the terrorists against George Bush.)

But there's a more important thing. Defeating Al Sadr is not our goal in Iraq!

Our goal, or rather one of our goals, is to get the Iraqis to grow up and join the adults. And as part of that we want the Iraqis to destroy Al Sadr. Or at least to make the uncomfortable decision to do so, and then ask for our help. Sort of like when your child asks for help with the homework. You don't solve the problem for them, you encourage them to work it out themselves. Or if they aren't ready for that, you sit down and say "let's work on it together." And that kind of teaching is an art, not a science; there's no "right" way to do it, other than by feel. So it looks messy and slow to an outsider.

How do I know that's the goal? Because we in the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy made it perfectly clear to Dick Cheney what the policy was to be! Just kidding, actually I don't know for sure, but that's what I think is going on. And the little Neocon inside me resonates to these things. We are not in Iraq to make the Iraqis happy, or to bring stability. (Though I very much hope things work out for them.) We are in Iraq to drive a huge wedge into the despotic and backwards Arab Middle East. Right smack dab in the middle of the Arab world, we are nurturing a whole nation with many of the values of the West. And the entire realm of Islamist craziness is now reacting to this. They are reacting to what we do, we are not reacting to them. And I think they will be forced to continue to react as Iraq makes progress. This will be brutal for the people of Iraq, but if they make it they will value their freedom in a way smug westerners have forgotten.

And if I were running things in Iraq, these days I'd be dragging my heels on the project of defeating Al Sadr, or the Ba'athists in Falluja. In hopes that the Iraqis get fed up and start doing more of the job themselves. That would be a cold-blooded thing to do, no doubt about it. It would lead to many casualties, both Iraqi and American, in the short run. But that's what war is--sacrificing lives in the short run to save them in the long run.

Posted by John Weidner at August 16, 2004 8:55 PM
Weblog by John Weidner