Thursday, March 22, 2007

Iraq & The Future

It seems that everyone has an opinion about our involvement in Iraq. The news is sketchy and hard to understand. The famous "fog of war" makes it hard for our troops to know what is happening. We face an enemy who is very skilled at manipulating the news. They have given terrorist shot videos to the global news outlets who have fed them as actual news reports. They are very good at using the Internet and producing video feeds and DVDs for distribution beyond the Internet. They are very very good.

We have and unsteady and underfunded DoD who present their side of the story. This is woefully weak as it is approved by committee of career military politicians. Whatever good news our military has is further filtered by the Establishment Media who are living in the Vietnam era bias of "not trusting authority"... They little recognize that they have become The Establishment and are perceived as untrustworthy (Except when they look at declining viewer and subscription numbers)...

It has fallen to the Internet community to pick-up the slack, to examine our leaders, examine reports and spot BULL GARBAGE when it's being peddled as truth, to examine our leaders and those who would lead us astray. The nice thing about this tool is that it works so very very well. Experts can coalesce around a topic. Mistakes are corrected quickly.

Yesterday I was reading Danger Room Blog from Wired magazine. Being an SF publication, I wasn't shocked to see them questioning the polls showing that 30% of Americans believe the war is going well. They threw the question out as to who were these Martians and why did we think this way? The first few were from the Usual Useful Idiots. Then the adults arrived. It's turned into a pretty good debate. (I like reasoned arguments succinctly stated. I dislike name calling and summary statements without supporting syllogism...from anybody) The following is my response... (I know it's tacky to quote owns own self)

This is the first war we have ever fought against this type of enemy. What other enemy attacked the civilians and forced the invader to defend the civilians?

We have learned much and we have learned fast. The enemy adapts and so have we. we began fighting Saddam's army, then his militia and then the thugs he released from jail. We have had al Quaida sending killers and Iran sending killers. We have fought them all to either a stand still or victory.

We have changed Iraq. We have shown what a well paid-trained-led-equipped army can do. we have taken the old Soviet-Arab style military with low training, few non-coms and officers doing what our non-coms do and built it from the ground up. There is no history of a non-com core. This backbone did not exist and we have had to grow it. It is still in short supply. We have had to train officers to lead and not be parasites sucking the pay, food, supplies from their troops.

Things have gone well. We have learned and the lessons of Iraq will be very valuable in Europe, Asia or the US wherever the terrorists attack next. Things could be better, but they could have been very very much worse.

This is no short term war. This is a long term, low intensity, war of attrition. YOU Cut-&-Runners need to examine your own assumptions. What did you think would happen? Why did you think that way?

We were told going in what was going to happen. It has unfolded much as forecast. What is MOST AMAZING is the flexibility and adaptability of the American military. These guys are magnificent-! They are smarter, better trained, better led, better equipped than the Vietnam era. They are light years from the WWII battlefield... Pull you head out and look around?

We ran away from victory in Vietnam. If we run away from victory in Iraq, WHO will join us on the next battlefield? Who will stand with those who are afraid of victory? Who will sacrifice national treasure to support someone who is afraid of tough going?

What happened to "Go anywhere, bear any burden, in the cause of peace"?

Are we really a nation of bored comfort seekers?

Today, The Age, an Australian newspaper posted a speech by Prime Minister John Howard. Howard has long been one of the clearest voices articulating the reasons why Islamist Extremism must be fought with force.

The long war against violent Islamic extremism goes on. It is a very different kind of war – a war without borders and with no clear front lines; a war fought as much by our ideas and values as by our armies.

Terrorist cells are active today in between 30 and 40 countries plotting action based on a warped interpretation of Islam. Attacks have been planned in Australia.

Nor should we forget the essential lessons of 11 September 2001 – that failed states can quickly become havens and projecting grounds for global terror; and that terrorists can turn our openness and technological achievements against us to devastating strategic effect.

Globalisation is far from a universal solvent for ideologies of hate or old wounds – real and perceived

It is a long speech. I urge you to read it. If not online, then print it out for the nightstand. I am not alone nor for the first time do I wish we had an American politician who could speak as directly, clearly and forthrightly... Maybe in 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020?

Will we finally see clearly in 2020? We will be beyond the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton-Bush axis of rotating American royalty with concomitant political hatreds and vendettas...

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