The War About the War: Winning the Hearts and Minds of Americans
Insurgencies seldom win. The ingredients needed to overcome insurgencies include:
•An understanding of local society;The first 3 criteria are being met; what about the last one? The new counterinsurgency manual shows that the chances of overcoming an insurgency improves after 10 years. Does America have the intestinal fortitude to win? Do enough of us understand that we have no choice but to push for nothing short of victory in Iraq? For pro-victory Americans, it's a win/lose situation. For the anti-war Americans, it's a lose-lose situation.....damned if we stay; damned if we leave.
•Good intelligence about the enemy;
•Establishing security and a rule of law;
•Establishing a long-term commitment.
If our pro-defeat compatriots are thinking of the solution to Iraq as being a choice between a "bad" and "worse"-case scenario....what they need to be convinced of, is that the worse option is the one that would have us leave prematurely; basically surrendering Iraq over to America's enemies. This would be an amazing accomplishment, more ignoble and embarrassing than anything the French have ever done. We have not "lost"; and Iraq is not a "quagmire", except in our own media-driven impressions and perceptions. Just take a look at this piece by Ann Scott Tyson in The Christian Science Monitor, dated November of 2003:
Just as news footage of Vietnam casualties slowly eroded public backing for that conflict, today's bold headlines on US military deaths in Iraq are revealing a ground truth that is, more swiftly, undercutting domestic support for the Iraq war.Within months of our victory in the toppling of Saddam's regime, Iraq was already being chicken-littled as a "quagmire" by the anti-war left and those who care more about a George Bush defeat than they do for an American victory. Every little molehill setback was magnified into a mountain of misfortune; from stolen museum artifacts to Abu Ghraib. If anyone can trace back when that word "quagmire" was first used for Iraq, please let me know.
Some polls show that most Americans no longer believe removing Saddam Hussein was worth the loss of US lives; significant majorities now consider the 400-plus US casualties in Iraq "unacceptable.""We've reached that magic number, and now Americans are asking whether it's worth it or not," says John Zogby of Zogby International, which conducted prewar polls showing that war support would drop below 50 percent if US casualties went into the hundreds.
It is astounding to me, that Americans have not learned all the right lessons from Vietnam and Somalia; that so many of my countrymen are willing to give Osama bin Laden validation in his labeling of America as a "paper tiger".
How many jihadists and insurgents have been sent to their maker? 20 times our number? 50 times? Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been on the losing side of every military engagement; and yet, half of our country (or greater), appears to be ready to "run away" from the killer rabbits who seek martyrdom by planting IEDs and by carbombing innocent civilians and fellow Muslims. They think they are winning (with occasional lapses into sanity) because aside from their religious delusions of grandeur, our very own 5th column media and leaders on The Hill tell them that they are winning; and behave like we are losing.
The surrender monkeys would have us snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And I say: "Defeat is not an option".