Disgusted About the War

A beautiful post from Rachel:

American prestige is no small thing. Loss of American prestige as a result of Vietnam, the Iran hostage crisis, Somalia and the bombing of the US Embassy in Lebanon emboldened Osama bin Laden to bomb the World Trade Center. Loss of American prestige gives Kim Jong Il the idea that he can test his nukes with impunity. Loss of American prestige tells the mullahs in Iran that no one and nothing can stop them from acquiring nukes and arming Hezbollah and Hamas.

Read the whole thing.

Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

12 thoughts on “Disgusted About the War”

  1. Ralf,

    I agree with you and suspect that Rachel does too. My impression is that she is disgusted by the defeatism, posturing and lack of fortitude of people who should know better.

  2. My impression is that she is disgusted by the defeatism, posturing and lack of fortitude of people who should know better

    Well, yes, but such people are always around, in every war. The best way to react is to remain calm to set an example.

  3. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

    I think “sophomoric” might be a better description.

    BTW, great column from VDH at Claremont. I linked thru Best of the Web.

  4. Ralf,

    I agree the war in Iraq is far from lost. But we’ll lose it for sure if we pull out the troops. I’m just afraid that’s where we’re headed.

  5. An example of how poorly the argument for Rachel’s position is presented is demonstrated in The Fourth Rail:

    My sources, who will not go on record except under anonymity, are furious that the good work of officers like Colonel Devlin is being politicized through what appear to be selective leaks to media outlets. In many cases, this and other leaks are being perpetrated by a fairly select group of individuals whose identities are known within the intelligence community. Because the Defense Department leadership is unwilling to declassify the Devlin report or refute these leaks by placing the text of the report in its full context, they have effectively handcuffed themselves from correcting the record and the damage has already been done.

    What’s with this “individuals whose identities are known within the intelligence community”? Surely in the great bureaucracy someone is over these guys and can judiciously do a little housecleaning? Or maybe not.

    It’s hard not to see Iraq as a disaster when so many people are saying it is. It is hard to distinguish the truth over here (since it appears that the AP has trouble distinguishing it over there.)

  6. “The war in Iraq is a long way from being lost.”

    The situation has deteriorated to the point where Sunni and Shi’ite neighborhoods are shelling each other. This seems a very short way from being lost to me. No matter. How would those who share this sentiment suggest keeping it from being lost? As Jonah Goldberg is fond of saying, “Fish or cut bait.” If you want to fish, tell us how.

  7. Simple. Use more force. Wipe out Al Sadr’s militia. Kill terrorists instead of letting them go or tolerating them. Pursue enemies into Syria as necessary. Go after the Syrian regime. Go after Iran by hitting oil and refined-fuels facilities, nuke sites and international funds transfers.

    Simple. Also costly. But less costly than it will be in the future if we fail to regain our resolve now.

    It’s a question of will, not ability. We can win if we decide to. If we decide not to, we will be forced eventually to win under much worse conditions.

  8. Jonathan,

    I think your suggestions are indeed simple. Let’s try to add a bit of flesh to them though.

    1. Who are “the terrorists”?
    There are many groups this could include: the Sunni insurgents who attack U.S. forces, the Shi’ite militias associated with the major parties, the plethora of sectarian neighborhood defense militias that have formed in this security vacuum, Shi’ite partisans within the Ministry of the Interior who wreak sectarian havok under the color of its authority.

    There are many of these groups, some opverlapping. Most Iraqis, if they’re smart, are armed. When you get two or more of them forming an armed organization, are they terrorists? How about if they engage in sectarian killings? WHat if those sectarian killings are in retaliation? What if they are fighting the Interior Ministry’s troops? What if that’s because the interior ministry’s troops are engaging in sectarian killings?

    2. How do you identify the militants?

    The main problem is that you cannot identify who the fighters are once they stop fighting and put their AK’s back in their closets. Further, you can expect little help from the population. Honestly, think about it. If you’re a peaceful Sunni who would prefer not to get killed, and the local power brokers are al Qaeda in Iraq, then you get on their good side, especially if they are the only thing standing between you and the nasty Shi’ite militia across town, no?

    2. How do we “hit” Syria and Iran in a way that will not simply compound the chaos?

    And furthermore, given how close the Iraqi government (SCIRI, al Dawa) is to Iran, wouldn’t that upset them? As we are generally allied with the Shi’ites (ex. Sadr), should we not try to alienate them? Also, would that not simply result in Syria and Iran actively getting roped into the conflict, possibly sending over irregulars to join in the fun?

    Honestly, your suggestions seem at least somewhat more workable if it were still about April, 2004, less the ones about attacking Syria and Iran, which were never workable. Back then, the chief problems were largely the “Sunni Triangle” and the Mahdi army. At this point, you have just a mess of armed elements each with their own particular goals in mind, and you have the populations that support or are aligned with each of them. The time for surgical strikes to take out “the terrorists” is long finished. If you want to get control of this situation, it involves doing it Roman-style, that is pick the most troublesome sub-population and put them to the sword. Repeat until everyone else settles down or there is nobody left. Few Americans, I think, are ready to win Iraq by genocide, however.

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