TCS Daily


Give Us Battle

By Paul J. Cella - January 24, 2007 12:00 AM

Everyone has seen them. They are all over the Web. I mean those video clips of a brief encounter between a unit of Jihadists, often in the midst of conspiring to maim and massacre by treachery, and some fighting men of the United States. Often the video is of poor quality, or filtered through some night vision contraption. Invariably it is at once exhilarating and horrifying. It puts one in the mind of a grim lament like that of Robert E. Lee: "it is well that war is so terrible; we should grow too fond of it." But the example serves to demonstrate a somewhat curious fact of this war: our enemy will not fight. He avoids battle like few adversaries we have come to grips with before.

So aside from my recommendations about how to approach Islam and Jihad as political matters, and acknowledging from the beginning my deficit of expertise on military matters, I say that one of our strategies in this war should be to maneuver our enemies into a real battle, or series of them.

This, I suspect, was a considerable part of the justification for the invasion of Iraq, though it was not often very well articulated; and should it have worked — should, that is, the invasion have compelled the disparate elements of the Jihad to give us battle on any scale where defeat for either side would have been damaging — its value to us would have been manifest.

Accomplishing this compulsion to battle will be an exceedingly difficult maneuver, to be sure. There should be no illusions about this. I cannot possibly hope to speculate on how it would be done as military matter, on the level of tactics, but I think the republic could be served by a discussion of how on the political level. Now, it cannot be doubted that a discussion such as this will have the distinctive character of a wartime discussion; and thus, that many of our countrymen, who believe there is no war on, will be alarmed and dismayed by it. This cannot be helped. If the citizens of a republic judge that war is being made against them, even if they cannot command a majority in assent to this opinion, they must be free to talk about it — even if this means a certain defiance of those who do not share it. Indeed, in my view what we have here is actually something approaching a solid majority. In any case, the questions, by means of which we could "get at" this conundrum, might look something like the following.

(1) How can we provoke the enemy to recklessness? How can we make him lose his reason? How can we drive him en masse into the field of battle, and keep him there? Once this is done, I think our military forces will be eminently capable of delivering him savage repulses, and pursuing these to resounding victories against him.

(2) How can we insure that this battle will be fought on his soil and not ours? Or, more precisely perhaps, how can we insure that any such battle, while being fought elsewhere, will not have terrorist repercussions on our shores? It cannot fail to be part of our calculation that the enemy is here, amongst us; that not merely his fanatics and planners, his mercenaries and saboteurs, but also his propagandists and subversives, are prepared to leverage our domestic vulnerabilities, which are considerable, for the advance of the Jihad. But the purpose of securing a favorable ground for combat operations is an excellent one. And here, again, I think we come in contact with a piece of reasoning — again poorly articulated — behind the Iraq war. I'm not here entering into a discussion of that conflict, except to say (a) it hasn't worked out as planned and (b) at any rate it hasn't been accompanied by real vigilance domestically. Similarly, a lot people are now talking — as they should be — about what to do about Iran. Do they ever think about what Iran might be capable of in America? We cannot neglect an estimate of what sort of resources of mayhem, sedition and intimidation the Persian Jihadists might have here in the United States. We know, for instance, that Hezbollah is active. This is a problem no patriot can ignore.

(3) How can we get a better handle on the enemy's inherent mental vulnerabilities? How can we discover his points of psychological pressure, the advantages he presents to us by virtue of his own character? The means of answering this is obvious enough: let us recur to history. That sounds like a platitude, but it is an eminently practical measure. So far in this war, it has been for the most part philosophers and strategists (broadly-defined) that have counseled us. It was a philosophical argument that led us to the Democracy Project, for instance. But history is what we really need. We need speeches delivered from the Oval Office and the floors of the houses of Congress; lectures in classrooms of the military academies; and a general climate of historical curiosity in the public square — all concerning the character and antiquity of the Jihad. We must educate ourselves, and come to better know our enemy. To do this effectively, we will also need another aspect of that measure of defiance mentioned above. The people of this republic must find in themselves a real fortitude in the teeth of the dreary orthodoxies of Tolerance and Secularism. We face a cruel, cunning and patient enemy; resisting him we require more mental toughness than we have thus far shown.

I think one thing that will be shown by this sketchy exercise of contemplation is what an oppression these orthodoxies are. Their effect has been, very simply, to prevent us from talking like the citizens of a free country at war. The one excellence that is universally said to be ours, is not allowed to operate upon the subject of our enemy. We talk so much about freedom; let us win some for ourselves and be rid of these paralyzing, pitiful pieces of yesterday's pedantry. They are so manifestly innocent of reason and fact. Men are called racists based on their criticisms of a religion, or merely certain doctrines of a religion. Critical thinking, once thought the sine qua non of Liberalism, is abandoned as a matter of principle. Idiot historical comparisons become convention. If our philosophers cannot see that on this vital issue their orthodoxy of Tolerance stands in stark antagonism to freedom . . . well, we cannot help them. We must go on without them.

We have an enemy; his agents and soldiers are among us; his resources, though scarce in some categories, are hardly inconsiderable. In many ways his weaknesses are our strengths, and ours his. Thus, as one of our overwhelming strengths is military might, we must set our minds upon the question of how we can force him to give us battle.


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231 Comments

simple, there's this place called mecca................with a rock called the kabaa
The largest mistake in this war is the concept of stateless terrorism. It just isn’t so. Terrorists cannot be successful in this world at the level of hez b'allah or al quiada or even the mahdi army without state sponsorship.

In the case of the shia groups hez b'allah & mahdi army, Iran is THE state, bar none.
Iran has played the roll Russia did in the Vietnam war, and been allowed to do so for 6 years running now with no repercussions, either our leaders are not as smart as a significant portion of the US population or their goals are not the obvious.

In the case of Al quiada, the suadis are responsable %100.

At this point the leadership of saudi arabia is treading a fine line since most of the Al quiada recruits are from the wealthy & royal families. In other words in SA, cousins are at each other & aunts & uncles are refusing to give up the bad guys and most of the government is wahhabbi, not really willing to take action against Al quiada.


For the westerners on the outside, victory would be easy given our resources except that we are psychologically weak, we have allowed insanely impractical people to make our laws. The type that stands there in wide eyed wonder and disbelief as the guy they just picked up hitchhiking puts a knife THROUGH them.

Without the insane PC crowd, removing the Shia holy city of Qom (on a good day when most of the mullahs are there) would "fix" the Persians without destroying them as a people, it would actually free them to a certain extent.

Then there is Mecca and the kabaa, a large black meteorite that has been worshiped by arabs long before mohhamad. A large thermonuclear device attached to the top of the kabaa with plenty of instructions about the size of the blast if it is messed with, would "fix" the sunni/al quiada problem.

By detroying Qom, the persian problem would be over.
By threatening to destroy mecca, we would either stop this jihad cold or bring it to full boil (what it needs, EVERYONE out of the closet and in the field).

One of the clarifying things about the bush presidency has been the number of anti-Americans of all stripes both foriegn & domestic that have come out of the closet and declaired their evil intent. I have my intense problems with this president, his effect on the enemy is not one of them. He certainly stirs them into a foolish frenzy, both Al quiada and democrats have shown their truely evil colors during this last 6 years. This is a good thing as the biggest problem in this war is our own population that harbors people so insanely afraid of conflict that they deny it is happening. They need to be put with the women & children during these dangerous times. No insult meant to women & children.

They will not give battle because they are not at war...
We think that we are at war. But the people of Iraq already lost that war to us. Now they expect us to either take over their country, move in, live with them, share our lives with their lives, raise our children with their children, side by side as brothers who might not get along a lot of the time and who might fight about it, in their ancient world as they have always lived, and where they might someday embrace some amount of social progress on their own terms (not losing their culture but drawing us into theirs) or we should go home. We own them. Indeed we own this entire planet if we want to impose ourselves on any part of it.

But if we take that responsibility then we must deliver life, liberty, health and property to the Iraqi citizens. Or they have the natural right of rebellion.

So what are we going to do? Keep Iraq or give it back? Don't expect these guys to gather in one place so we can kill them fast. Their fighters need to die slowly enough that they can breed replacments and they will resist our occupation (if we will not give them enough respect to keep what we have taken) for 1000 years.

This is outrageous!!! The enemy won't conform to our battle plan
Maybe we need new enemies who will do what the Pentagon wants.

Bravo
I won’t quibble with the “how” but I applaud the clear call to arms. As the author notes, we not only need to fight a military war but we need leadership at home to fight an intellectual war. We need to rally the nation – or the better part of the nation – to the fight.

I suggest that this war will be an uglier war than those in the past. We are facing one of the most savage [1] enemies we have every faced and we must fight them savagely if we are to prevail. We need to re-think our ethics of war; actually we need to re-establish our tradition of fighting barbaric enemies [2]. We’ve become soft, too soft.

[1] http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_libertyandculture_archive.html
[2] http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/2006/12/cicero-on-just-war.html

A modest proposal
I'm still laughing.

Lots of luck convincing the various forces arrayed against us in Iraq that they should line up in rows against us wearing red coats. I don't think anyone is quite so dumb.

How about in Vichy France, 1994. The beleaguered French Resistance is facing a possible defeat under the combined efforts of the Wehrmacht, the Vichy government and the Gestapo. At a clandestine meeting, someone stands up and says "I have an idea!"

"Let's all buy uniforms, so we can be legal combatants, and then we can buy some tanks and artillery and planes and stuff. And then we can go out into some convenient open field and challenge Germany to an all-out battle. We'll go toe to toe."

How do you think the vote would go on that approach?

If our intrepid analyst, Mr Cella, feels so strongly that this is a viable approach he might dye his hair black, let his beard go for a week or two, and get himself airlifted into Adhamiya or al-Anbar. He can infiltrate the baddies and run his idea up the flag pole with them. And see if they salute.

Your call to arms
What do we do if no one wants to play with us?

We already have a military machine superior to that of the rest of the world combined-- only they're not combined. Suppose nobody wants to fight us?

Do we then bomb them? Certainly if we create massive civilian deaths, soneone must want to fight us. But what, then, if they don't play fair? What if they fight us like the Iraqis?

Great idea
Here he is again, the Invisible Man.

We can all see you, man. You might as well put on your clothes.

But I see your point. How can we promote a war with them unless we stir them up? Nuking the Kaaba would be the way to go.

Be sure to wait until the day of the Hajj. That way you can kill a million or more of them. Then we can have our war with the other 1,299,000,000 of them.

BTW we may need to increase our troop strength first. And be sure to tell them this war is for peace.

It's our traditions
You fight fire with fire. I explain this in my links. Civilized rules of warfare are appropriate when fighting a civilized enemy. When the enemy continually resorts to means abhorrent to civilized warfare, we are no longer under the obligation to fight in a civilized manner. This is a 2000 year tradition going back to Rome. Only in the post-WWII period have we tied our hands. These so-called rules of war are meant to neutralize our military and allow savages to succeed.

The deliberate targeting of civilians (in Israel, for example) is completely accepted in Islamic nations and has been for sometime. We’ve failed to give warning that we can and will use similar methods – from the sky – if they continue to embrace such barbaric methods of fighting. Instead we’ve capitulated and appeased. We’ve given Arafat, the father of modern terrorism, political control of areas of the West Bank.

We need completely new leadership capable of explaining how a barbaric enemy is fought. We need to fight like George Washington:
http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/2006/12/cicero-on-just-war.html



Cowards
Thay are cowards. Unlike the French in WW2 or other resistance groups there is one diference. The other groups fought for something like national independance. These people fight to kill. They have no ideology other than the ideology of death. A Theocracy based upon absolute rule by fear is hardly motivating except to the most hate and ignorance filled man.

Why You're Losing
I think this post is a pretty good example showing why you're losing the war in Iraq.

And no, it's not because the enemy isn't so stupid as to line up on the street for you to mow them down.

It's at the end of the post, where you attack liberals.

You are so concerned about fighting liberals, so hateful of things like pluralism and tolerance and diversity that you cannot help but to telegraph, even in brief encounters, your utter comptempt for anyone who is or who thinks differently from you.

Your 'allies' see this. They see that you hold all Muslims, and not just the bad ones, in contempt.

That's why you're losing a war in a Muslim country and why, as your own country becomes increasingly diverse, you are losing it on home soil as well.

You want to learn how to win a war?

Learn to respect people of other nations, other faiths, other languages, other skin colours.

I'm betting you can't do this.

Good luck with the surrender and withdrawal. Try not to kill too many Iraqis on the way out.

Bravo
Kudos

You put this very elegantly. I agree with you 100%

You both confirm the author's thesis. Thanks.
You mean how we respected Nazism and the Imperial Japanese savage manner of slaughtering all that stood in their way of conquest?

No war has been won by respecting the enemy in a moral sense. It was been won by respecting the enemy’s prowess and fighting against the enemy’s strength. The enemy uses an “attack and deny” methodology because they can’t stand up to a conventional military war. They fight by targeting and killing civilians using covert means because they know we won’t use those means.

Start fighting like the enemy and they lose. Who is stopping us from fighting like the enemy? First of all, the left! But conservatives don’t have the guts to fight this savage enemy either. They cling to the Judeo-Christian model when we need to fight like a Roman. Remember Carthage?

you won't quibble with how....
no one will - cause no one knows how to DO THIS

if they *did* this 'war' would've been over before we even went to Iraq by getting all the nasty guys in Afghanastan

how is this some 'great realization', some epiphany? DUH, to beat the bad guys you have to fight the bad guys in *meaningful* battles

oh, and yeah, lets throw away all of our values away in order to win this (i'd just love to see another Nagasaki on our hands), lets lower ourselves to the level of the guys we're fighting (OUT OF PHILOSPHICAL DIFFERENCES, ie MORAL ISSUES) in order to fix this mess our fearless leader got us into

Sun Tzu
After 9-11 I appreciate rather quickly that I knew relatively little about modern Islam but especially the Islamists or radical Muslim movement. Since I had just retired I had the time to research much of what had been said about them but more importantly what our enemy was saying.

It was quickly obvious that they had "gone to school" on the USA, our weakness, our strength. They had studied and learned the real lessons of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. They had studied the teaching of Sun Tzu either directly or indirectly through more recent interpreters like Mao,Ho Chi Min, General Giap, Che Guevera, etc. They understood asymmetrical warfare far better than the average western leaders, even many of our military leaders.

Our enemies know that have "useful idiots" here in the West who by blaming the USA for all the world's evils will easily side with them over those wanting and understanding how to defend the homeland.

Look at our broadcast media and national dailies have they helped to explain why these enemies are so dangerous and why standing together and being patient is important. No, instead in the supposed name of the public's right to know they have broadcast top secret and classified program about programs and methods.

Now ever before the first extra troop has arrived in Iraq the media and Democrats oppose the new Bush plan.

Our enemy knows us so well from the lessons of Tet in Vietnam, that all they had to do was increase violence during 2006 and ensure that our media was fed properly to affect a dramatic change in American public perception. Why did our enemy do what they did in 2006? It was an American election year. Remember not only did violence rise in Iraq, but on the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Southern Lebanon, and Iran raised the stakes.

All of these tactics, strategies and more are available and not difficult to learn.

One of Sun Tzu primary theories was knowing win to fight and knowing when to avoid fighting. Having extreme patience was critical to Sun Tzu. Ho Chi Min planned the Se Asian conflict to be able to last for generations if necessary. Americans run on a two year election cycle.

Sun Tzu's Art of War is readily available. Take time to read it.

Afghanistan?
What on earth are you talking about? The “bad guys” i.e. Islamic jihadi left Afghanistan 5 years ago and setup shop in Pakistan. Are you saying we should invade Pakistan? The battle in Afghanistan isn’t being fought correctly either because the enemy is religious in nature -- they aren’t confined to national boundaries drawn by colonial powers.

The only thing Bush has achieved in Afghanistan is to get Musharraf to put some pressure on the enemy with Pakistan until Bush is out of office. Now that Bush’s mandate is lost, Musharraf no longer feels the need to comply.

That’s right; we knew how to fight a warrior religion in WWII – by the air and with devastating weapons. A religious warrior wants to fight and die gallantly in battle; but crush them from the air and you remove the meaning from their struggle. That’s how you fight a savage warrior ideology.

That's our tradition and values.

No Subject
We need to use our electronic genius and jam any radio or TV program that preaches anti-american. We need to substitute situation comedys that ridicule Islamis beliefs. We need to close our borders to the people iof any nation where official hate is taught. It should hurt more to hate us than to love us. Right now it costs nothing to twist the tiger's tail. Time for the tiger to bite.

that's great! Except
What's your plan here? Have the terrorists all wear a special hat and colored shirt so we can find them? Kill the whole population? Noting how evil the enemy is really isn't a strategy for victory. I mean, they're the enemy. How do we deal with them?

What Sun Tzu says about lengthy campaigns
This may ring a bell:

He who wishes to fight must first count the cost. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue... In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.
-Sun Tzu, the Art of War

Where?
>We need to use our electronic genius and jam any radio or TV program that preaches anti-american.

Where? Anywhere? You mean, start more wars?

The gentlemanly art of warfare
Oh, for the days when gentlemen wore dashing uniforms, and faced one another bravely on the fields of glory, eh?

When someone invades my country without provocation, there are no more rules. I will wait until one of them is drunk one night and staggering back to base. Then I will drag him into the alley and commit unpleasantries on his person. Unprovoked aggression breaks all the rules.

What do you suppose the Palestinians want? Didn't they used to live there, until they were driven off?

Oh, if only ...
The problem was that they weren’t dragged off.

In the late 1940s Pakistan ethnically-cleansed their nation of Hindus; the USSR cleared out Poles from Eastern Poland and annex the territory; Germans were cleansed from Eastern Germany to make room for the Poles; and in the 1950s Jews were ethnically cleansed from all Arab and Muslim lands from the Atlantic to Iran.

But Israel maintained a 20% population of Arabs and allowed the enemy to camp at her border. She gave back land gained in wars again and again. Israel is too nice; that’s the problem.

We invaded Germany and Japan but we don’t have a problem with German and Jap terrorists since. Israel can’t do that and unfortunately we can’t do it anymore. Until we do, expect more terrorism and most likely a nuclear strike on US soil. Then people will listen to those of us who say we must return to our tradition of killing the enemy instead of “winning hearts and minds” like Bush & his neo-con friends dream about.

Thugs
They are really little more than thugs. Order can only be restored by allowing the Iraqi government to restore order. However, this means that the Sadr army, etc need to be dealt with. They are a huge part of this. Until the Sadr army is removed there can be no peace. In fact, I fail to see why we allowed him and space at all. This is the result of fighting a PC war. Additionally, Iran is a huge player and the left refuse to deal with Iran. Alas, I think Iran will eventually Nuke Israel and then what? They had it coming? Iran is pretty easy to deal with in this issue. We simply patrol the skies near the border and if we suspect terrorist, we blow them up irrespective of which side of the border they are on. It is hard to get any type of victory however when the Democrats are utterly invested in our defeat. The left in this country wants it and needs it.

the author has a good thesis
"No war has been won by respecting the enemy in a moral sense. It was been won by respecting the enemy’s prowess and fighting against the enemy’s strength."

You don't have to respect the enemy's morality, but it is a good idea to respect your own. But yes, respect their prowess, and fight against their weakness, not their strengths. How many wars have been won by attacking an enemy's strength? Thats foolish.


"Start fighting like the enemy and they lose. Who is stopping us from fighting like the enemy? First of all, the left!"

First of all, anyone with a brain stops us from fighting like the enemy. You agree the terrorists are dogs, less than human, right? When you fight with their tactics, you are no better than them. By that logic, you Pappas, are a dog, less than human. Thats your argument, we should lower ourselves to their level. Thats how they defeat us. Our traditions of war and conflict have taught us we are better than that. We fight the way we do because of what we've learned from military tradition. This conflict is nothing like WWII. The more we kill, the more the enemy grows in ranks. The war in Iraq and the war on terror are not winnable by military means alone. We could drop nukes, it would probably scare the populace into submission. Or it might inspire the ones left to be even more bold to attack us. Either way, it gives the green light to the world that nuclear explosions to kill Americans is acceptable. Your macho perspective is foolish, its part of what has gotten us into the mess in Iraq in the first place.

It's not how they fight but what they fight for
I would never say “terrorists are dogs, less than human.” They are obviously members of the human species. They may be savage but that’s a type of human being. And it’s not how they fight that’s the problem; it’s what they fight for: Islam. Islam is a primitive imperialist warrior religion in essence.

Secondly this “lowering ourselves” is silly talk. War is brutal. It’s not about some moral vanity, “we’re better than them.” If they’re dead and we’re not, we’re better. War is about survival. We used nukes in WWII and while I believe we can avoid that now I have no moral qualms on the matter. The tool just isn't needed.

They are emboldened by 50 years of appeasement and that policy of appeasement continues under Bush.

OK, thugs
Problem is still, what do we do about it?
The elected Iraqi government won't remove Sadr. Do we install a new government. And Iran - we're already patrolling the sky, we're already rousting people in the Iranian embassy. But the problems in Iraq would remain even if there were a friendly government in Iran.

>It is hard to get any type of victory however when the Democrats are utterly invested in our defeat. The left in this country wants it and needs it.

The war's been going on now since 2003, and every prediction made by the administration has been wrong since the fall of Baghdad. It's not the fault of the left that Bush & Co haven't gotten anything right. Congress has given Bush everything he asked for.

what am i talking about?
Afghanistan - you know, the place where we went to war first, where the bad guys that started this 'long war' were hiding....

(i know, my last post was really hard to understand... and i'm not a sarcastic ass)

and bombs dont do much to crush as rebellion/guerilla war when, as in Vietnam, the country is already in the stone age, unless we literally carpet bomb the whole plce into oblivion- and we're liberators, right?

You must not have understood Downes' comments
Don't take your lack of understanding out on me

intolerance
Sir Karl Raimund Popper (28 July 1902 – 17 September 1994) Austrian-born British philosopher of science.


[edit] Sourced
Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them… We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.
The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945)

The first rule in warfare
is to pick the battlefield. Allowing the enemy to pick the battlefield is the first serious step towards defeat. The US has consistently allowed the enemy in Iraq to do this, and as a result the US is facing the consequence.

In the early 1950s, a now largely forgotten general repeatedly lamented "If only the cowards would come out to fight". It was one of his last public statements because the result about six months later was Dien Bien Phu. In the late 1960s, an American general remarked to Giap at the Geneva conference that the US won all the battles in Vietnam to which Giap replied that while true it was quite irrelevant to the outcome.

In Iraq, the insurgents/rebels/terrorists/militia are fighting on their chosen ground. And, based on results to date, they are winning. And some of us grim old conservatives predicted this dismal outcome, (along with a host of generals, real ones with field commands, not Pentagon armchair hussars). This author's bleating simply confirms this result publicly. He commits the cardinal sin of a losing war by acknowledging it publicly. Since the insurgents et.al. are our enemy, this twit's article simply tells the insurgents publicly to keep doing what they've been doing only more so.

A second rule of warfare is always to attack the enemy's greatest weakness. The insurgents have been doing that, namely the inability of the US forces to protect the Iraqi population and its government institutions and thus bringing about a state of civil war and anarchy. Until the US demonstrates it has an effective defense against truck bombs, the insurgents would be truly stupid to abandon what has worked so successfully. By contrast, the principal weakness of the insurgents has been their access to money and weapons coming from outside Iraq, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. Given the lamentable inability/unwillingness to sever their supply lines, the US is failing here as well.

A third rule of warfare is that there are no rules. Chivalry ended with the musketball, and so eventually did formally organized battlefields. Warfare is the execution of politics through violence (saith Clausewitz). The insurgents are doing that, and they're winning because like Vietnam the US fought the war with both hands tied behind its back and failed to understand the nature of the battlefield.

The neo-con (ex Liberals) who handed the enemy this victory richly deserve to be damned for eternity for their colossal blunder. I have little doubt that in future Iraq will be remembered as America's Teutoberger Forest. "Varus! Varus! Where are my legions!"

Glad we've finally figured out that invading Iraq was a colossal mistake
Anyone have a good idea for a way out? Or are we just going to do the usual blame-the-democrats routine.

Wrong
"They are emboldened by 50 years of appeasement and that policy of appeasement continues under Bush. "

Appeasement is irrelevant. They are emboldened by useless and ineffective conduct of the war by the US. They are winning because the US has utterly failed to counter their military tactics and is losing the will to fight.

"It’s not about some moral vanity, “we’re better than them.”"

Also wrong. Every war into which the US has entered has been on a basis of moral superiority, and it is a required condition by the American public to undertake such sacrifice. This war was no exception.

"We used nukes in WWII and while I believe we can avoid that now I have no moral qualms on the matter."

Also wrong. The use of nuclear weapons was a highly moral decision, because it was made to avoid the slaughter of millions by conventional weapons. The American public will not tolerate an immoral use of such weapons, i.e. the slaughter of neutral or friendly noncombatants in their use.

Some of us
old diehards knew that invading was a mistake from the getgo. When faced with defeat, one is in a salvage situation. Baker-Hamilton proposed a recipe for salvaging something from the fiasco, but the administration appears to have largely thrown it overboard, showing that it's as bankrupt in courage as it is in imagination. As for blame, that happens anyway. It's part of the punishment inflicted on all for being caught up in a rout.

No Subject
Tell us about the alternatives. Sometimes all the choices are bad, and some are worse.

You have to start
with what is, not what we wish the situation was. Being deluded about Iraq and its internal factions was the first and greatest mistake of government policy. B-H takes a large step towards this.

Second, there's never going to be any real resolution of the problem until the US has the guts to go after the real sources of the problem. Follow the money. Many of the roots of the US problems are found in Saudi Arabia.

Third, understand the difference between local insurgency and international terrorism. This is a classic mistake that the US has persisted in throughout the post WW2 era. Policymakers persisted in seeing international communism in what was nothing more than anticolonial uprising (Vietnam for example). Unless we can distinguish what is international terrorism from what is about local forces we can never make progress; we will keep getting dragged into side issues.

Fourth, win back the trust and respect of our international allies and make serious attempts to reform international institutions. Yes, they are corrupt and inefficient in the case of the UN, but they have become so at least in part because of US neglect. It's necessary because if the US is going to act internationally, multilateralism is the only alternative, however messy and awkward it may be, to empire by the sword. And we've just seen how well that worked.

A great statesman, I think it was Metternich, once said that diplomacy is the fine art of leaving everyone equally unhappy. The lesson is that the US needs a good deal more realism in its foreign policy (aka Nixon, Reagan, Eisenhower) than delusions, (Bush, Carter, Kennedy).

Give us a new way of thinking
This is a decent article. Creative thoughts at least, different perspective. But kinda juvenile.

Surely its ridiculous that insurgents, etc. are going to face the American military in a direct fight to capture ground. That is an example of "old" warfare thinking. The war in Iraq is new kind of war, we must fight it in a new way. Essentially, that is why we're failing in Iraq. Fighting "new" war with "old" methods.

"(1) How can we provoke the enemy to recklessness? How can we make him lose his reason? How can we drive him en masse into the field of battle, and keep him there?"

We can't do this. Frankly, to discuss it is a waste of time. Same for the scare-mongering of Hezbollah on American soil and the idea we need more speeches and lectures to be successful in Iraq.

"It was a philosophical argument that led us to the Democracy Project, for instance."

The Democracy Project was an afterthought of the Administration. It was third or fourth in the successive justifications put forth for being in Iraq. As was necessary when each justification offered was eventually proven false. They thought we could break it and not buy it, they were so wrong. Just one of the many reasons Bush and his cronies are incompetent. America has the mental toughness for the job, we just don't have the leadership for the job.

"We talk so much about freedom; let us win some for ourselves and be rid of these paralyzing, pitiful pieces of yesterday's pedantry. They are so manifestly innocent of reason and fact. Men are called racists based on their criticisms of a religion, or merely certain doctrines of a religion. Critical thinking, once thought the sine qua non of Liberalism, is abandoned as a matter of principle. Idiot historical comparisons become convention. If our philosophers cannot see that on this vital issue their orthodoxy of Tolerance stands in stark antagonism to freedom . . . well, we cannot help them. We must go on without them."

This is confusing. Its good stuff up to the point about Tolerance. Neo-cons are anything but tolerant. And absolutely the neo-cons who took us into Iraq are devoid of reason and fact, call people names for their criticism, and reject critical thinking. Indeed, lets be rid of these fools in politician's clothing.


The problem with Iraq is its not our war anymore. We're policing a civil war. Bush's surge plan is a way to take back the war. It seems like a good plan, take the neighborhoods and keep them, versus taking them and then giving them back. But the surge is way too few soldiers, and when its time to remove the militia's we will have a tough fight. But Bush is right when he says the Iraqi's have to step up. Thats been the case for over a year, I don't see whats different now all of a sudden. 21,000 more troops in Iraq is just 21,000 more chances for insurgents to kill Americans, when they're not busy killing each other. I hope the plan works, but optimism is hard to muster. At least one last push is a clear signal to the Iraqi's that they better step up now, or we're going to leave them to fight it out themselves. American presence isn't bringing securtiy, so whats the point of staying? The country is partitioning itself, maybe Joe Biden's plan to partition is the best plan after all. Time will tell. Bush's borrowed time that is.

What kind of psychobabble is this?
"You want to learn how to win a war? Learn to respect people of other nations, other faiths, other languages, other skin colours." So what are you suggesting, we set up some sort of encounter groups? This is one of the stupidest statements I have ever read. This is perhaps a formula to avoid wars in some cases but once a war is in progress this is absurd. In addition, this notions that we hate pluraism and diversity is bunk. Define diversity? I don't hate anyone who make a effort to earn my respect. Diversity as defined by the left means I HAVE to accept all views regardless how offensive or wrong I see them. Of course, you don't respect my views. Well sorry, I do not have to accept all views as equally valid because they are NOT all equally valid. Suggesting so is like saying 2+2 = 5 is a OK answer if it makes you feel good. Lets take Iran. This nation is threatening to nuke Israel and I am supposed to "understand" their culture? Spare me the platitudes. This dribble is nauseating.

Nothing
Bush got nothing right. Not one thing. Come on. This is absurd. They economy is going well despite the lies of the MSM. What about Afganistan? Was that a good move? If so, consider, they didn't attack us either. Why was that OK? Sure I think we have made lots of mistakes. Name me one war that many were not? In 5 years we have lost about 3000 troops. In WW2 we lost 600,000 in the same time. WOuld you still support WW2 nowdays if it were to happen today instead of then? After the Battle of the Coral Sea we lost the USS Lexington and the Yorktown was badly damaged. We lost the Phillipines and many other place fell to Japanese domination. We were losing. Would the left today call for negotiation or understanding? How about tolerance and diversity of Japanese? I suspect yes. I think the issue here is we have lost our stomach to fight for anything. It is a sad state. It is like this stupid resolution. The new commander of US forces told the Senator windbags it gives hope to the enemy and they pass it anyway. If the left wants out so bad cut the funding. Do it. Why won't they? Because they know that the public wants victory, not withdrawl and they are not willing to vote their beliefs, they only vote what gives them hope of electoral success. It is spinless like the Senate in general. Give hope to the enemy? Yes, it does and it is yet another investment in defeat. The left cannot afford victory at this point. Notice they did not clap at the notion of victory in the State of the Union? They have no concept of victory. Still trapped in the 60's are they?

Muslims fighting tolerance
Fundamental muslims are fighting the west's 'tolerance' for 'diversity'.

The West now criticizes morality and extolls debauchery.

That is what they are fighting.

You guts dropped more bombs on Vietnam then the whole WW11 and you still lost.
Yet JasonPappas still thinks you could win the war on terror by bombing. Dumb ass.

And we'll never get a resolution...
as long as we're dependent on Saudi Arabia, and Middle East at large, for black gold, our mobile society, our very economy really. We'll always be restrained by that fact, as long as it remains a fact.

Nice comments by the way ColinH.

I agree with you, but you are wrong on one issue
"Until we do, expect more terrorism and most likely a nuclear strike on US soil. Then people will listen to those of us who say we must return to our tradition of killing the enemy instead of “winning hearts and minds” like Bush & his neo-con friends dream about."

I doubt it. if the nuke kills a few thousand in some suburb, the U.S. will scream in the U.N. and decry the loss of innocent life. Then we will do nothing. We are too soft, we will not fight and kill afew thousand in Iraq to gain peace and freedom for million; why would we risk world condemnation for killing millions with (god forbid) nukes.

If the day you describe ever does come, there will be too many roys and lemuels screaming that we deserved it and need to make a proportionate response. Don't think for a minute the U.S. will ever fight an all-out war; it will never happen. Part of the dissatisfaction with the present situation in Iraq is that we will not fight. People are tired of the same old "win the hearts and minds", hands tied operation we've been involved in since Korea.

Want to see the poll numbers rise on support for the war in Iraq? Do something and take the fight to the enemy!!!!!!

Muslims fighting tolerance
Fundamental muslims are fighting the west's 'tolerance' for 'diversity'.

The West now criticizes morality and extolls debauchery.

That is what they are fighting.

Thanks for the reference
It is crazy to tolerate intolerance.

Especially when it is exercised by intolerant 'liberals'.

Why is Vietnam communist?
If it was only an anti-colonial uprising?

Develop our own resources
What/who has prevented the USA from fully developing its own oil, coal, gas and nuclear power resources?

Tolerant 'liberals'.

You like most Americans don't get it.
Colin: “Appeasement is irrelevant. They are emboldened by useless and ineffective conduct of the war by the US. They are winning because the US has utterly failed to counter their military tactics and is losing the will to fight.”

They’re related.

We aid and support our enemies. Whether it is Saudi Arabia, the driving force behind the Sunni variant of Islamism; Mubarak, whose media is a major source of anti-American hatred; Arafat and his merry band of terrorists (Condi was in for a photo op with Arafat’s successor just the other day); or Pakistan, which is behind the Taliban – we seem to continue to support our enemy.

As soon as Hamas was elected, Condi was busy looking for loopholes to support the new terrorist state under a humanitarian banner. How long was it after Israel responded to Iranian aggression from Southern Lebanon when our government intervened to pull Israel back (and who knows what reigns were imposed behind close doors?)

We saved Muslims in the Balkans, helped the Afghans fight the USSR, helped the fundamentalists in Kuwait get rid of Saddam, help Egypt get back the Sinai, took Nasser’s side in the Suez crisis, we spend trillions (and 3000+ lives) trying to create a shining new democracy in Iraq, and we protect Saudi Arabia from external threats.

Bush’s removal of Saddam was a victory that the whole Arab world understood including Qadaffi. But he followed that with a utopian nations-building program to “win their hearts and minds.” The fool believed these savages, who’ve been killing each other for 40 years, would take to a liberal order.

Colin: “Every war into which the US has entered has been on a basis of moral superiority, and it is a required condition by the American public to undertake such sacrifice. This war was no exception.”

True but given the enemy, that’s holding the bar very low. We fire bombed Tokyo on March 10-11th 1945 killing 100,000 -- the same number as an atomic bomb. But we backed off. After that we dropped leaflets to warn civilians of our bombings. It was only after we resumed that level of killing civilians in August did we win the war. Being superior is easy given the savage nature of the enemy; being perfect is a fool’s game. That's what the PC crowd asks.

“Also wrong. The use of nuclear weapons was a highly moral decision, because it was made to avoid the slaughter of millions by conventional weapons.”

Who told you that? The only concern was to prevent the deaths of our troops (including my father); that it saved civilian lives is beside the point. That is something people later noted to appease the PC crowd.

“The American public will not tolerate an immoral use of such weapons, i.e. the slaughter of neutral or friendly noncombatants in their use.”

Yes, that’s true. Americans no longer can kill. That’s why we’ll be killed in large numbers. We are a nation that relies on experience rather than inference. We need to be bashed in our heads before we realize we have an enemy: Pearl Harbor, 9/11, … it will get worse.

I hope you're wrong but
I hope you're wrong but I have the same doubts.

They are developed
We don't have nearly enough. Opening the North Slope and offshore California and Florida would be, literally, drops the in bucket; buy us a little slack but no more. You can whine about environmental this and that, but the bottom line remains the same: we have to import more than half our oil. Drilling everywhere might get this down to 45 percent or so. But sure, if it weren't for the liberals the US would have more oil under its land.

Not if you only fight half the enemy.
Yes, if you only fight the enemy in location A while they regroup in location B, you don't achieve much.

Right now we "liberated" Afghanistan ... or so the American people believe. But they only thing we did was chase the enemy into Pakistan where they are re-grouping. In Iraq we removed Saddam but decided to implant a liberal democracy. They enemy in Iran doesn't want that but we won't fight them as they fight us.

By the way, we won the cold war ... you remember the USSR?

One only needs to make a few examples. We were on our way to making an example of Iraq when Bush went on a humanitarian detour. Quadaffi understood but now he sees it was premature to believe that we've become tough again.

We don't have to wipe out our enemy; we only have to let them know we can and will kill their family and level their village. As "Papa Doc" Assad what leveling a town can do (Google Hama & Assad)

It probably wouldn't be, if we hadn't stepped in
It's evolving away from it now, as the USSR did and China is. Killing 2 million Vietnamese didn't help us, or Vietnam, or anyone else.

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