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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

And Now The Danger, And The Decision

Update below at end.

We don't have much time - things are going to start moving fast and hard. The election decided nothing, but what's going to happen in the next month will decide a great deal. Our enemies will greet this election with joy, no doubt about it. They will believe they have the initiative because of it.

This is not a slam against anyone who voted Dem, btw. I agree that the GOP deserved to lose, but we will now see whether the Dems deserved to win.

What's going to have to happen is that the congressional Republicans and Democrats have to make a united stance and present a united front against our enemy, and I'm not sure that either side is up to it. Regardless of how each person voted, we all need to press our representatives and senators to put the national interest first in at least one area, and that's the position of our deployed military forces.

Perversely, this election has created an opportunity to really demoralize and depress the opposition in Iraq. As a result of this election, the Iraqi government (which has been extremely ineffective) will be terrified that we will leave, and the Bush adminstration now has great political leverage there. If we redouble our efforts, the opposition will be utterly daunted. For years they have been telling their base is that we will never hold. They've been telling them that they don't have to win, all they have to do is not give up. They've been promising them that we don't have the stomach for this, and that we will lose the political will to keep it up. They've been telling them that the US will lose the will and that this loss of will be signaled by a change of political control.

If the outgoing Republican leadership and the incoming Democratic leadership would meet, and then meet with Bush, and then issue a combined statement, it would severely shake up Al-Qaeda. If this were followed by decisive military action, it would destroy their entire narrative. This is reality. What was impossible a week ago for the Bush administration in Iraq is now possible - if we can show some nerve - if the Republicans and Democrats can stop playing political games. Those are big ifs.

I would like to direct your attention to a few posts from the military view as to why we should do this. First, Oak Leaf at Polipundit (in entirety):
I am writing this on Monday evening at 1700 GMT for publication long after the polls have closed on Tuesday but with the results probably still unknown. I wanted to write this while my thoughts were still fresh and prior to the election itself.

Many know that I am a reservist and recently went on a short tour in SW Asia. My duties have been varied largely along the lines of “special projects.” Currently I have been assisting in a Civil Affairs Function in Afghanistan because of a prior tour in that capacity.

This morning, I met with community leaders in a typical Afghanistan village. After our business was conducted, I was surprised by their interest in our election. While their knowledge of the mechanics of our election was on par with Americans understanding elections in Canada, they were keenly interested.

The first point that they made was this election was “between President Bush’s party and those that want to abandon Iraq.” That caught me off guard and I had to verify with my translator that “abandon” was the correct translation.

They next expressed that the Taliban would be emboldened by an Iraq pullout and that co-operation between the Afghani People and American/NATO forces would come to a halt. You have to realize that the Afghani People have little choice here. The moment they sense the mere possibility/suggestion of American Forces leaving, they will realign themselves with the Taliban. Further, the Taliban will effectively exploit American “redeployment from” Iraq. I left that exchange shaken, something that I have never felt before.

So where does all this leave America, our friends in SW Asia, my friends in Afghanistan, my uniformed comrades and myself?

Lets assume that as this blog is published, Democrats have gained control of the House. They have already stated their “position” on Iraq. The best case is that they will force our hand ans simply push a complete withdrawal from Iraq. The worse case is that they will slowly force our hand to withdrawal by cutting funding piece by piece.

What is my position at that point? If Democrats have gained control of the House, I will do everything in my soul so that we simply and immediately withdrawal completely from Iraq and not redeploy to Okinawa, but to redeploy to the United States since it will make no difference if we have troops in Okinawa or the United States. The “Okinawa Plan” is old timer thinking by Murtha and alike. Also, at that point the withdrawal needs to be complete and prompt as American Forces will be constantly targeted once the Democrats have played their hand.

Further, because every action we take in Iraq has consequences in Afghanistan, a prompt redeployment from that area will also need to take place. Our only tool in that region is the trust of the Afghan People and that trust will falter due to the fear of the Taliban.

If the Democrats are in power and want a “pullout” fine, lets do it and do it right and that is a complete withdrawal from SW Asia. My friends, there is no other choice, a deal can not be made where we do anything part way. It is all or nothing and that is the sad reality. The “final failure” of Vietnam was the “long withdrawal” after Congress became intent on the idea of pulling out. That mistake must not be made again. I ask my fellow conservatives to help make sure the troops are brought home and they are brought home now.
-- Oak Leaf
I do not like it, but I agree with him. If the real decision is to cut and run, we need to do it honestly and not pretend. Pretending won't change the outcome, but it will kill many more soldiers. If we cut and run now, we're not going to fool our enemies by pretending that we aren't. Plus we are going to need every last one of our military personnel later, because we're going to have to fight under much less favorable terms on a much broader scale. Our non-coms alone are priceless. It has taken decades to create a military with this type of knowledge, experience and dedication. This force does not deserve to be used as a political pawn and we cannot afford to piss their lives away. Whatever we do now, we must do honestly.

Next up, Uncle Jimbo of Blackfive. Uncle Jimbo wrote this post at Blackfive which linked to his discussion of his vote at the Post: Military Matters. I am going to quote a comment at the Blackfive post:
As long as my nephew is dodging IEDs in Iraq I'll give her a finger, not a chance. It's not going to be a fun two years if you're walking the streets of Baghdad facing an emboldened enemy who thinks they've influenced American elections with 104 casualties in one month. I guess they're right, what little testicular fortitude Americans have left has been sent to Iraq.

Thanks, pinkos. You just made life alot more dangerous for our deployed family members.
The problem is, I think the above is an accurate statement of the situation. Now one short statement from Uncle Jimbo's post at Military Matters:
The best thing that could happen is for the left to shed it's left wing and the right it's right one, and the rest of us meet in the middle to form the "Not a bunch of extremist bastards" party.
No kidding. I don't think the bulk of Congress cares about the national interests. My father is not around to put it with his usual terseness, but this is the way I think he would have described the situation: "We have been standing in formation with one finger in our arses and the other in our mouths, and every once in a while the order "Switch" is given." Well, I don't like the taste.

Last, but not least, I would like to quote a comment on a post at One Marine's View about an NYT article:
Propaganda is propaganda and that is how hajji measures victory. They cannot defeat us in any way but by sapping the will of the country to fight an extended war. Photos like this give them that victory. Period!

I find it interesting that you would laud the NYT for the "truth". Which truth? Who's truth? The muj? The Left? Your's? Just how in the hell did that hajji sniper know how to defeat the LCpl's body armor? From your heroes at the NYT perhaps? That lovely spread with diagrams showing how to defeat our body armor maybe? But hey, it's only the "truth" correct? And if that was your son in the photos then what? I know that LCpl, I know what combat looks like, and that did nothing but piss me off.

It's all about making us cut and run. End of story. I had the lovely pleasure of having the muj send me a video of a Marine standing next to my son taking a round in the head. Came through the BN fotopage I kept. That would be nothing more than the "truth" too right? Nothing but needing to know the "facts" correct? The two are one and the same. No difference what-so-ever.

I guess you also felt the airing of the muj snuff video by CNN was also a need to know as well eh? I agree that the NYT' Chivers at least handled the story with the brevity it deserved but to place a photo of a wounded Marine on the front page is a victory for the muj. Plain and simple. Yes, the story was riveting but people that do not want to see the result of a sniper's bullet had no choice in whether to view it or not now did they? Including the young LCpl's family. Thank you for their concern! The NYT may be your heroes but to me they suck. Our BN has paid a heavy price for their sedition. Were it you could see that!

Everyone knows that combat footage is a part of reporting war. We also know when it is being used as propaganda. I would suspect that Sites' Pulitzer winning footage of a young Marine doing a double tap was nothing more than the "truth" as well and that is just sad. I guess the study of war reporting throughout our history would turn up hundreds, if not thousands, of propaganda pieces for our enemies. Correct? This war is all about fighting a media campaign!

BTW, I've spoken with my son and a dozen other three and four tour combat Marines. To a man they condemn putting their friend on the front page of the NYT. To say they were ticked would be an understatement. I've also heard back from two dozen Marine families and not one was anything but disgusted with this.

To answer your question; "Why stop the New York Times from showing and telling the TRUTH!"

Quite simply because it gets Marines killed, creates a win for the muj, and causes an uptick in sniper fire.
Surely this man has a right to speak his mind. Surely we ought to listen to him. This fifth-column stuff must stop. I don't believe the Democratic party has the nerve to clear out, because they have no plan and they are afraid of more attacks. And if they won't clear out, then they are going to have to get in.

I am only one person with no influence, but I am sure that the American people do care about the fate of our volunteer military personnel. So what will it be? Out or in? The one thing we cannot afford is a long pause while we make up our minds. Every week costs lives, needlessly. In the next few weeks you should exercise your second vote on this issue by contacting your representative (and your representative-elect, if you have one).

Perhaps today you'll think I'm an idiot and that this post is garbage, but watch the news. Watch carefully. I think you're going to see a very fast response in multiple countries, with various terrorist groups escalating the pressure.

Others: Read Dr. M's description of the average American and her prediction about what will happen to our armed forces:
There will be no honest withdrawal. There will be micromanaging. There will be posturing. There will be trying to play both ends.

The problem with the Democratic leadership is that they cannot possibly please the "Bush Lied" folk and prosecute any war. If they pull out little by little and things go worse and worse they can justify the next pull-back, "See? That part of the War on Terror isn't working, either." It will be death by a thousand cuts. The terrorists will be emboldened. The remaining troops will be in danger. Many lives will be lost.
SC&A really has two. The Anchoress, with her normal combination of good sense and instinct for the political orientation of the American people (but I think she has erred on her predictions). Bill Whittle. Oak Leaf at Polipundit on Rumsfeld's resignation (You may not like this, folks, but you'd better read it. This is reality). And this is reality. I agree with Kevin, and I am worried that we will not hold faith with this man or other men and women so like him. The type of man who can not just write these words but live them:
In my world honor, duty, and Country are more than words, they actually mean something. Here in my world courage, integrity, and strength aren't just for the cameras, they are tools we use everyday.

I still believe that faith in God and faith in my fellow man are virtues. And ethics are what we practice, not just the name of a committee. There are such things are right and wrong, it doesn't depend on the situation.
My personal feeling is that Rumsfeld's resignation should not have been announced today. His first and both political parties' first duty is to the troops. If politicians starts driving that bus, we can't blame them for wanting to get off. Would you take a bus ride through downtown Baghdad with Pelosi giving orders? Huh? What message does this send to Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah?

Sorry to sound glum. I just got a check from a client and I'm off to deposit it so Valour-IT can get its rightful share. Dig in and hold hard, because this could be a rough one.

Slam dunk post!

I wrote along a similar track today as well.

In the end, the for the Dems to have really won, they needed a Gandhi or MLK- not the ideologies and ethics of Hamas.
Terrific post, but I would pick one nit with Oak Leaf at Polipundit. The South Vietnamese were doing more than holding their own after we departed. It was only when the Democrat led, post Watergate Congress cut off all military funding for them that the South fell. The Iraqis have two years to see if they can take care of themselves. I am not filled with optimism about them but they are on the clock. We can and will pull back but we will not cut them off.
Yes, SW, that's right. And who is holding the pursestrings now?

You see, I am a true feminist. I would not worry if any woman were Speaker of the House, as long as she had any inkling of what our military is, its purpose, or the character and the ability of the men and women in it. I wouldn't worry if Lieberman were Speaker of the House. I wouldn't worry if anyone who had spent one term of enlistment were Speaker of the House. But Pelosi?

I hate to say it, but there was a reason why people used to like to have someone with some military experience in these office. There was a reason. What's in her gut that is going to make her do the right thing when all the political pressures mount?

"On the clock" equates to "this war is lost".
I would have preferred Bush waiting to announce Rummy's departure, also...but Bush is not a man who likes to sit around waiting for stuff to happen. In the meantime, it's certainly stolen some headlines from Nancy and the Dems, eh?

Thanks for your comment. I agree, of course, that military service should be something considered before election. It should not be the only thing considered, but looking at the bio of many of our newly elected officials; there is a noticable absence of veterans.
i have to take issue with the person you wuoted who said "the enemy influenced the election with 104 dead americans in a month".

The presidents numbers, the numbers of republicans in general and that of the incumbent congress have been tanking for a LONG time.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq did not win the Dems this election, the Republicans managed to screw up so royally that the Dems walked in through an open door.

If the Republicans had responded with earlier something other than "stay the course" they may have survived. The policy was growing increasingly unpopular and rather than pointing to restoring power and water to the parts of iraq that need it the Republicans said nothing that indicated they had an overall stratergy for success.

restore power and water, purge the death squads from the military, do what it takes to get the militias to lay down arms (inclduing talking).

It is the sign of complete arrogance in power that republicans can blame terrorists for their own short comings in losing an election.

Wozza - I agree that the GOP and not Al-Qaeda lost the election. I am trying to convey the military point of view.

My personal opinion is that neither the Democrats or Republicans really wish to withdraw, but everyone thinks a change in tactics is needed. However, we will need somehow to stop making this a political domestic issue in order to form any policy, and I think a decent respect for the Iraqis and our military requires this.

Have political spinners taken over the political essence of our nation? I don't know.
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