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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Musings from an amateur historian

Yesterday, as was my habit on Wednesday, I was having lunch with my WWII friends, and the topic was what were they doing when they heard of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. About ten or twelve of the guys got up and told stories of being in a theater watching a movie when the movie was stopped and the announcement made. Or being on a date and asking their date "where's Pearl Harbor?". Another one of the guys told about also being at the movies with his friends and again, the movie being stopped and the news reported. And he and his friends seeing that they were seated behind a group of girls, proceeded to introduce themselves. And that was the first time he met his future wife. And with the report of the Baker/Hamilton Commission I've been thinking and reading about the comparisons between WWII and the GWOT.

I'm a WWII history buff. I have been for most of my life. And it appears to me that many Americans (and seemingly all Europeans) have yet to apply critical analysis to the GWOT. And as I see politics evolve, it appears to me that many Americans do not have the ability to do critical analysis. That being said, I'll take the title from a Victor Davis Hanson (VDH) book called "A War Like No Other" and apply it to the GWOT.

In the GWOT there is no enemy with a return address. There is no Tokyo Bay to sail into to have surrender documents signed. There is no school house in Reims were we can take the unconditional surrender of the combat leaders to order their soldiers to lay down their arms. There is no Berlin to bomb to kill all the leaders of the enemy in one fell swoop. There is no Battle of Midway that signals the turning of the tide of battle. No Battle of Leyte Gulf where we can point and say we established supremacy over our enemy. This is a war that may easily go on for decades.
I have a number of friends who are retired Special Operations (Spec Ops). They range from a Green Beret, a Force Recon sniper, a Navy SEAL, a couple of Airborne Rangers, and even a former member of Spetsnaz . And most of the GWOT is fought by the Special Warfare troops. You and I will never hear of the SEALs Boat Squads that will insert and carry out an intelligence gathering mission or maybe even a Direct Action. Special Air Services will do high level assassinations-and you and I will never know happened.This is a war where the vast majority of the war is fought off the front pages and top of the hour news reports. Accept that fact! This is a war where the troops believe they are obeying their god, not following a political leader who can be proven wrong. And the enemy has no respect for any infidel-conservative, liberal, Jew, Christian, Hindi, Buddhist, man, woman, child. He wants to kill them all.
It's wrong to refer to the conflict in Iraq as "The War in Iraq". It's properly referred to as the "Battle in Iraq". Or even as "The Battle for Iraq". The war with radical Islam will continue on no matter what the outcome is in Iraq. This is a single battle in that war. As I've heard it said "Rather fight them there rather than here."
And you hear the public discourse hover around the point that we're "losing the war in Iraq". Time for a little critical analysis:
One of my Christian friends always believes that we should be able tell what we believe and also why. That we have an obligation not to just spout an opinion or a position but be able to defend it by sharing the reasoned knowledge that led us to that conclusion.
So, when you hear someone say that "we're losing the battle/war/whatever" ask them why they believe that. Ask them upon what do they base their opinion. I remember a business associate that always had an opinion. And always wanted to have an opinion. But he never wanted to exert any effort to be able to have an informed, reasoned, well thought out opinion. Ask them where the vast majority of conflict takes place (there are eighteen provinces. The bulk of the fighting and killings take place in two, two of those provinces). Ask them to list any successes that they're aware of that have taken place in Iraq (here is a list of accomplishments as of 10-03 and this from a short article on Fox News Sunday in June, 2004).
Here is a clip that preceded a follow-up to the Fox News Sunday article called "Winning Iraq-The Untold Story" that was broadcast about a year ago. Greg Palkolt was the reporter and readily admits that he was not a war supporter. But, the Fox News team roamed Iraq for about five weeks. Here is brief clip highlighting the story (be sure to view it in Internet Explorer). Pay very close attention to what he says about "The Green Zone" and that this is where almost all American reporters keep themselves. And then remember that the Baker/Hamilton committee, save one member, ever ventured out of the Green Zone when the went on their "fact finding" trip to Iraq. And then ask your "we're losing the war" nay sayer why they've never seen or heard anything like this...or this (and be sure to read the comments).
Here is an audio clip of Hugh Hewitt's interview with Victor Davis Hanson about the battle in Iraq. And about the larger GWOT.
This is a war like no other.
And most Americans do not understand that they and their loved ones are targets. And the enemy is already here . As Caroline Glick of the Center for Security Policy stated in the film "Obsession" "Remember, the nineteen Arab (Muslim) hijackers trained for this attack on America IN America."
And Baker/Hamilton Report is a joke. And the committee members are an embarrassment to me, personally, as an American. And to the country as a whole.


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