Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 25, 2004
WAR: Rallying The Troops

If President Bush's latest effort was less than inspirational, you can always count on the internet for a pep talk. Bill Whittle has a tremendously long two-part essay starting here reviewing the case for going to war in Iraq and why we must press on to victory. (Link via Instapundit) Not a lot of new information here, but uplifting nonetheless. Whittle's analysis of Fallujah bears repeating:

We ran from Fallujah, we hear; those murdering bastards are laughing at us. We’re not tough enough to win. Uh, not quite. Hundreds of those murdering bastards are dead. They are not laughing at anything.

The Fallujah bridge pissed off a lot of Americans. It really made us see red. Would we be disgusted enough to walk away, or furious enough to go in and indiscriminately slaughter thousands? The architects of that atrocity must have thought they nailed that perfect tic-tac-toe move: we go one way, they win on the other. Quoth Den Beste: the object of Terrorism is to provoke an overwhelming response. And the response to that response is the political and strategic goal of the terrorist.

Al Sadr, you less than magnificent bastard! We read your book!

Blah, blah…war is lost…blah blah blah... disaster, wreck and ruin… Only it turns out that the United States military may have produced a few life-long professionals who actually hold victory more precious than crowing loud. Many of us value reason over emotion, and reality over wishful thinking. Well, we did not level Fallujah, and we did not do it because those bodies on that bridge were bait, pure and simple. We didn’t take the bait. Or, I should say, our military didn’t take the bait; I took it, hook line and sinker. I wanted to level the goddam city and then walk away and let them kill each other. Now, as Al Sadr’s support evaporates; as his militia thugs are being hunted and killed by shadowy Iraqi ghost armies and extremely corporeal Marines; as his fellow Mullahs condemn him; as Iraqi demonstrations against him and all that poison and ruin he represents continue to rise; as his headquarters are destroyed, his most vicious ‘soldiers’ killed in their own backyards, playing defense in an urban environment by Marines whose skill and tactics stagger credulity for their expertise and success – now, we must ask ourselves: did you want to feel good or did you want to win?

I want to win. I was an idiot for taking that bait. And I thank God daily that America makes better, smarter people than me.

* * *

The threat of the vast Shiite uprising that loomed in early April has largely evaporated. Things are still very tense. They may again get worse; they may become horrible. But we will win this because we are not going home until we do. This is slowly beginning to dawn on some of the hardest heads in Iraq. When Iraqi leaders start saying things like we’d better help the Americans stabilize the country, because they will not go away until we do – well, that is precisely, exactly the kind of victory we need. We need that attitude. There is a shred of can-do self-reliance in those words. Al-Sadr will either end up like Uday and Qusay or Saddam. Those are his remaining choices.

Emphasis in original; read the whole thing. On the same note, NRO provides some choice words from Marine Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis:

I think the Fallujah Brigade needs to demonstrate it's got control. We already have Iraqi contractors going and doing it and the thing is, every time we have Seabees doing something, we're not taking any of this money that we have for Iraq... that money goes to Iraqi contractors. They employ Iraqis. There's no need to have U.S. sailors, U.S. Marines, U.S. soldiers doing something the Iraqis could do. That's the way we're going to get the country back up. Not by going in and doing while they sit unemployed, sitting there angry like your or I would be if we had foreign troops in our homes. So, we're trying to balance this thing with them coming in to do it. I have no need to put U.S. troops in to do something their engineers are able to do.

* * *

The[] way you break down distrust is by getting together and even if someone doesn't like the big issues, they don't like American foreign policy, we don't like certain things, when you work together, you sweat together, you try to focus on things where we have common cause, like sometimes the Iraqi police department, they don't have to like us.

Back in the 1940s and 50s they had British officers and NCOs in command of Jordanian and the Jordan Legion. The Jordan Legion did not like the United Kingdom and Great Britain. They didn't like them. They were a very good counter-terrorist force because they were going to take care of their Hassamite king. . . . we don't have to agree on every issue, every international diplomatic issue for us to have some kind of chance for peace in the streets of Fallujah or Husaybah or Ramadi. We have to understand we have a common cause here to restore peace, stop the violence, rebuild Iraq, the Americans get out of the way and move on. . . .

* * *

I'll tell you right now, I don't get intelligence off a satellite. Iraqis tell me who the enemy is. That is very dangerous for Iraqis. You think about how much courage that takes when you've got to live with these murderous bastards.

Again, the key point here - important responsibilities are being transferred on the ground to Iraqis who recognize that it is in their own self-interest to take the fight to the enemy, and do so through local knowledge we don't have. This isn't Tora Bora; these are cities, and our local allies have to live in them.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 07:14 AM | War 2004 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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