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