Provocative suggestions from H. W. Crocker III in The American Spectator:
All right, let’s skip all the introductory remarks and get to the point. Is victory still possible in Iraq? Yes, though the Bush administration keeps doing its level best to kick that prize away from our troops.
We can tally up the mistakes later (I’ll mention two of the worst ones at the end) but the first step to winning in Iraq is to define victory — and not to define it in such a way, as the Bush administration has done, that leaves us hostages to the Iraqi government. That is a strategic error of the first magnitude.
Even after the president’s recent address, announcing that America’s patience with the Iraqi government is not limitless, and promising a — by my lights, not very dramatic — surge of troops, not enough has changed. The Bush administration’s rhetoric of why we fight has shifted from the politically cynical — and deeply stupid and insensate — mantra of “stay the course (because you can’t trust the cut-‘n’-run Democrats),” which the American people rightly recognized as no course at all, to an equally pitiful emphasis that American defeat in Iraq would be a disaster.
No one ever won a war by fighting for “not defeat.” You win a war by smashing up the enemy, by so overwhelming him but that he has no choice but to surrender or die. Instead we have “stayed the course” (where is the urgency in that?) and we have whined that losing would be a bad thing.
Yes, losing would be a bad thing — and the Bush administration should know, given that it has managed to lose both houses of Congress, alienate its own supporters, and convince the American people by a whopping majority that we cannot “win” in Iraq. Well done, Mr. President!
A PRESIDENT WITH SO LITTLE understanding of his own electorate can hardly, in fairness, be held to account for failing to understand the political realities in a country far away and of which he knows little — though this is scant consolation for those of us who not only think the war was the right and necessary thing to do but who share Mark Steyn’s conviction that “if Iraq’s lost, the Dems and the media will have a whole new quagmire template for the next 40 years.”
But whatever the failures of the administration, it is always a bad idea to bet against the American military.
Indeed, on the military front, things are not so dire as you might think.
Read it all.