Monday, June 13, 2005

Firm grasp of the obvious department 
Knight Ridder's Tom Lasseter files this breathless report from the front:

A growing number of senior American military officers in Iraq have concluded that there is no long-term military solution to an insurgency that has killed thousands of Iraqis and more than 1,300 U.S. troops during the past two years.

Instead, officers say, the only way to end the guerilla war is through Iraqi politics

What's that "growing number?" From 97 percent to 99 percent? I don't get it. I've never met an officer in my life who didn't think that the decisive point in the counterinsurgency was political, not military. In fact, I wrote just that in some of the very first posts to this blog in November of 2003.

We don't have the combat power to defeat radical Islamism in the same way we defeated Nazi Germany. Radical Islamism thrives on being the underdog. But I think it can be defeated in the same way that Communism was defeated: wallop it with Satellite TV, Fax machines, and the internet age, push it until it eats its own young, and force it to deny reality until it is thoroughly discredited with its own people on its own turf.

And here:

*We provided our own soldiers-soldiers who are trained police officers
in the civilian world-to run a police academy to train the recruits. That's
really a big deal, because we were introducing these kids-and many of them
were 15 or 16 years old-to CONCEPTS like 'due process of law,' 'rights of
the accused,' and having a police force that exists to protect and to serve
the community, rather than the Ba'ath party. That's a huge paradigm shift.

And here:

Now, I'm all for going after terrorists and their bases of operation with everything we've got. But...

The most effective way to 'send a message' to the people of Iraq, in my view, is to translate the Bill of Rights and key passages of Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man," with any Christian references removed, into Arabic, print about a gazillion copies, and take them to the streets.

I've written that the war on terrorism is fundamentally a war to defeat an ideology. There is no militarily decisive point on the ground. Decisive victory cannot be achieved with the capture or killing of Saddam or Bin Laden or anyone else.

Rather, decisive victory will only be achieved when the violent, radical expression of Muslim ideology is thoroughly discredited on its home turf.

The military arm is important, but it's only one leg on a many-legged stool.

Ideas like natural, God-given rights, the rule of law, the freedom of expression, the social contract, a government by and for the people, the protection of minorities, the redress of grievances, separation of powers, and the peaceable transfer of executive power are our most powerful weapons.

In the long run, every successful municipal election, every public official who, in the service of the people, resists the lure of corruption or the threat of terrorism, and every new independent newspaper, will be worth dozens of airstrikes.

Of course, back then, soldiers thinking that way looked progressive and forward thinking. You'd almost think we were planning an occupation! Can't have that! But now the media moosebrains have figured out a way to pervert what was the near-unanimous opinion of the officers on the ground in OIF I - That military success was a precondition of victory, but there was no military solution to the insurgency - into sheer defeatism.

I wasn't making that shit up. It was the underlying assumption under everything we did. When we put people at risk sending our computer geeks over to the government center to wire them up with the Internet, when we reached out and established contacts with the Ramadi Wahabbis to lay the groundwork for their participation in eventual elections more than a year before the fact, when we sent our lawyers in to the court system to assist and advise them in creating a real justice system in July 2003, it sure as heck wasn't because we weren't looking to Iraqi politics and Iraqi society as the decisive player in the counterinsurgency.

Furthermore, it wasn't just the opinion of the officers on the ground then. It was doctrinal. These are ideas we were importing from papers written at the Army War College and Proceedings and a variety of other professional organizations. The Army was embracing the role of Iraqi politics as the decisive factor in the War on Terror from the very beginning. In writing those essays back in 2003, I was borrowing on ideas in papers I had been reading as early as the summer of 2002, just as the doctrinal lessons of the Afghan war were being digested.

Hell, you stupid imbiciles, the idea that politics is paramount is the central, unifying idea underlying neoconservatism!

If the idiots in the press corps are still writing stories like this, and their editors are still running them, it shows beyond doubt that they don't understand a damn thing.

Splash, out


Give them the benefit of the doubt here - perhaps it means they're starting to understand? Or that at least some of them are?
In '65, Military leaders believed the Vietnam War was unwinnable by military means alone. Being a journalist doesn't require a reading the History of Warfare, being a Senior Military Officer does.
You wrote, "In the long run, every successful municipal election, every public official who, in the service of the people, resists the lure of corruption or the threat of terrorism, and every new independent newspaper, will be worth dozens of airstrikes."

The end doesn't justify the means here since murdering people to create another political entity's vision of how other people's lives or governments should work is wrong. You become the same thing you claim to be "fighting." And you ignore the pricipals of what you claim you are trying to instill in others (through force). Every successful municipal election is not worth dozens of airstrikes from foreigners. The reason America is over there not letting them take their own risk (of death) to rise up against the powers that be in their own country should they feel the risk is worth the reward is because they have something we want to control (oil). Wars of choice (intervention for material gain) are manipulative and worse than the evils they claim to be curing when you add baby-killing embargos and bombings to achieve it all in the name of some version of "your democracy." It never works ultimately. (If a foreign country came over here you'd keep fighting them and this would distract you from fighting the loons in your own country who need to be relieved of power). Look at history for proof. It has to come from the Iraqis themselves within their own country, not Americans via American force. Good can triumph over evil fastest if it is going to if you don't keep adding more evil to the mix.

We need to pull out of Iraq.
Yeah, Anonymous, that's the ticket. Pull out and leave the Iraqis at the hands of the merciless killers who are fighting to prevent a civic order from taking root in the country.

That'll solve every-thing. What a way to vindicate the sacrifice of our brave men and women who have fought to give Iraq back to the Iraqis.

And nice of you to slip in a few slanders of our troops, while you were at it.



Tom Lasseter is about 90 degrees to the left of the NYT. Indeed, he'd feel right at home writing for The Guardian.

It goes without saying that he's one of Knight-Ridder's star reporters.
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