“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Does America Have the Stomach For War?

Testifying before a Senate Confirmation committee, which leftists have dubbed the "Senate Coronation Committee", Robert Gates was asked if we "are winning the war in Iraq?" My first reaction was "Sir, would you define victory?" That answer wouldn't go over well with the Senators but it is a question that begs for an answer. Platitudes about bringing "freedom and democracy" are no longer adequate.

Andrew McCarthy, writing in today's National Review On-line, attempts to re-focus the nation's attention on what "Victory in Iraq" means. He also asks and answers the question of "Do we need more troops? Answer: "For … what?"

So, no, says the president. We are staying in Iraq until we win. Great. But what is winning? What is the “victory” we are seeking?

On this, there is no consensus. That is why Americans have soured on Iraq. History proves that the American people have plenty of stomach for a hard fight, however long it takes, if they understand and believe in what we are fighting for. And this, consequently, is where history will condemn the Bush administration.

Add McCarthy to a growing chorus of conservative voices criticizing the too often "rudderless leadership" particularly since November 2004 through mid 2005 when he says, the President "went dark...was virtually mum on the subject." McCarthy says that the President's prime justification, the Democracy project, is not a goal that the American public would have ever gone to war for. Americans supported the invasion of Iraq because it saw Saddam Hussein and Iraq as a threatening nation-state sponsor of terrorism. McCarthy draws a sharp focus for our presence in Iraq:

There is only one good reason for American troops to be in Iraq. It is the reason we sent them there in 2003: To fight and win the “war on terror” — i.e., the war against radical Islam — by deposing rogue regimes helping the terror network wage a long-term, existential jihad against the United States.

McCarthy says that the tunnel vision on Iraq front has cost us in the broader war.

Iraq is a single front in a much larger war. If we don’t suppress Iran, Syria, the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Sunni terror funding stream in Saudi Arabia, we can’t win in Iraq, no matter how victory is defined. You can’t win if you don’t take on the forces determined to see you lose.

Most readers of the EB know and understand this just as we also know too many refuse to acknowledge it: McCarthy says:

There is a global jihad. It’s on, now. Like it or not. Rise to the challenge or not. You don’t want war with Iran? Fine. But never forget for a second that Iran is already at war with you.

Sooner or later, we are going to have to match with action the president’s ambitious post-9/11 promises that our enemies would be pursued globally, relentlessly, and until their defeat. Democracy promotion and regional conferences at which we pretend that the problem — Iran — may be the solution are not going to get this done.

If we’re shrinking from the greater war, of course our troops shouldn’t be sitting ducks in Iraq. If we’re not going to turn them loose against the forces that most threaten them, as well as the rest of us, of course we should get them out of there.

Iraq should serve as an example of what happens when we do not press our advantage when we have it. We've given the enemy time to regroup and now whether the reality is as bad as the MSM portray is irrelevant. The momentum is with the other side. Weak, indecisive leadership does not win wars nor does pretending to be at war. Mistakes have been made and the million dollar question is do we have the time, money and will to overcome those mistakes. We have a lot invested in Iraq in three years; billions of dollars, nearly three thousand dead and 22,000 wounded. It would be a shame to see all that wasted by leaving, but staying to install a proxy government for Iran is not "winning the war." Withdrawing from Iraq will not do away with the problem of fundamentalist Islam but staying in Iraq without defining and fighting the enemy isn't a plan for victory either. I agree with McCarthy, if we don't have the stomach to fight, let's bring our troops home, take our lumps, batten down the hatches and regroup.


  1. Santorum votes against Gates:
    Addressed Reasons Why.
    Santorum '08!

  2. I wonder what we could have done with $500 Billion in Pakistan, given that we could have done it without an occupation!

  3. Santorum goes through CIA, DOD, and State Dept reasons for doing NOTHING about Iran.
    ...aside from keeping the negotiation option open.

  4. Climb Mt. Tapochau...and thus the order was given..

    Tomorrow is December 7th...thank a member of the greatest generation for doing their duty.
    Semper Fi

  5. 1 real man left in DC.
    ...for a month.

  6. I gotta get your dad's story to a guy here, Habu:
    Heard about him when a guy showed me his dog's tag:
    A Purple Heart from his next door neighbor!

  7. Dog earned the medal when he survived a Sniper Round to the head.
    From an air rifle.

  8. Doug,
    I am a member of the Marine Corps Aviation Association. Every quarter they publish a magazine called the Yellow Sheet.
    They were going to run the story of my dad but Gen. Robert Galer got the space. Galer won the MOH so it's understandable. They'll publish it next quarter, unless another luminary passes away.
    But since my dad had such a varied career battleships,beach landings and aviation, as well as being XO to several legends in the Corps and the CO of five squadrons (very unusual) and one Marine Air Group they are doing the story. I'll get it to you when they publish it. It should make good reading. i think I mentioned to you before that he actually started out in the horse cavalry!!
    wife calling me...

  9. Wait a minute, rufus, you're falling out of step with the new Bush 41/43 Administration, the new SecDef says we are losing. He was widely lauded and passed with bipartisan support. The man of the hour.

    The ISG ,DOA, not on yourlife with Mr Baker's right hand man now at the Pentagon.

    Besides my friend the Drive to Baghdad and the Saddam family were just the first phase line of a Regional War. You say the next one will come, when in fact we are in the midst of a much larger conflict that streches from Warizstan to the Med. Not a bunch of localized border wars.

  10. Baby Doc threatens to flip if Golan is forced on him.
    Iraq Study Group's Answer Blame The Jews

  11. The sooner we admit it to ourselves, the quicker it'd be over.

  12. Warizistan to the East and West Coasts.

  13. "Reward Syria who has allowed arms and terrorist across it's border to murder American's in Iraq, yep this makes a lot of sense to me.

    Reward the Palestinians, todays Nazis with a State, sure why not after all the fact that Bush is failing in Iraq is the fault of the Jews.

    Let's build up the enemies of the Jews, so maybe they can get strong enough to rid the world of Israel and those Jews that are just such a pain that after all America would have secured victory in Iraq years ago if it were not for the Jews wanting to live in the Land that G-D gave to the Jewish people.

    But wait in the Iraq Study Group state that no administration Democratic or Republican will ever abandon Israel.

    I have news for you. in many ways you all ready have. You give money, weapons and training to the Palestinians that within weeks were used to kill Israeli's. You seek to tear the heartland of biblical Israel from us and you want us to turn a blind eye to the people that have given themselves over to a cult of murdering Jews.
    - Yoni

  14. Maybe Baby will flip back when we give him Judea and Samaria (west bank) and the eastern part of Jerusalem!
    War is Hell.

  15. That fits right in, doug.

    The best money line of the ISG quoted in the link about the Israel & Arab disharmony
    "There is no military solution to this conflict."

    When, of course, there is. It just has not been attempted. Same as is the mantra for Iraq.
    "There is no military solution to this conflict."

    Then, when the flow of refugees is substantial enough, it will be a human rights disaster, with Mr Bush and US to blame.
    And legally so.
    100,000 refugees per month, fleeing sectarian cleansing in Iraq while on the US watch.

  16. None dare call it ethnic cleansing.
    When the Dentists leave, it'll be Oral Hygine.

  17. Doug quoted Yoni Tidi, "You seek to tear the heartland of biblical Israel from us and you want us to turn a blind eye to the people that have given themselves over to a cult of murdering Jews."

    No, Yoni, your own Prime Minister is doing that:

    Olmert: 'West Bank withdrawal still on'

  18. They will, soon, doug.
    You'd have seen the Save Darfur spots if you watched TV. But since you do not, you miss much of the propaganda trend lines.

    Heart wrenching letter, about the death of the writers' family and her own rape, compelling TV. Read by a series of "all American" stand ups. Well done piece.

    Soon it will be about abused Iraqis all over TV, not Kurds saying thank you, but 14 year old rape victims, caused by US failures to stop the slide to genocide.
    Plain as the writing on the wall.

  19. How did we get into such a mess where we have to ask who do you prefer to support and possibly die for the Sunnis or the Shiites?

  20. Since I don't have TV, 'Rat, I could care less.

  21. "Saudi Arabia said it's not going to help out one iota, anywhere, if we don't try to help the Palestinians get the West Bank. "
    They helped out a lot when Bubba offered Israel on a platter.
    ...just ask Steve Emerson.

  22. With thousands of Short Range Missiles coming in at once from ALL flanks, Israel can kiss the notion of defense, as well as their ass, goodbye.

  23. Or, duece, the democrats or the insurgents.

    It is a given, whether US Generals agree, or not, that Mr al-Sadr is "undr control". Mr Maliki told that to Mr Bush in Jordan. Mr al -Hakim says the problem is with the exBaathists. Mr al-Sadr and Mr al-Hakim are the powers behind the throne, in Iraq. Between them they have upwards of 40,000 to 50,000 armed Shia Arabs and the majority in Parliment.

    Brookings Index puts foreign fghters at between 800-2,000 with an Insurgency of 20,000 -25,000 Sunni. The Iraqi Army of 200,000 is 65% or more Shia, most of the balance being Kurds. 25% of it under Mr Maliki and 75% under General Casey. Mr Maliki wants command of the balance of the Army in June. Same time as Occupation Authorization is scheduled to be reviewed. In time to take over Security in Nov '07 as was his initial timeline pledge.

  24. There is not one between Israel and the US, not that has ever been ratified by the Senate.

    Mr Bush, or any President, can give assurances, but their handshake does not a Treaty make.

  25. That'll do it.
    Sucks to not have USA covering your 6.
    Just ask the Shiites.

  26. But not against those from Lebanon, West Bank, Golan!
    Plus the Dems don't want it!

  27. No defense yet proposed against mass volleys of short range missiles.

  28. The Battle Star won't be built, at least not in the next cycle.

    Not with $65 Billion USD in defered maintainennce on the Strykers and Humvees and such after the fall of Baghdad.

    Unless of course or EU partners in NATO wanted to fund it, but they cannot even find 2,000 MEN for Afghanistan.

  29. Rufus said, "Doug, those scientists that say we could have a space-based anti-missile system in place in TWO YEARS, also say that it would be effective against medium range messiles such as those between Pakistan and India, and Iran and Israel."

    Just as long as they make sure it is not effective against missiles between Iran and France, and between North Korea and Venezuela.

  30. Technology does not stand still, and neither do our enemies. On Dec. 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy demonstrated another idea once scoffed at — that planes launched from carriers could sink battleships.

    Back then we had time to recover. This time we won't.

    Pearl Harbor

  31. Captain Ed has weighed in on the Baker Boyz and comes to the defense of Israel.

    It's Still Bad, Especially For Israel

  32. WC,

    re: Yoni

    You must not have spent much time reading Yoni's blog. Otherwise, you would know of his disgust for all things Olmert. You would even know of his months' long campaign to prevent Olmert and company from surrendering the West Bank and the Golan.

    In knowing little, you have injured a good man much.

  33. Bring the troops home

    Why? So we have to go in again at incalculable loss. So we can have the Strait controlled by the Iranians.

    Well, we allowed Saddam to live after Gulf One. We will probably withdraw from Iraq. Wonder how all that is going to work out.

    What has this country come to? Is everyone drunk or stoned?

  34. Maybe Baby Doc will flip

    He will, once he is hit between the eyes with a .500.

  35. doug,

    re: aid to Palestinians

    As this is written, the UN is working on a plan to give the PA $450 million in aid. Of course, the UN will carefully supervise it use.

    But again, much of the fault must lie at the feet of Israel. When you have power and won't use it, the wolves and buzzards start circling.

  36. Sorry for the blizzard. This thread came up only minutes ago.

  37. buddy,

    In the previous thread, you seemed to be asking "why". One reason might be that there are just a whole passel of folk who wouldn't know a pomegranate from a pistachio.

  38. Ahead of the report's release, the White House said it would consider talking to Iran and Syria if the commission recommended it.

    Yet the administration's overall tone has been one of skepticism about reaching accommodation with Tehran and Damascus. Administration officials have suggested there is more to lose than to gain by rewarding Iran and Syria with high-profile discourse with American diplomats, and warn that Iran in particular could try to use contact with U.S. officials to gain leverage in ongoing separate diplomacy over its nuclear program.

    Policy not Working

  39. sam,

    re: policy

    I am not trying to be a smart ass, but the commission had to give the administration the benefit of doubt of a "Plan". There is little evidence giving credence to the presumption. In fact, with every stumble, the administration has been quick to point out its change of direction. Why, just this afternoon, Mr. Snow was contorted, pretzel like, to make this very point.

  40. Meanwhile in Iran, what is the administration’s plan to exploit this? Oh, yeah, those Jooos are to blame – they are forever standing in the way of Mr. Baker’s grand plans for the ME. By the way, this administration, as well as that of Mr. Clinton, has been obliged under law to help foment and support just this sort of unrest. Those Iranian kids being killed by the regime are probably asking, “Where is America?” – much as the Shi’a and Kurds did in 1991. As Westhawk points out, pretty soon no one will trust the United States.

    But, “None Dare Call It Treason”.

    Iranian Students Protest Regime...Shout "Death to Dictators!"

    Great job by Gateway Pundit, and no snowjob either.

  41. Allen said, "You must not have spent much time reading Yoni's blog. Otherwise, you would know of his disgust for all things Olmert. You would even know of his months' long campaign to prevent Olmert and company from surrendering the West Bank and the Golan."

    I'm a regular listener of the Hugh Hewitt program, and I know well where Yoni comes down on Olmert, but Olmert is hardly the sole problem. You see, I do have a problem with Yoni saying to Americans, 'You seek to tear the heartland of biblical Israel from us' when Ehud Barak offered 96% of that heartland to Arafat in a bid for "land for peace" and Sharon rewarded the Pallies for 5 years of suicide bombs trying to get that last 4% by giving them Gaza for free.

  42. Allen said, "As Westhawk points out, pretty soon no one will trust the United States."

    Who trusts? No one trusts Russia or China either, but they do respect them. All Bush and Olmert have to worry about is regaining a healthy respect.

  43. WC,

    re: Yoni

    If you think Yoni incorrect, do consider the Franco-American UNSC Resolution 1701 or the just released ISG report. Israel has conveyed much. Obviously, until Israel conveys itself, its efforts for peace will be in vain. Yoni has every right to be disillusioned. If the American public would wake up, they would be also.

    Having never listened to Mr. Hewitt, I cannot comment on his program. However, from what I read, if Mr. Hewitt is unhappy with his guest, he will withhold future invitations.

  44. WC,

    re: trust v. respect

    You think there is some fundamental difference?

  45. "Saudi Arabia produces 10 Million Barrels of Oil every Day without which our own children would starve. "
    Yessirree, we'd all starve if the world oil production was cut by 10 million barrels. The cupboards will all be bare across the fruited plains.

  46. Whit,
    The Saudis Certainly get their money's worth hiring Baker legal group, don't they?

    Right of Return!

    Not even Oslo had that.
    Maybe Olmert should demand right of return to all the Muslim countries the Jews have been purged from.
    With the proviso that they are not charged for their head removal operations

  47. Wonder how many others are on the Saudi Payroll.
    Vernon jordan, no doubt.
    What an AUGUST Group.

  48. Terrorists rejoicing over new Iraq 'plan' Reaction to Study Group: 'Allah and his angels' responsible, 'era of Islam and of jihad' declared

    "The report proves that this is the era of Islam and of jihad," said Abu Ayman, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank town of Jenin.

    The Islamic Jihad terror group is responsible for every suicide bombing in Israel during the past two years.

    "[With the Iraq Study Group report], the Americans came to the conclusion that Islam is the new giant of the world and it would be clever to reduce hostilities with this giant. In the Quran the principle of the rotation is clear and according to this principle the end of the Americans and of all non-believers is getting closer," Abu Ayman said.

    According to Abu Abdullah, a senior leader of Hamas' so-called military wing, Baker's report is a victory for Islam brought about by "Allah and his angels."

    "It is not just a simple victory. It is a great one. The big superpower of the world is defeated by a small group of mujahedeen (fighters).

  49. More undeniably ominous quotes from that article Doug recommended"

    Abu Abdullah said following a withdrawal from Iraq, the U.S. will be defeated on its own soil.

    "America must understand that with anti-American governments in Latin America and with Islam growing and reinforcing, including in the U.S. itself, the next step would be a total defeat on their (American) land, not a relative one like they are facing in Iraq," he said.

    [...]Islamic Jihad's Abu Ayman said after the U.S. "defeat" in Iraq is finalized, insurgents there should move to the West Bank and Gaza to help destroy Israel.

    How one can afford (no pun regarding Saudi ties intended, but not withdrawn) to look past this insidious rhetoric is beyond me.

  50. Thank you, DR (I can call you that, right?). I appreciate the warm welcome.

  51. Call me anything you like, just not late for dinner.

  52. Whit,

    re: administration pressure on Israel

    The administration is pressuring Israel, as seen in the recent visit by Madame Rice. Rice, Scowcroft, Powell, Baker, Berger, et al. - all cut from the same cloth. It is the public which makes a distinction where no difference is found.

  53. Doug said, "Yessirree, we'd all starve if the world oil production was cut by 10 million barrels. The cupboards will all be bare across the fruited plains."

    Actually, Americans would do okay, we'd pay five bucks a gallon for a while. It's the shi'ity little countries who vote against us in the UN and have GDPs smaller than the total sales of Taco Bell AFTER the e. coli scare that are the ones that would starve.

  54. Quite effective information, thank you for your post.