Sunday, June 25, 2006

We Cannot Redeploy Far Enough To Be Safe

When one proposes to retreat, it can only work if your enemy does not pursue you. I wrote this in 1997 in regard to Iraq's invasion of Iran in 1980 (noted in this post in 2004):

Not wanting to repeat our experience in Vietnam, many speak of needing an "exit strategy" before committing troops. Such an approach seeks to minimize our losses under the assumption that we will at some point lose, so we had better know when to cut our losses and get out. It also assumes that the situation allows for an exit and that our enemy will allow it. The Iraqis desperately wanted out of the war they initiated in 1980 but were locked in by Iran in a death grip that allowed for no easy exit. While planning for a tough, resilient enemy is prudent, we must never become paralyzed by concentrating on how that enemy can hurt us. We need to keep our focus on achieving victory.

But talk of an "exit strategy" didn't cut it with the public. Sounded too much like retreat, I guess. A year later, in November 2005, I felt compelled to quote the same line to remind all of us that the proper objective is war is victory. I wrote this because Representative Murtha was then getting 24/7 press coverage for his latest retreat formulation that first suggested "redeployment" as the term of art. I wrote:

Murtha's plan is no plan for victory--at least not our victory. It is a retreat poorly disguised as an advance to the rear. That so many of his party appear tempted to embrace this flimsy excuse to retreat is truly sad.

It was not widely embraced then, apparently. Murtha was on his own. But only for the term--not the concept.

Coming up with an acceptable term for losing should not be what we focus on, but seven months later, the loyal opposition has focus group tested and embraced the term "redeployment." The official term of record is to "redeploy" from Iraq:

Last week John Kerry revealed his plan to "redeploy" U.S. forces from Iraq. This plan is different from fellow Defeaticrat Jack Murtha's plan to "redeploy" U.S. forces from Iraq to Okinawa, which Congressman Murtha seems to think is in the general neighborhood of Iraq. Iraq's in the Middle East, Okinawa's in the Far East: C'mon, how far can it be to get from the Far to the Middle? After all, the distance between the farthest fringe of the kook left and the center of the Democratic Party seems to be closing up every week.

Anyway, Sen. Kerry doesn't want to waste time "redeploying" to Okinawa. When America "redeploys," it's not going to take a connecting flight via Japan and risk its luggage getting "redeployed" to Bratislava. No, sir, in John Kerry's America, we redeploy" nonstop, straight back to Main Street in time for the Redeployment Day parade.

You gotta hand it to these guys: "Redeployment" is ingenious. I'll bet the focus-group consultants were delirious: "surrender," "lose,","scram," "scuttle ignominiously," "head for the hills" all polled poorly, but "redeploy" surveyed well with all parts of the base, except the base in Okinawa, where they preferred "sayonara" -- that's "redeploy" in any language. The Defeaticrats have a clear message for the American people. Read da ploy: No new quagmires. This is the most artful example of Leftspeak since they came up with "undocumented immigrant." In fact, if it catches on, I'll bet millions of fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community now start referring to themselves as Redeployed Mexicans.

The only teensy-weensy problem is this: If America ever adopts the Kerry plan, the Murtha plan or some variation thereof, does anyone think al-Jazeera, the BBC, Le Monde, Der Spiegel et al will be using the word "redeploy" in their headlines? Or will they use a word closer to what's actually going on?

Steyn is right. The anti-war side may fool people long enough to actually retreat by calling it "redeployment," but nobody will be fooled when they see the so-called redeployment and say, "Huh, that sure looks like retreat."

Our enemies sure won't be fooled. They might even call it victory and just want more of it. As I noted a decade ago, if you fight an enemy that is willing to follow you home to keep killing you, you cannot cleanly break contact and come home to rest and forget about the war. We face such enemies. They came to our homes already, on 9/11, remember?

Do not seek anything other than "victory." That is the only word we should be using.