Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This Is What I'm Talking About

War is a struggle between two sides and one side must lose. To win, you need to be better than the losing side--not perfect.

When I dismissed an intelligence sergeant's complaint that Iraqi society produced poor raw material for the Iraqi security forces and so should largely be disbanded and rebuilt, I wondered just where the heck does he think the enemy draws their recruits? Vermont? Or perhaps Switzerland or something.

We need to make our imperfect Iraqi recruits and organizations more powerful than the enemies' imperfect terrorist recruits and organizations--not as good as American forces and organizations.

Strategypage notes that even the higher end jihadi fanatics of al Qaeda are prone to corruption:

The CIA has found it more effective to put more effort into recruiting existing terrorist leaders. Turns out that corruption has long been a problem with al Qaeda. While al Qaeda exists largely to fight the corruption of Moslem leaders, they have not been able to completely rid themselves of larcenous and deceptive habits. Among the many al Qaeda documents captured in Afghanistan, there were quite a few letters and reports dealing with embezzlement and other evidence of corrupt leadership. Apparently, many al Qaeda regulars eventually get tired of the life. It's a hard life, and often a very precarious one. Despite the culture of suicide and sacrifice within al Qaeda, many of the members have families, and attachments develop. Some members change their minds, and this provides opportunities for any CIA people who have some channels open to these guys. Opening up these channels, which allows some messages to be sent either way, is now a major effort. This sort of thing can be moved along quickly via the use of lots of money. You can get to the non-terrorist kin of al Qaeda members, or tribal leaders, by using cash.

If these jihadi guys who are supposed to be the purest are subject to the culture from which they are drawn, how much worse are the Sunni nationalists and Baathists inside Iraq?

Our Iraqis just need to be better than the other side. Why people want to abandon the Iraqis because they aren't ready for a League of Women Voters Ramadi Chapter is beyond me. Don't go all loopy on me because our Iraqi friends in uniform aren't candidates for the 101st Airborne.

Patience, people. Our enemies will break first if we don't panic.

UPDATE: Ralph Peters is doubling down on loopy, saying he is starting to doubt we can win in Iraq.

Let me add my comments that I posted on the opinion piece:

I respect Peters' writings, but he's gone all loopy on the war.

We were right to destroy a regime intent on getting WMD (he used them, remember?) when freed of the crumbling UN sanctions. Why else pretend he had WMD and keep his scientists and technicians in place?

He was a threat to the region having invaded both Iran and Kuwait. He fired on our planes on a near daily basis. He threatened Kuwait again in 1994.

He sponsored terrorism with training camps, payments to suicide bombers, an attempt to kill President Bush 41,and cheered 9/11. He cooperated with al Qaeda types fleeing Afghanistan. Saddam slaughtered the Shias and Kurds on an industrial scale during his regime. His cruelty and savagery were notable even by the tandards of the region.

We took down his regime, sparing the infrastructure in the process (we wanted to cross those bridges, not destroy them. Sheesh. Commenters should remember the campaign at least and not what you know must have been true.) We discovered the infrastructure had eroded horribly under Saddam and all we've done since then is to rebuild from that long period--not repair what we destroyed. Oh, and repair what the thugs have wrecked.

And now, a well financed insurgency (thank you, Kofi Annan and oil-for-food corruption) of Baathists and jihadis fight to reverse our progress, and common criminals are adding to the mayhem. The enemy is deliberately fomenting inter-religious fighting to try and rally all Sunnis to the jihadis' side.

And many Iraqis are attempting to build a democracy as real as the varied forms in America, Europe, or Japan. Yet we should abandon them after they dared to vote and waved purple fingers in the faces of the barbarians who tried to stop them? Arabs desire prosperity and freedom no less than Latin Americans in 1980 or Taiwanese and South Koreans in 1990. Or Japanese, Germans, and Italians in 1945.

So we walk away because our enemies are particularly brutal? Doesn't this argue for defeating them even more?

Insurgencies take time to defeat. Ask the Indians re. Kashmir. Or the government of the Philippines with its numerous rebellions. Or the Sri Lankan government. Or, well you get the point.

Supporting the invasion means supporting victory. When we ordered our troops into Iraq (backed with a declaration of war by our Congress and the knowledge that Saddam violated the ceasefire from 1991 on a grand scale), our troops did their duty. Their oath doesn't have an expiration date and they continue to fight valiantly and with skill.

We owe it to them not to have expiration dates on our support for the troops, the war, and their victory in that war.

I'm disappointed in Mr. Peters. A little patience please. And work the problems, don't just throw up your hands.

I've enjoyed Mr. Peters' writings since Red Army. Though I have issues with his slant on the Turks and Germans, so I never just applauded him without question. And I have no doubt that he sincerely believes he is right. But I stand by the rightness of what we did, our objectives for the Iraqi people to live in freedom, and the need to fight an enemy that will not retire and write their memoirs if we retreat before enabling the Iraqi government to suppress the insurgency (and not simply ethnically cleanse the Sunnis as they can do now even without us.).

And we will win this war if fewer people discover the nuance of the joy of defeat in their impatience to win.