Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sequels Are Rarely As Good

Are we worrying too much about an enemy "Tet" offensive?

We worry that the enemy may surge an attack that kills lots of people and demoralizes us at home enough to pull the plug on our war effort. Indeed we worried about this piror to the November 2006 elections.

But remember that the original 1968 (Note: Corrected. I noticed that I'd typed "1969") Tet Offensive was a nation-wide attack by 84,000 troops organized in large-scale conventional organizations that tried to inflict a military defeat on a surprised South Vietnamese military which let its guard down on a major holiday. The effect on our home morale was not the primary objective. That's how it worked out, but that was not the plan.

Does anybody really think that the enemy can mount an offensive that could seize large chunks of territory and collapse Shia and Kurd morale?

As I wrote back in the fall:

It is only in retrospect that we call Tet a clever enemy victory that played on our home morale. But that was not the plan. The plan was to win on the battlefield by striking hard on a holiday. The target was South Vietnamese morale.

So when today we speak of whether the enemy is pulling a "Tet" on us and whether the prospect of perhaps more than 100 KIA this month indicates the enemy is succeeding in this, consider the vast difference from 1968 to 2006. The enemy isn't even trying to beat us in the field. They aren't trying to beat the Iraqi security forces. And they aren't trying to beat the Iraqi people. They are trying to beat the American people.

So instead of having a major military effort involving maneuvering battalions to strike us that unexpectedly turned into a propaganda victory as Tet was, the al Tet strategy of our enemy is skipping right to the propaganda aspect and we still see just IEDs and scattered small-scale ambushes. It cannot be glorified as an offensive by any stretch of the imagination.

Shouldn't it tell us something that the enemy can't even plan for a military victory and can only go for television victory?

Shouldn't we be ashamed to be a people who our enemies believe can be defeated this way?

Get a grip, people.

Really, even if Iranian support increases the ability of our enemies to mount some type of television operation, we should see it for what it is--a desperate attempt to scare us. The enemy might be prepared to lose lots of their cannon fodder to do this.

Of course, if the Iranians throw in their military to really escalate the war, that changes everything. The price will go up immensely to hold them off.

Regardless of the scope, if the enemy tries a Tet, we should have the brains and guts to immediately counter-attack and chase them down to Tehran if we have to.