Administration's Tone Signals a Longer, Broader Iraq Conflict
For most of the 30 months since American-led forces ousted Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration has argued that as democracy took hold in Iraq, the insurgency would lose steam because Al Qaeda and the opponents of the country's interim government had nothing to offer Iraqis or the people of the Middle East…
…But inside the administration, that belief provides less solace than it once did. Senior officials say the intelligence reports flowing over their desks in recent months argue that even if democratic institutions take hold, the insurgency may strengthen…
…Mr. Bush's own way of talking about the future, in Iraq and beyond, has undergone a subtle but significant change in recent weeks. In several speeches, he has begun warning that the insurgency is already metastasizing into a far broader struggle to "establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia." While he still predicts victory, he appears to be preparing the country for a struggle of cold war proportions.
So now we're fighting them over there so we can keep fighting them over there forever. Stand by for more "stay the course" talk.
Marine Lieutenant General James T. Conway gives us an earful of it in this month's issue of Proceedings magazine. "Tell it to the Troops" is a standard compendium of familiar talking points, mantras, and blame shifting:
…Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines realize that the biggest threat to mission accomplishment does not depend on what the Iraqis do—rather it's what their fellow Americans do. As in any democracy, the support of the population is the center of gravity for continuation of war. Our forces in Iraq know this and so does the enemy. The insurgents realize full well the only chance they have of defeating the U.S. military is to weaken the will of the American population—and every facet of their strategic communications effort is focused on that aim. The insurgents maim and kill the less protected Iraqis—but their real target is that portion of American public opinion that is shaped by the news media. They openly cite our premature withdrawals from Vietnam, Beirut, and Somalia as a national tendency to cut and run if the cost is too severe—and hope to force a repetition in Iraq.
In other words, "Buy our war or we'll shoot this dog."
As in Vietnam, the failures of Iraq are the direct result of the dishonest, incompetent policies and strategies of America's political and military leadership. For our politicians and generals to shift blame to the media and lack of "public support" is disingenuous at best, and "real" American's shouldn't put up with it.
In a free society like ours, public "allegiance" to government is something earned, not owed. In its conduct of the war in Iraq, our government has done nothing whatsoever to earn our respect, trust, or support, and it has shamefully abused its stewardship of the men and women in our military.
And it sure as heck hasn't made us any safer.