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Monday, October 15, 2007

At A Dangerous Crossroads, But A Needed One

There are reports that the US military wants to declare victory against Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). It would seem that our surge, coupled with a new strategy has been successful. Despite the fact that people still die there daily, the number and ferocity of attacks has diminished. Marines in Ramadi don’t wear body armor. Tribal leaders and everyday folks in Iraq have decided that enough is enough and have taken back their towns and villages. AQI has been run out of virtually every stronghold they once controlled. When was the last time you heard of Fallujah?

The intelligence community is expressing the opinion that it is too early to make this declaration. They think, and rightly so, that AQ has been remarkably focused and has recovered time and time again from defeats. The declaration, or non declaration, will have political consequences far beyond tomorrow’s headlines. This is a situation that we must think through carefully in the context of the global war on terror (GWOT) and the situation in Iraq for our warriors and for the governments of Iraq and the US.

First we must acknowledge that all organizations have institutional bias. For those that have been around my place a while, you know I worked for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for five years, and a year ago accepted a corporate position as a Director of Security. Before either of those I was in local law enforcement. I say all of that to give you this personal example of this bias.

Leaving law enforcement for DHS was a bit of a change going from carrying a gun and kicking in doors to a management/operations/intelligence focus. I always had in the back of my mind how the guys who were to kick in doors would approach things and see the situation as it developed. When I left to accept my current position, I had to reload and think about internal things such a logistics and internal thefts. I had to think about how to keep things IN, instead of keeping things OUT. It took a couple of months to fully refocus my thinking.

The military is the same. Don’t misunderstand me here, I am not bashing the military or implying that they are incapable of broad thinking. I am saying that there is a definition of victory in the military that does not mean, contrary to the critics of “mission Accomplished”, that every single last possibility of death has been removed. Military victory means that a situation exists where the enemy is incapable of mounting a substantive and effective offensive. It means that the enemy has been decimated to the point that they are not a serious threat to our forces and our objectives.

The military may be correct, and this is a fantastic situation report (SITREP) from our warriors and for our nation. We must ask what the consequences would be to a declaration of victory.

The Negatives –

1) It means that the left would have us remove troops immediately.
Not a good thing. In warfare there are stages to even a victory. A “breakthrough” is what happens when you punch a hole in the enemy’s defenses. It must be followed by a “breakout” which is the continuity of action that takes advantage of the breakthrough. Sometimes it is further military action that expands the military operation. Sometimes it might be more political and establishing a solid defensive posture. It can be argued that General Robert E. Lee could have actually won the battle of Gettysburg and broken the Union Army, but in a rare tactical mistake did not plan a breakout.

2) It could backfire if AQI has simply shifted their focus to another theater, such as Afghanistan or Pakistan.

3) It would have deep political consequences if we declare victory and AQI regroups and launches an offensive, resulting in the need to deploy more forces back to Iraq after many have returned home.

4) It would further erode the public awareness of what the GWOT means.

The Positives –

1) It would increase the public support of our forces and the next battle if we have defeated one enemy.

2) It would raise President Bush’s approval, and increase the power of the incumbent party for 2008.

3) It would make the dems look like a bunch of bed-wetting pacifists that are scared to fight the wars. It would also show that they truly had no plan and no concept of what needed done. Basically, it would show that they were wrong all along and the public made a terrible decision giving them the power of Congress.

It would warm my heart to accomplish # 3 immediately above, but I can’t consider that. I think we should NOT declare victory at this time. I think that we should issue report after report on the specifics of this SITREP. We should inundate the public with the good news. We should continue the breakout phase and push (HARD) the Iraqi government to make things happen. We should take advantage of this situation, yet continue to work hard to make it better.

Your thoughts?

5 Posts From Readers:

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

No matter the negatives or the positives, declaring victory against Al Qaeda in Iraq will be played by the left as a propaganda move by Bush and they will find a way to ham-string him once again to force the look of failure.

It will be plyed very much like his speech from the Abraham Lincoln about the end of major combat operations.

Unfortunatly short of ending all conflict in Iraq with total victory and a completely stable government combined with a strong Iraq security force that is proven to be able to protect the country without US help, declaring any victory will be used by the left to reverse current progress and as a campaign move for Dems in 08.

Just look how they are trying to destabalize the current success with the stupid move over the resolution against the Ottoman Empire which has turkey rethinking its stance with the US. Nothing is beneath the left and claiming victory in the current politcal climate unfortunatly plays into theur hands.

We need to stay focused ans continue reporting the success as well as marking the accomplishments.

DJ Black Adam said...

It would not be wise to declare victory on such an enemy as Al Qaida, until such time that Iraq and Afghanistan are stable with function goverments, militaries and law enforcement agencies. These groups recruit on propeganda, we would be best to not feed that beast.

In my humble opinion...

TRUTH-PAIN said...

What is the moral victory of "Declaration"?.... I've wondered about this for some time. To declare "war" for example, is an action with tangible consequences. But to declare "victory over AQ", ... I don't know, it just rings hollow to this man's ears and heart. Does a declaration not need parameters of "achievement" and "benchmarks" set forth by an official body? if so,... what were the benchmarks of implied victory, or improvements that would make a declaration anythign but a hollow and political whistle? ...

As TLLTCC said in his comment, any "declaration" will be met with boisterous blasting from the left (AND the right as far as I am concerned).

Why not take a lesson from liberal cities and call it an "AQ-free zone"? ... bring in a few environmental groups, P.E.T.A.,... and others; and you can call Fallujah "an AQ-toxic waste-nuclear-stray dogs Free Zone". That should get some people aboard.

Wadical said...

I agree with TLLTCT. Bush's speech from the aircraft carrier was premature and a political disaster. It was the first thing that popped in my mind. Any claim of military "victory" in Iraq will be likened to the same folly by the liberal media.

Bush is in a no-win situation. There is nothing he can do to bolster his approval rating. The liberal left has such a strangle hold on public opinion through their media-monopoly that such an endeavor would be hopeless.

As a direct result of the superb performance of our brave men and women in uniform, our enemy is scattered and unorganized......for now. But we must grasp the concept that no claim of American victory constitutes the defeat of this enemy. As long as they breath, they are not defeated. Extremism is rampant in Islam. It is a global problem and it is a growing problem. The only thing that will defeat this enemy is total annihilation or a global and total reformation of Islam to a posture of moderation (which is totally against all that the Quran teaches). Neither are likely to occur in our lifetime. But packing our bags and coming home with the idea that we've suicide.

Our enemy has no honor and they will shoot us in the back with no hesitation...NO QUESTION. They cannot be allowed to come up for air. We cannot let up. We cannot quit seeking them out and bringing the fight to their doorstep or they will most assuredly bring it to ours.

More American citizens will die as a result of the Islamic push to take over the world. That is a fact I challenge anyone to refute. We will die and if we do not continue to pursue our enemy like rabid hounds from hell we will die by the hundreds of thousands because to this enemy....there is no defeat. To die, is to win.

It staggers the mind at how little Americans actually know about this enemy, this opportunistic wolf that constantly patrols our fence line probing for weaknesses. We are their prey and they salivate at the very thought of tasting our blood.

Al Qaeda is not a singular organization. It once was. But now it has morphed into a more formidable ideology.

American Interests said...

An appealing declaration but still too early to make, negative points 1, 2, and 3 being applicable.

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