Monday, March 26, 2007

“The idea is to end each day with fewer enemies than when it started.”

So says General Patraeus, and Arthur Herman explains in this Commentary piece how it is possible to win in Iraq and still lose.

Herman uses the French fight for Algeria in the 1950s as an example of how you can win the battles and lose the war because of leftists at home. In America, we have our own example: Vietnam.

Lefties in the anti-war movement and the media did such a number on the war that most high school kids think we lost the Tet Offensive and that the reason we "lost" Vietnam was because the Vietcong were superior militarily. They don't learn that the reason the war was lost was that Congress cut off funding for the democracies of South Vietnam and Cambodia. They are too young to remember, like me, the people trying to hang on to helicopters, hoping not to be slaughtered for supporting democracy. No, instead, they are too busy learning about excesses by Western governments and that all societies are equally valid.

Herman points out the strategy used by the French commander David Galula to squash the insurgency in Algeria and how it can (and is) be/being applied in Iraq.

1. Concentration of force--divide areas into safe, contested, and insurgency controlled, then concentrate forces on turning contested areas into safe ones, controlled into contested, then contested into safe areas.

2. Visible and continuous military presence--it creates trust in civilian institutions.

3. Inevitable victory--counterinsurgency troops must project a sense of inevitable victory in order to win the war for the "hearts and minds."

Even as Galula's strategy won the military war in Algeria, the anti-war movement in France doomed it. This is where the current anti-war movement in America is so deadly. In short, we can do everything right in Iraq and still lose the war through the constant drumbeat of anti-American, anti-war sloganeering and argumentation. There are many places to find this sort of discussion, from leftist websites to MSM to supposed "comedians" on television. The bottom line is that unless the anti-war left--who really don't care about casualties, given their track record--decides to support our efforts in Iraq, they really will turn it into Vietnam. Only this time, I don't think the Iraqis can become the boat people of the 21st Century.

Cross-posted at Common Sense Political Thought.