What is going on in Iraq, and why don't I know the answer? I mean, of all the people who should be able to speak with a certain authority on the state of events in a war, I should be somewhere in the upper percentages of the list. But I don't have an answer when asked that question these days and that is dead wrong.
NO, this is NOT about my ego. It may sound like it, but this really is about the information coming out of Iraq, or lack of information coming out of Iraq.
To justify my point, let's recap. I served in the United States Marine Corps for a total of eight years, in a combination of active, reserve, and inactive reserve status.
I fought in Vietnam. I flew 300 combat missions as a helicopter machine gunner and participated in limited ground fighting on the Quang Tri perimeter. I have studied war in-depth for more than 30 years since and have a better than average understanding of what some things mean, as opposed to people who have neither served nor studied, but are very good at parroting what someone else tells them.
But I don't know what is going on in Iraq. All I know from the news lately is that US casualties are up sharply this month, but I'm not sure why or what level of successes we may be having.
I got a bit of a glimpse from the news last night that said our guys are clearing out bad guys in some really bad neighborhoods, and that there has been some bitter fighting in some of these operations. Then I hear today that our top General on the ground in Iraq says things haven't been going as well as he had hoped and these operations haven't been as successful as he wanted so we're going to do something else!
Look, I'm not trying to be negative here, but we should have a regular series of updates on the war that give us some kind of indication of how we are doing, and where we are going. I am NOT talking about datelines or milestones, just progress reports.
We seem to be rudderless in Iraq, and if I feel that way, seeing as how I support us being there, and support the President for sending US forces there in the first place, (see previous posts) then how can we expect other Americans who WANT to support the president, to stay optimistic?
We all understand that casualties are a fact of life in war, and we grieve, individually and as a nation for the loss of life that has been inflicted on us by the terrorists. But we at least need to know that we're getting those bastards back!
We don't even know how many of them are dead after five years, while we get a minute by minute update on American and coalition deaths. Their PR guy says 4000, but that is a figure that only works to his advantage. The real number could be three to ten times that amount, or maybe even more. What the hell is that all about?
I read somewhere that a General over there doesn't want to release enemy casualty figures because that was done in Vietnam and that means it was done wrong! God forbid that we point out that most things the military did in Vietnam were done right! The media back then had a field day calling the military leaders liars because they didn't produce piles of dead communists to back up their attrition claims.
But the military is well aware that according to our former enemies, 1.4 million communist North Vietnamese troops died in that war, in addition to the entire 75,000 man Viet Cong guerilla army. So why would we not want to show our own country and the assholes supporting the terrorists, that the media back then was full of elitist, racist liars who succeeded in getting some 4 million innocent southeast Asians murdered as a result of their duplicity?
Why would we want to hunker down and hide from these same media people and their spawn, instead of showing the American public that we are in fact kicking ass.
Let's take a quick walk down memory lane and review World War II for a moment.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor we suffered some losses in naval battles, and also on land in North Africa, as well as Italy. But overall we prevailed and the public knew it.
We drove across North Africa and drove the Nazis out, similar to driving across Afghanistan and ousting the Taliban. Yes, yes, I am well aware that some of them have come back, but this isn't a fixed army, fixed national enemy type of war we are fighting so some of that is to be expected. Those that have drifted back to Afghanistan are getting their butts kicked too.
After North Africa the US invaded Sicily, then Italy proper, then Normandy. We had some bad battles, like Anzio and the Battle of the Bulge that inflicted enormous casualties on Allied troops. But we persevered, came back after these reversals (defeats to some historians) and continued on toward victory.
All the while, we were taking back the Pacific, island by island, with Marines, soldiers and sailors seeing some horrendous fighting and casualties. (Check out the movie Flags of Our Fathers, that just came out. More Marines died in a month on Iwo Jima than all the casualties in the five years of fighting the War on Terror.)
That didn't mean Americans didn't care or didn't grieve. The country was badly wounded in that fighting. But Americans compared that suffering to the overall drive to a final victory and knew that we had to endure those horrible death rates or ultimately be enslaved and murdered by Japanese militants and German Nazis.
What we got in WWII, The Big One, was a steady stream of good news to offset the casualties. We had discernable progress and victories. Why aren't we getting at least that much now?
There are signs all over the place that many things are going well for us. We haven't been attacked on the homeland since 2001, but have stopped numerous attempts to kill more American civilians.
We don't see the so-called Arab Street erupting in violence over issues that would have resulted in huge riots, death and destruction only a decade ago.
We managed, through the efforts of John Bolton and others at the Untied Nations, to get a coalition of nations including China and Russia,to condemn and impose harsh sanctions on the North Koreans for exploding A-bombs. Obviously we are succeeding on many fronts.
In fact, as far as the UN goes, John Bolton must be getting the job done since the Dems still want to shut him down permanently. I heard this on the news the other day and couldn't believe my ears. This was right around the same time that Genius John Kerry said that the Clinton Administration can't be blamed for helping North Korea build nukes because the Clinton's gave them Uranium, and bombs are made from Plutonium. (See previous post on Plutonium as a by-product of uranium fission in nuclear power plants.)
So right away another Genius who gets his marching orders from Kerry, which should tell you plenty about the overall mental capabilities in that camp, starts demanding that Bolton get fired.
Who is going to replace him? Albright?
We might as well surrender right now if that happens.
What we need here, is some news. Real news, not feel-good propaganda, that shows not only the difficulties of the fighting, but the progress we are making too. Without that, the voting public is rudderless, in a life imitates life scenario.
I believe most Americans want to support the troops, the president and the war. But the administration can't ask that of people unless they get some regular, reliable updates on what is happening. They can start by telling me.
Thursday, October 19, 2006