August 21, 2003

If You Start With A False Premise...

You, or Bob Herbert, can reach any conclusion you want, no matter how ludicrous:

How long is it going to take for us to recognize that the war we so foolishly started in Iraq is a fiasco tragic, deeply dehumanizing and ultimately unwinnable?

I had a lot of trouble getting past the first sentence. But catch these quotes from an anonymous UN official:

"This is a dream for the jihad," said one high-ranking U.N. official. "The resistance will only grow. The American occupation is now the focal point, drawing people from all over Islam into an eye-to-eye confrontation with the hated Americans.

"It is very propitious for the terrorists," he said. "The U.S. is now on the soil of an Arab country, a Muslim country, where the terrorists have all the advantages. They are fighting in a terrain which they know and the U.S. does not know, with cultural images the U.S. does not understand, and with a language the American soldiers do not speak. The troops can't even read the street signs."

Where things can only get worse -- Typical tranzi talk, but what if what you fear is actually part of the overall strategy?

Where the terrorists have all the advantages -- Which advantanges would those be? Men? Materiel? Technology? Intel? Next I suppose you'll say, "Their chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Their two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Their three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to Allah.... Their Amongst their weapons.... Amongst their weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again."

Where we don't know the terrain, and cannot read the street signs -- Trust me Bob, our maps and digital products have the terrain down real well. And I know this might be hard for Bob Herbert to accept, but our troops do actually show a remarkable capacity to learn -- as well as to adopt, adapt, improvise and overcome.

Hmm..., the flypaper seems to be pulling in the occasional annoying mosquito as well as the stinging insects and biting flies. I wonder who the bigger fool is, this anonymous UN official or Bob Herbert for repeating this foolishness as gospel?

The American people still do not have a clear understanding of why we are in Iraq. And the troops don't have a clear understanding of their mission. We're fighting a guerrilla war, which the bright lights at the Pentagon never saw coming, with conventional forces.

Well, that settles that question. It looks like Bob's anonymous UN official still has a way to go to catch up to bamboozled Bob. (I was going to make a Dianne Fosse reference here about Iraqi irregulars and JDAMs, but I thought better of it.)

One of the many reasons Vietnam spiraled out of control was the fact that America's top political leaders never clearly defined the mission there, and were never straight with the public about what they were doing.

God, I can't wait until the entire generation of journalists that reached puberty about 1962 is retired so I won't have to hear PVQS (Post-Vietnam Quagmire Syndrome) ever again.

Senator John McCain and others are saying the answer is more troops, an escalation. If you want more American blood shed, that's the way to go. We sent troops to Vietnam by the hundreds of thousands. There were never enough.

Send more shovels, Bob's broken his on bedrock but he wants to keep digging.

Beefing up the American occupation is not the answer to the problem. The American occupation is the problem. The occupation is perceived by ordinary Iraqis as a confrontation and a humiliation, and by terrorists and other bad actors as an opportunity to be gleefully exploited.

Oh sure, try to slander Schwarzenegger with guilt by association while you're at it Bob.

The U.S. cannot bully its way to victory in Iraq. It needs allies, and it needs a plan. As quickly as possible, we should turn the country over to a genuine international coalition, headed by the U.N. and supported in good faith by the U.S.

The idea would be to mount a massive international effort to secure Iraq, develop a legitimate sovereign government and work cooperatively with the Iraqi people to rebuild the nation.

Everybody sing, "We are the world, we are the children...!" And I'm the mean babysitter who's going to have to tell you to put away your toys and eat your vegetables.

A U.N. aide told me: "The United States is the No. 1 enemy of the Muslim world, and right now it's sitting on the terrorists' doorstep. It needs help. It needs friends."

No, I think terrorists are the #1 enemy of the Muslim world, and the non-Muslim world for that matter. But with friends like this UN aide -- or Bob Herbert, for that matter -- does the US need enemies?

Posted by Charles Austin at August 21, 2003 01:50 PM

Herbert suffers from quagmire envy

Posted by: Ken Hahn at 11:56 PM

"It needs allies" - I wish someone would explain what exactly that means. The UN is made up of nations, after all. Russia? Japan? Mexico? France? What is the price for their involvement? Will they contribute more than advice? Will they be able to read the street signs?

It would be good to have allies. Is there a country not already in Iraq that
1) has professional and experienced forces to contribute,
2) cares enough to get involved (in the long term) with men or money,
3) and has no opposing agenda?

And could this nation be perceived as an "enemy of the muslim world" by islamist fanatics? Because that rules it out, according to the NYT.

Any suggestions?

Posted by: werner at 01:29 PM