politics, history and the war on terror
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Perspective 

Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! - Bluto, National Lampoon's Animal House

The opinion pages and the blogosphere are filled with an unending sense of doom these days, particularly after the discovery of abuse and torture in the Abu Ghraib prison. This downward spiral of despair began about two months with the brutal murder and defilement of four American security contractors in Fallujah, followed immediately by the attacks on American troops in Baghdad, Najaf and other Iraqi cities by the radical Shiite cleric al-Sadr. Some supporters of the Iraq war believe it has been lost or can no longer be salvaged, while some opponents of the war gloat at our perceived failures.

While the news from Iraq has not been positive the past several months, we are nowhere near defeat. The situation in Fallujah and with al-Sadr appears to have stabilized. American Marines are currently patrolling the streets with Iraqi defense forces. And al-Sadr appears to have been marginalized by the vast majority of Shiites while American forces and Iraqi tribal groups have isolated and targeted al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, killing scores of fighters without the objection of Shiite leaders. Iraq is an ongoing struggle to restore peace and order, and for those who need to be reminded of our successes in Iraq and challenges and problems that lie ahead, please review 'Iraq, 2004'.

Casualties in Iraq must be placed into context of past American wars of this scale. Americans have made enormous sacrifices to promote freedom and stability both at home and around the world. So far, American casualties have not even come close to exceeding those of the Battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific theater in World War II, to say nothing of the casualties at Okinawa.

War: Killed / Wounded
Civil War, North: 363,020 / 281,104
Civil War, South: 199,110 / 137,102
World War I: 116,708 / 204,002
World War II: 408,306 / 670,846
(Iwo Jima): 6,503
Korean War: 54,246 / 103,284
Vietnam War: 58,219 / 153,356

In every war, there are moments of doubt and despair. Britons experienced their darkest days after Nazi Germany overran the European continent and during the ensuing Battle of Britain, which threatened the very existence of that nation. Americans saw the spector of defeat after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and crippled the Pacific Fleet, and conquered the Philippines and the rest of the Pacific basin, as well as the unexpected Chinese entry in the Korean War. Our present setbacks in Iraq cannot begin to compare to these historical events, no matter how hard some try.

Americans must remember the sacrifices we have made, both past and present, the reasons we chose to go to war. The United States military has no equal on the open battlefield, as the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated, but the conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere has shifted from conventional warfare to fourth generation warfare (4GW, also referred to as asymmetrical or guerilla warfare). Wars of this nature are predicated on propaganda, intelligence and the will to succeed, and our military is well suited to deal with these types of conflicts. The mainstream media and Democratic leadership are pulling out all of the stops to portray the war as Vietnam (as they have done with every war since Vietnam). The Vietnam War was not lost on the battlefields of Vietnam, as is commonly believed, but on the domestic front. Americans have a long history of sacrifice and common sense in matters of war. Iraq can only be lost if we lose the will to fight, and I trust the majority of Americans understand the implications of failure in Iraq and succumbing to Islamic terror.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:09 AM

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