Why We Win

May 1, 2006

Just 4 1/2 years of our war against al-Qaeda started, its leaders are stateless, its foot soldiers dead or on the run, and it’s hated by its co-religionists. While there’s still plenty to go wrong in Iraq, the MSM claims of civil war turn out to be false and its politicians are building their democracy faster than Japan and Germany did. Strategy Page explains why (my ellipsis).

The End Of MSM Monopoly

…the terrorists were looking…to re-create images similar to those of American troops being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in 1993 or Walter Cronkite calling the Vietnam War a stalemate in 1968. It was hoped that such a moment would cause a dramatic drop in support for the war among the American people and force the United States out of Iraq.

But the lefty MSM no longer monopolizes what people see and hear – talk radio, Fox News and the blogosphere have seen to that.

…while al Qaeda hit its target, the effect was grossly minimized due to the fact that the “silent majority” now had tools by which they could be heard. The media created a false picture after the 1968 Tet Offensive, but was unable to do the same in Iraq.

Underestimating Their Enemy

al Qaeda assumed that the posture of the Clinton Administration…would continue. Instead, the Bush Administration went after al Qaeda’s host (the Taliban regime Afghanistan), then proceeded to go after another regime that sponsored terrorism (Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq – as indicated by documents recovered after the liberation of Iraq in 2003).

Then, when the media firestorms hit, rather than fold as the Clinton Administration did after the CNN images were shown in 1993, the Bush Administration stayed the course.

Killing Iraqi Civilians

Unable to significantly damage coalition forces, al Qaeda adopted the IRA practice of killing unarmed civilians:

This was intended to intimidate them into at least acquiescing to al Qaeda’s presence, if not supporting al Qaeda at all.

It didn’t work. Instead, as the car bombs went off , and drew CNN headlines in the United States, al Qaeda managed to become more and more unpopular with Iraqis. Even the Arab Sunnis began to view the Americans, who had displaced them from the power they had held under Saddam, as a better option than supporting al Qaeda.

Eventually, the Sunnis joined the democratic process and when that happened, al Qaeda’s eventual defeat was assured with increasing Sunni participation over three elections in the space of less than a year.

Technical Inferiority

al Qaeda comes from an 8th Century culture that does not innovate or manufacture, so was bound to lose out against modern forces. The latter adapted quickly to the new threats of the suicide bomber and the IED – 90% of IEDs are now detected and neutralized, most IED teams are killed or captured, and al Qaeda has given up on suicide attacks.

The rapid neutralization of these weapons owes a lot to the “two Is” – Israel and the Internet:

Particularly useful have been the technology and techniques for spotting suicide bombers before they can reach their targets. Israel developed all of this during the last four years, as they fought, and eventually defeated Palestinian terror organizations (that were sending hundreds of suicide bombers into Israel).

The Internet empowered coalition forces in 2 ways: front line bloggers and emailers got the real story out quickly and accurately, so equipment shortfalls were rapidly identified. And using the secure data network, after action reports on every terrorist attack and coalition countermeasure were shared immediately across the entire force.


Why We Fight

May 1, 2006

Today Israelis remember their fallen servicemen and women, and Americans reflect on the long war that began on 9/11.

22,123 soldiers Israeli fighters have died since independence – equivalent to 220,000 Brits (almost their KIA in WW2), or 1.1 million Americans (four times their KIA in WW2). Israel’s sacrifice built and maintains a bastion of light in a region of darkness.

A retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel reminds us how our long war connects to our past:

The sky may have looked empty around Flight 93, but it in fact it was crowded.

Off the right wing of Flight 93 flew the 60 B-17’s that fell attacking Schweinfurt on 14 October, 1943. Off the left wing flew the 54 B-24’s that went down attacking Ploesti earlier that same year. Down below flew the TBD Devastator torpedo planes of Torpedo Squadron Eight that went in against the Imperial Navy carriers at Midway in 1942. Top cover was provided by Butch O’Hare in his F4F Wildcat, the one he flew when he single-handedly stopped 9 Japanese bombers from sinking the carrier Lexington.

Here’s Gerard Vanderleun’s lesson from United 93, hat tip LGF (my ellipsis):

…in the end, saving themselves was not so much on their minds. I think that, at that time and in that place, they understood that those chances were slim indeed. Instead, I like to think that the men and women of United 93 had their souls set upon, in those last moments, the refusal to die as passive victims with seatbelts fastened as the monsters in the cockpit pushed their evil mission to its appointed end.

In a film of brief but telling moments, there’s one moment towards the end where you see one man reach down and remove his seatbelt. In that moment you can sense that he goes from being a passive victim to a man who has decided to stand up and engage the evil that has taken control of his life; to take the controls back from thugs and the cut-throats and the mumbling fanatics of a wretched and burnt-out god.
That man, like the firemen who went up the stairs (at the burning WTC), and his fellow passengers who attacked up the aisle in those last moments, became, in the end, one of the Americans who decided on that day and the days that followed, to stand up. Soon after, that man and all the others on United 93 went into the smoke of that fire in the field.
“United 93” is a simply told, near-documentary look at how that fire in the field came to be…(it) has no message, but if you — as I finally did — choose to go, it will pose you a question: What would you do, an ordinary person in an extraordinary moment when life and death, good and evil, were as clear as the skies over America on September 11? Will you, as so many of our fellow citizens yearn to do these days, stay seated? Or will you stand up?

On one of our days to come, there will be another test. You’d best have an answer prepared.