Sunday, July 24, 2005

If we just think positive, we win in Iraq!

Hereafter known as the the Kumbaya Strategy. I kid you not, this is the thesis of Austin Bay's cover story in the Weekly Standard, an article that explains how we'd be winning even bigger if it weren't for those darned news media types publicizing all those blown-apart Iraqis. It also shows how Gen. John Abizaid is keeping his fingers on the pulse of the Arab Street in Riyadh and Tehran from his fortified bunker in the Green Zone. This is what it's come to:

"The mood of how this war is going in Baghdad and Arab capitals is better than in Washington and London," Abizaid said...

Why? I asked. Why is that? Why the rank negativism?


Patient, he said. We have no patience, I thought. Washington, D.C., and cable news have no patience. Our own ridiculous, catered-to generation, General, has little patience for anything except capital gains, and maybe that's too generous a statement. If the Big Mac is two minutes late, Boomers, be they left or right, get pissed.

And it goes on like this.

Oh, and there's more incisive commentary on "Why we're winning."
Winning the global war against Islamist terror ultimately means curbing the terrorists' strategic combat power, and that means ending the media magnification of their bombs.

I remember a very early morning in July 2004, still on active duty, when I realized this was the case. I walked into the coalition's Joint Operations Center in Al Faw Palace, Baghdad, and took a seat in the back of the tiered amphitheater. A huge plasma screen draped the front wall, like a movie theater screen, divided into ceiling-high panels capable of displaying multiple computer projections. A viewer could visually hopscotch from news to weather to war. The biggest display, that morning and every morning, was a spooling date-time list describing scores of military and police actions undertaken over the last dozen hours. The succinct, acronym-packed reports flowed like haikus of violence: "0331: 1/5 Cav, 1st Cavalry Division, arrests suspects after Iraqi police stop car"; "0335 USMC vicinity Falluja engaged by RPG, returned fire. No casualties."

The spool spun on and on, and I remember thinking: I know we're winning. We're winning because--in the big picture--all the opposition (Saddam's thugs and Zarqawi's al Qaeda) has to offer is the tyranny of the past. But the drop-by-drop police blotter perspective obscures that.

Look, no matter how bleak the situation appears (read this counter-narrative to Bay's sunny optimism), I'm not such a pompous ass to declare outright that we somehow won't "win," whatever that means, in Iraq, but I am also not such a pompous ass to declare that "we're winning" right now. Who is Austin Bay kidding?

A final note: We also get a retread of Bay's now-infamous line: "...flash the flames of that one rig, on CNN and, 'Oh my God, America can't stop these guys,' is the impression left from Boise to Beijing." Which was dissected a bit here.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 5:40 AM

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