Hugh “Ol’ Gunny” Hewitt standing watch at Firebase Borders, where the lead is hot, but the frappes are cold.
When General Petraeus Reports (Johnny Won’t Be Marching Home Again)
President Bush made an excellent speech this weekAnd my grandfather, according to his nurse, made an excellent doodie. I suspect these two events will wind up having an equal effect on the war in Iraq.
…laying out the case that al Qaeda in Iraq is a subsidiary of al Qaeda in Waziristan…Although for tax purposes they’re incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
His central premise –a retreat in Iraq means a huge win for al Qaeda everywhere it organizes– was carefully constructed and reasoned and simply cannot be argued by the war’s critics, only ignored.Well, our withdrawl wouldn’t exactly provide a big bump in business for al Qaeda in Iraq, now would it? And if some of those troops were diverted to Afghanistan, I don’t imagine that would really boost morale at the home office. Oops, sorry — I forgot that the president simply cannot be argued with, only ignored. The problem is, he will not be ignored! So either I engage his argument and he fakes a suicide attempt, or I ignore his speech, and get boiled lagomorph for dinner.
There is a certain panic in the anti-war leadership as they see the same data that pro-surge commentators do, and understand that the unmistakable momentum on the side of the coalition threatens to bolster support for victory in Iraq. Victory in Iraq –the creation of a stable, functioning representative government protected by a strong Iraqi military capable of and committed to the suppression of terrorism and sectarian violence– would be a vindication of the Bush DoctrineWhereas the situation we have currently achieved in Iraq is a vindication of Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, that crappy Star Trek episode with Frank Gorshin as an alien with the complexion of a spectator pump who spends 50,000 years chasing another harlequin-faced dude around the galaxy because he stole Frank’s idea for the mock turtleneck. So Frank hijacks the Enterprise, but when he and the other Othello game piece get back home they find that all the Star Belly Sneetches and all the Plain Belly Sneetches have exterminated each other, leaving the two color-coordinated antagonists to chase each other through a lifeless, smoldering, irradiated landscape for all eternity. However, if George W. Bush was the captain, I have a feeling Hugh would find a way to spin this as a victory for Federation diplomacy.
…and although it would also be in the very best interests of the country as a whole, the left sees a political disaster in such an outcome, and has hence redoubled its efforts to tarnish not just the president who ordered the war, but also the generals who lead it, and the soldiers who fight it. In the service of this last objective, The New Republic was pleased to bring its readers the now infamous “Baghdad Diarist,” but that is just one of the more visible libels on the troops dressed up as “reporting” intended to be understood as a generally applicable view of the conduct of America’s military.Don’t you hate these guys who think, just because they’re “on the ground” and “writing” about things they’ve “witnessed,” that they’re “reporting?” That’s not reporting, that’s libelling. Reporting doesn’t consist of some jerk wandering around a war-torn country, interviewing people, taking photos, and describing events. The real reporting takes place back in the states, when bloggers prove the reporter in Iraq doesn’t exist.
Of course the victory hasn’t been won, and of course the argument about the war isn’t going to vanish even if General Petraeus gives an optimistic report in mid-September. But that report will matter a great deal, and I hope the Administration takes steps to assure that the American people get to hear it without the filter of the MSM or a Democratically-controlled Senate or House panel doing its best to muffle the good news and amplify the bad news.
I hope that General Petraeus appears before a respectful audience interested in his report and gives his remarks prefaced by an appeal to the MSM to at least play, uninterrupted, the first five minutes of his talk.Or better yet, just let him deliver it from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia. That usually fires up the proles.
If he then provided an executive summary of what he thinks is the situation in Iraq, there is an excellent chance that the American people will be allowed to hear the key facts from the key military leader.I hear Pinochet’s available.
I hope after that summary he proceeds to deliver a detailed speech which the responsible networks will carry live (and radio hosts will replay) and that he then takes an hour of questions, before appearing before any Senate or House panel (which he will of course make himself available for.) Even though the day is long, I hope he ends it with Brit Hume…That seems a bit harsh. Couldn’t they just waterboard him instead?
…followed by Charlie Rose, and then appears on Meet The Press and Wolf Blitzer’s program the following Sunday, thus making himself available to the four best television interviewers working today. On the Monday following the Sunday shows, I hope he appears on the programs of Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved…Here’s a tip: With that many clowns, you’re going to want to Armor-All the vinyl seats first, that way they can all pour out of the tiny car much more smoothly.
In the course of these talks, speeches, hearings and interviews, I hope General Petraeus does two key things.That’s Gaius Julius Petraeus to you, pal.
First, I hope he communicates a realistic timetable for success in Iraq.Using the Gregorian Calendar is just depressing people. He needs to start framing the debate in geologic time.
While he may commit to making quarterly reports, support for the war has to be informed by realism as to how long it will take to bring about victory.Until an asteroid hits Iraq and causes terrorists to undergo a global extinction event?
Bluntly giving his best assessment of a timetable to victory will serve notice on the enemy that the military is prepared to go the distanceEven if the weak-kneed civilian leadership gives up on the war, the military will not be moved. Any future Democratic Administration would have to scurry around Iraq, popping each individual soldier out of his foxhole with a prybar.
…and it will also give the public a measuring stick not just for our effort their but for Congressional support for it as well. General Petraeus has been attacked by the anti-war fringeIf your fringed shawl is 30% shawl and 70% fringe, chances are it’s not really a fringed shawl, but a regular shawl that’s just really badly unraveling.
I also hope General Petraeus tells us how many foreign jihadists have been killed in Iraq in the months since the surge began.Because as Hugh and the other hawks never tire of pointing out, there is no similarity between Iraq and Vietnam. And what better way to demonstrate that than by measuring the progress of the war with body counts?
I know the policy against giving body counts, and debated it on air with Tony Snow recently, but I hope the Pentagon will see that there is a huge difference between tallies of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese killed in the ’60s and the ’70s, and the number of international terrorists dispatched in Iraq in 2007.In one case, the corpses were sort of yellowish, and in the other, they’re kind of brown.
The president made an excellent case in Charleston that we cannot allow al Qaeda to establish a base of operations in Iraq…Um, Hugh? I hate to be the one to tell you this, but uh…
But that threat is still not real to many Americans. Why they refuse to believe the obvious is a problemHugh’s job used to be easy, but all these educated immigrants from India and Asia pouring into the U.S. have increased the average IQ, and decreased the National Gullibility Index. Damn you ICE!
…but the one measurement they may understand are the numbers of foreigners who travel to Iraq to make jihad against us. We can’t know that exact number, but we can establish a minimum of the number of them killed by our military before they ever had the chance to take jihad anywhere else.Maybe, finally, the American people will wake up when they see the large numbers of dead jihadist toddlers, militant teddy bears, and terrorist binkies caught by our new body count system.
Every dead terrorist in Iraq represents a significant victory for American security (and every foreign jihadist there is there against the wishes of the lawful government of Iraq and must be considered a terrorist.)Except the Shiite ones. And to be fair, the Sunni foreign jihadists are there with the express good wishes of the lawful government of Saudi Arabia. But I’m sure there’s some radical Baha’i terrorists we can all hate on together.
The numbers of these terrorists in the country and the number of them killed matter a great deal, as they communicate to the American public a sense of the scale of the threat we face in Iraq. Had we left when the Democrats wanted us to leave last year or early this year, those terrorists killed since the surge began would not only be alive…But so would several hundred American soldiers. And several thousand Iraqi civilians. And where would we put them all? We’d have to send the kids down to the Piggly Wiggly for more ice, and Bob would have to put a leaf in the table.
…they would have greater training, greater ambitions, greater momentum, and a sense of mission that could carry many of them to the West. If the United States doesn’t fight them in Iraq, we will indeed be fighting them in the county or in the countries of our allies.Well, we shouldn’t have offered to host Mesopotamian Civil War XII: Caliphate Smackdown! Yeah, it brings in the tourist dollar, but it’s going to screw up traffic in the downtown area for weeks.
General Petraeus and the officers and troops he commands have been winning huge victories for the American people as well as for Iraqis since JanuaryEven though we’re told that the surge only started two weeks ago. Well, I’m sure the General has won many famous moral victories. And probably several huge pyrrhic ones too.
and the significance of those victories deserves to be spelled out for the public and broadcast by the MSM. If General Petraeus asks for five minutes and doesn’t get it from the networks, the outrage will be real and sustained.Well. It’ll be sustained anyway.
If he does get those five minutes I hope he assembles the facts that Americans need to hear and which will confirm for them not just the excellence of their military and the skill and courage with which they fight, but also the significance of their mission and the necessity of the awful sacrifices made by so many men and women.I recommend he open with a joke.
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