The New York Times and the Associated Press, (two news agencies whose work in Andean Latin America is suspiciously similar) are at it again. They say that since our ally Colombia is fighting a terrorist war on a heated battlefield, the sky must be falling.
They seize on Colombia's recent battlefield losses, as well as local complaints, as proof the nation is overwhelmed, the terror war is lost, and its president doesn't know what he's doing. As far as they are concerned, Colombia might as well surrender to the communists.
And their gloating subtext? Another Bush defeat.
In the U.S., we've seen this movie before. It's gotten pretty conventional, and the plot, as written by the Times, the AP or anyone else who imagines he's 'the world' is always the same:
War, in itself, is always wrong. No matter how just the cause or how atrocious the enemy, the only proper response is a 'peace process.' Meanwhile, if war is undertaken, it should be quick, easy and painless. Complete with a pre—announced 'exit strategy.' Any other string of events, particularly the unexpected, is cause for endless carping.
Not long ago, we saw this 'logic' during the Great Battle of Fallujah, where our U.S. troops distinguished themselves in combat through extraordinary courage. Because of their commitment to victory and willingness to take risks, they took terrible losses to win this turning—point battle. But the mainstream media didn't get it. All they saw were "victims" and they imagined this was proof that the U.S. was 'losing' the war in Iraq. It never occurred to them that our troops won a decisive victory, both physical and psychological, that paved the way for Iraq's triumphant elections on Jan. 30. It was their finest hour.
It also never occurred to the mainstream media that that fierce Fallujah battle was the terrorists' last stand. Bloody battles like Fallujah happen when victory is imminent. We first learned this from the mistakes that followed the American victory in the Tet offensive — to never lose one's resolve when the enemy is putting up his bloodiest struggle. Because it's frequently the last stand which is the bloodiest. So, never throw away victory.
There is a terror war underway in Colombia. It's gone on for 40 years. Only since the election of President Alvaro Uribe has there been a real effort to end the war with victory. It's a risky strategy but it's also the only one likely to work.
Prior to Uribe, countless futile negotiations took place between the Colombian government and the murderous communist drug traffickers conducting a terror war there. Every one of these 'peace efforts' — including a deal from a previous president to cede to them a piece of land the size of Switzerland — was an abject failure. Worse than that, they led to stepped—up violence from these ruthless emboldened killers. Terrorists cannot be negotiated with. That was why Colombia's voters, like Iraq's voters, braved bullets from terrorists to elect President Uribe.
Uribe has been battling a long lonely war on his own against these remorseless terrorists with a relatively small $3 billion aid program from the U.S. Unlike the U.S., victory for him is not necessarily certain because his country is not as powerful as the U.S., and the terrorists, who are financed through the global cocaine trade, are wealthy and entrenched.
Horrifically enough, and not noted by the Times, they also get aid and succor from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez next door, who's got oil billions. Nevertheless, Uribe's done more to smash these terrorists than anyone who's ever led his country — uncovering arsenals, snatching and jailing terror kingpins, disarming thugs, crushing guerrillas in battle, and reducing the territory they control to ever—smaller areas.
They're cornered and of course they're angry and lashing out. But with victory in sight, President Uribe's had to deal with insults from Europe, for not treating terrorism as 'a police matter,' and from internal critics and the New York Times, who say his reading of previous victories was premature, given the stepped—up last—stand campaign from Colombia's dead—enders.
A sober reading of the situation shows that President Uribe has stepped up his war footing, now that these killers have come out of the woodwork. President Bush and Congress are right behind him, approving the needed aid to fight this terror war, without conditioning it on 'social programs' that don't win battlefield victories. (There had been talk of cuts and a new social—program aid diversion, and none of it happened.) President Uribe in turn has been unwavering in extraditing narcotrafficantes to the U.S., decimating their leadership. There's still no sign President Uribe has any intention of settling for anything but victory, no matter how stupid or grating his internal critics or how often the New York Times claims he's losing. Having no proof of losing the real war, it's significant that the Times desperately resorts to a story about Uribe's loss of the 'image' war.
The fact is Uribe's not losing. This stepped—up war is a natural stage of asymmetrical terrorist warfare, as the terrorists lose. So long as Uribe can maintain his resolve, he will win a lasting victory.
Officials from State, the Pentagon and the Colombian government sharply disagreed with Robert Novak's recent gloomy assessment, too. The U.S.'s terror—fighting assistance for Colombia is the same as before, with no request from President Uribe for extra cash, and they point out that if there were a real crisis, he would get it. (Maybe Novak is reading too many New York Times dispatches.)
But the Times and the AP never learn. They pull out the Fallujah template they just recently used on President Bush and attempt to shove it onto his ally President Uribe to demoralize him. Just as they successfully did during Tet in the Vietnam War. They will do anything they can, including serving the aims of narcoterrorists themselves, to strike at him and at President Bush. It's contemptible. But so soon after Fallujah, it's pretty obvious to the rest of us what they're trying to do.