July 10, 2007
Who is Losing What War in Iraq?By Paul Shlichta
President Bush's apt comparison of the present situation to the Revolutionary War evokes a vivid image of Nancy Pelosi and Harold Reid, as members of the Continental Congress, screaming that the war is lost and demanding that we surrender to the British immediately. Thank God that they weren't around then or they might have changed the course of American history.
Harry Reid has declared, with the solemnity and finality of a baseball umpire, that we have "lost the war in Iraq." Fortunately, our soldiers aren't listening him and are still fighting gallantly and displaying an impressive maturity and sense of responsibility. But to make sure that everyone else sees through the inanity and mendacity of Reid's pronouncement, let us go through a brief catechism together:
Which war are we talking about? We went to war against Saddam Hussein and his Baath party---nobody else. The last I heard, Saddam, his sons, and most of his chiefs were dead, his army dispersed, and a new government in place. I'd call that winning a war, wouldn't you?
Then, Al Qaeda, Lebanon, and Iran sent terrorist groups, disguised as "insurgents", to fight against the new government and us. This is a different war, one in which, for diplomatic reasons, we have pretended not to recognize the true identity of the enemy.
Have we lost this war? Not yet. You lose a war by either:
(1) surrendering your troops to the enemy;
(2) losing control of most or all of the territory and being forced to evacuate your troops; or
(3) losing the will to go on fighting and voluntarily leaving the scene.
Nothing like (1) or (2) has happened or is likely to happen in Iraq. Option (3) hasn't happened yet but, for purely political motives, the Democratic leadership is trying to make it happen by convincing the American people that we have lost. They appear to have gone so far as to meet with the Syrian sponsors of the terrorists. This is sometimes known as "giving aid and comfort to the enemy", which was a crime back in WWII days but now seems to be considered a clever political strategy.
How can we lose the war? By losing our nerve, as the Democratic leadership wants us to, and withdrawing our support from the Iraqis while they are still willing to fight the insurgents.
There is considerable evidence that the government and people of Iraq, although unaccustomed to democracy and suffering from terrorist atrocities, are beginning to learn to fight for themselves. But without our continued guidance and support for several years, they will collapse -- which is what the MSM and the Democratic leadership wants to happen.
This is what happened in Viet Nam. In response to the Tet offensive, we dealt a major blow to the North Viet Nam army. NVN officials are on record as stating that their army was shattered by severe casualties. But our media reported it as a NVN victory and succeeded in convincing the US public that we had to withdraw.
How can the Iraqis lose the war? The Iraqis can lose---and are losing---the war by fighting among themselves. As Lincoln quoted in 1858, prophesying the Civil War that nearly destroyed us, "a house divided against itself cannot stand."
That is how the South Vietnamese lost their war. Initially, Ngo Dinh Diem was successful at keeping the Viet Cong contained but ran afoul of the militant Buddhist faction, which trumped up false charges against him and then, with Kennedy's blessing, engineered a coup and assassination in 1963. As Wikipedia describes it:
In the end, the infighting between South Viet Nam factions and the consequent instability of the government gave increased credibility to the Viet Cong cause and undermined all efforts to unify South Vietnamese resistance.
This could also happen in Iraq, where the insurgents have made effective use of the "dragon's teeth" strategy for reducing one's enemy into mutually warring factions. To paraphrase Hawthorne's version of the story:
As the army of warriors, sprouted from the dragon's teeth, rushed to attack Jason, he threw a stone among them, hitting several warriors. Each thought he had been hit by a neighbor, so that they began fighting one another until all were killed and only Jason was left.
This strategy has served the terrorists in Iraq well. They destroy a Shiite shrine, making it look as if the Sunnis did it. Then they bomb a Sunni shrine, as if it were a Shiite retaliation. And then they relax and watch the Sunnis and Shiites destroy each other.
How can we stop the infighting between the Iraqi factions? We can't; only they can. But we can gather the factions together and convince them that they must either unite or lose our support.
Suppose they cannot or will not unite? Then we may have to leave -- but slowly and intelligently, leaving the strongest possible infrastructure behind us. The worst thing we could do would be to depart with no stable successor, leaving a vacuum behind in the way the British quit Palestine in 1948. Leaving behind an artificially propped up and unstable 'unified' government would be almost as bad.
Perhaps the best last-resort policy would be partition, in the manner of the separation of India and Pakistan -- a divorce that, despite some stormy episodes, has survived without catastrophic war for half a century (so far). A Kurd-Sunni-Shiite tripartition might just work. The Kurds want to maintain their identity and freedom and have demonstrated their willingness to fight for it, with or without the rest of Iraq. We can encourage and facilitate a Sunni-Shiite partition by reorganizing our support into separate regional administrations. The most critical issue, the sharing of oil revenues, appears to be nearing resolution. And perhaps the threat of an enforced partition might encourage peaceful unification.
In any case, America has won its war. Our friends among the free Iraqis need our support, but any eventual defeat will not be caused by US intervention but rather by defeatist Democratic-MSM propaganda in the US and by the long-standing factional hatreds among the Iraqis themselves.