The lessons of Colombia

Why is it so hard for Americans to learn about the successes of our war on terror? In the wake of the killing  of the leader of the FARC guerillas and the success of our Iraq policies in marginalizing Al Qaeda (all without much press notice), Investor's Business Daily points to the lessons Colombia can teach us about fighting a guerilla war.

As support flags for the Iraq War even in the face of victory, it may help to look to south to Colombia, where the public still supports its military and celebrates victories. The fighting spirit helps to win. [....]

You see, in Colombia, they understand terrorists thrive on propaganda machines of their own. To win, you must get ahead of them.

Uribe motivates the military with encouragement and high expectations. He calls midlevel field commanders in the jungle every Friday, not just to offer flattery but to push them to succeed. In speeches to military schools, he rallies troops with the words: "Capture them!" This, after decades of appeasement, thrills the troops.

In March, Uribe and the military had 84% Gallup approval ratings. Newspapers brim with laudatory public letters about both.

"In ordinary conversation, outside the universities and radical circles, people appreciate the military," notes Andres Mejia-Vergnaud, head of the Institute of Liberty and Progress in Bogota.

The U.S. can learn from this. If we're to win our war on terror, we must do more than just send our troops into harm's way. We must celebrate them - and the victory they're bringing us.

There may be little we can do about the inclinations of the press and the elites in our country, but more vigorous communication from the top would have been helpful. In war we need a great communicator, it seems.
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