Friday, December 09, 2005

Setting Up Another Tet Backlash

I'm thrashing out a lengthy post on the methods of politicization of warfare, but I'll surface with some quick commentary.

I see a lot of Republicans, official and blogosphere aquilifers, hastening to reassure the public that the troops can start coming home in 2006. And pundits like Powerline and John Rasmussen urge the GOP stress that idea or forfeit the majority in November.

Aren't we really setting ourselves up with that approach?

The pace of enemy action is really up to the enemy. If the enemy decides a suicidal, all-out attack across Iraq that requires American reinforcement to crush,is what they really want to try, there's not much we could do to prevent it. We can only rapidly contain and destroy it.

There isn't much talk about the "failed plan" of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. That plan is largely about holding cities hostage. I don't know why those guys haven't figured out that trying to set up sharia in a mid-sized urban area brings them nothing but grief, but they keep trying, and writing each other to demand more of it. Perhaps I shouldn't be suprised, since that was the pattern of Western warfare up to the mid-1800s, when strategy changed to demand a focus on destroying enemy forces rather than on occupying capitals.

So I expect to see more attacks on city governments, and more forces mobilized to fight them in 2006. I don't think the GOP is really preparing the American public for a series of victorious engagements in Iraqi cities next summer. Quite the contrary. I think they are feeding the notion that if we have to fight in Iraq, we're losing the war in Iraq.

The key difference between the President and the Democrats is that Democrats want us to adhere to a schedule of withdrawal, even if we have to helicopter our troops from rooftoops amid heavy rifle fire from smoking cities. The President wants to win, which is why he rejects any timetable. His true friends should avoid stressing that victory means a steady rate of evacuations from Iraq. Winning may require otherwise.

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