Monday, August 21, 2006

The Strategic Funk

Here it is. It isn't my best post, or best written. Off the top of the head from two different sessions over three days. Like I mentioned in my other post inspired by Skippy (and it doesn't involve babes or beer), I am in a funk, a Strategic Funk. Going from Political, to Strategic, to Operational, to Tactical - this is a summer of challenge. The worst is Political (and I am not talking domestic politics, the POL part of POLMIL), but my funk is at the Strategic.

Here is why. We all knew almost five years ago, well most of us knew - and some have forgotten that they once knew it themselves - that this was going to be a long generational war. One we can't ignore or walk away from. One that our advanced, pampered, and civilized petty culture will not protect us from. No more than it protected Rome. There was always the hope that we caught the enemy at their culmination, and that we could roll things back to where we could get back to worrying about school uniforms, blue dresses and thousands of points of light; but hope is not a strategy.

There have always been three critical strong points in the first phase of this war; to move forward they have to hold these solidly.
- (1) Israel deterrent in being.
- (2) Afghanistan's progress.
- (3) Iraq's progress.

If one is lost - all three are; so we would have to fall back to the already weakened Eastern redoubt of Europe. You don't want to know what I think of that.

I will not soak you in my funk, but put you on to some of the things floating around in the swamp and let you chew on it. If you follow all the links, you will figure it out.

Anyway, Israel. A lot of my speculated "Top 5" I put out is being validated. Yipee. When Israel shows weakness, her enemies will advance until they are again brought to their knees. Caroline has it right. If I was a single man, I would ask her out for a few drinks at a Russian bar and bring a pack of smokes. I don't smoke.

Afghanistan. In a phrase - it isn't about us. Sure, we can kill a lot of Taliban, but there is an almost endless supply in Pakistan. Kill 71, 213 are ready to take their place. No, this is all about Pashtuns, Poppy, Pakistan, and the persistence in this haunted land of an unsated blood lust unchanged for thousands of years. The solution is for the Western Forces to hold the line, without making it worse, until an Afghan face takes over. Years, not months away. If Pakistan falls, even more years away. At the most critical juncture NATO is taking hold with an unsure grasp. Dutch elections are this fall. Canadian within 18 months, perhaps sooner. The UK has a PM who is worried about the knives in his own cabinet - and the growing Islamists threat within. Italy is following Spain. The rest are keeping an eye on the exit. All is not lost, but this is the time for varsity football in the South and East; can we cannot deal with weak sisters. Each sign of weakness, the enemy gets bolder. Remember, they know that in the end, we will be gone, they will still be there.

Iraq. All this talk about partition needs to be stowed. In a perfect world, in perfect peace, we could talk a Czechoslovakia=Czech Republic+Slovakia ~ Iraq=Kurdistan+Anbar+Basra. This is not that world. This is not that culture. Blame Churchill if you wish. It really doesn't matter. Talk of withdrawal or re-deployment needs to be stowed as well - unless you want to give our children a world much worse than the one we would try to hide from. In the end, like AF, we have to hold the line until a "flawed but functioning" local face takes over.

This guy is close, but in the end - there is no choice but victory. At the Tactical, and the Operational level we have nothing but victory. Our Strategic level is under threat. Our Political is the weakest - mostly self inflicted by those more interested in short term politics than national and cultural survival. Ben Stein is about right on this.

I'm not the only one in a funk. Commie and Rick are in similar moods. I would caution Commie on taking Fiasco and Cobra II as the whole story - one could write similar books about every war - heck, FDR favored Vichy France over the Free French for quite awhile...but I digress.

Rick offered two options - the only ones from the start. His instinct is the same as mine - win. Do what you have to do to win. There is no other option. No one should read what they want into this post, as many did at Rick's place with his - don't even think about it.

And no, I am not channeling Marvin. Watch Syria, the Dutch elections and the Fallujah.
Like Rick said, this subject is far too great for one little blog post…or a series for that matter. Also, like him, I agree that this is a very binary answer. Victory or go home.

You know my point of view, I'll be with the last group at the top of the hill– rock in one hand, sword in the other. It won’t end like that unless we loose our support at home.

On Iraq, while Fiasco and Cobra II are interesting, in a fashion, they don't point towards victory in the way people are reading them. With all due respect to The Commissar, of which I have much, picking at the historical review belly button finding “I knew it’s” and “I told you so’s” is not where we should be putting our focus.

I understand and think that the questions Commie are asking are good and healthy though, because of the reasons he is asking them. He is a solutions guy. A passionate guy. His motivations are sound. I don't have to agree with him 100%, but he deserves to be seriously listened to. Others though, I have no use for.

The negative results of defeat-and-retreat or redeployment-and-surrender are just too great to accept from my point of view. Unlike Vietnam, we cannot just walk away from this and watch from afar as the abstract, unseen millions die or head into exile and expect it not to come home to inflict damage an order of magnitude more than we would think. This problem, the followers of this death cult, will follow us wherever we go if they are not destroyed. They have been, are and will continue to try to strike at the West. We would be mortgaging our children’s future and our dotage for whatever short-term relief we think we might gain.


Definitions of victory can change in the course of a conflict. On of my favorite WWII jokes:
In 1943 two friends in Suffolk, England are walking back from the pub when they see a wedding party in full swing on the other side of the road. The older gentleman points towards the party with his walking stick and states with grim determination,
"That is what we are fighting for!"
His rather dim friend asked happily,
"Ohhhh. Are those Poles?"
From the British and French perspective (they were brought into the war when Hitler invaded Poland), did they loose WWII? No. If we walk out of Iraq with a flawed but functioning democracy of sorts 5 years longer than we thought, will we have lost?

The focus should and always needs to be; how do we remove state sponsors of terror that can be directed our way? If there is criticism, that is where it should go. Taking out Saddam was the right call, but things are not perfect. Some fronts are cracking. Somalia is going the wrong way. From neutral/bad to bad for an example.

Afghanistan is staggering but holding. Iraq is staggering but holding. Israel is staggering but holding. When something so important to your Strategic well being is staggering – do you walk away and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy, or if you think you can win do you commit to win?


War is a dark room. If you have forgotten that, and hold our government at fault for not having perfect foresight – then shame on you. No one will ever accuses me of toting the party line at any level – but there reaches the point in battle when you stop bitching at the boss that you warned him that your his left flank was weak as he committed his reserve to the right: you pick up you gun and fight the best you can.

If you can’t then follow the Elector of Bavaria and Marsin's
lead at Blenheim. I'll see you at Chop-Chop Square; I am sure they will kill you last.

I'm going to bring up a nice bottle of
Periquita for tonight. I'm need it.

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