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October 18, 2006

The Pen Has Lived Up To Its Billing...

... of being mightier than the sword -- or at least, given our more modern scribe-gear, and visual media, the keyboard and videocam have.

Daniel Pipes makes an excellent point.

Soldiers, sailors, and airmen once determined the outcome of warfare, but no longer. Today, television producers, columnists, preachers, and politicians have the pivotal role in deciding how well the West fights. This shift has deep implications.

This is true. Look at Iraq, for example: We're winning the war there, but we're losing it at home, thousands of miles away from the battlefield, thanks entirely to our liberal media and scads of lying left wing politicians, both of which cadres place priority on an anti-Bush agenda over the safety of Americans or eventual total victory for our military.

This looks to be a rerun of Vietnam -- not the "quagmire" the left referred to, but the ultimate loss of a war, on "paper", that we are winning in real life.

The nature of the enemy is of course different than those we faced in pre-Vietnam wars, both that which we face in Iraq and that which we face in the rest of the many elements of the Global War On Terror. Actually, "GWOT" is PC, we are actually at war, despite the sheeplike murmurings of spineless politicians and the blatherings of partisan media, with Islam.

Today we fight against terrorists who employ guerilla warfare, albeit in its most vile possibilities -- to us, collateral damage is the accidental killing of noncombatants. To the enemy, the murder of innocents is the primary strategy and the percentage of military casualties inflicted is as far below the number of civilian deaths as the latter number is less than the former in the course of our operations.

Thus, typically, the American political left blames the Bush administration for the civilian casualty numbers caused by the enemy and spins it so "Bush's criminal war in Iraq has killed X number of innocent Iraqis". They make the President out to be responsible for the acts of terrorists, many of whom are not even from Iraq and are there to prevent democracy from succeeding in that country.

And since the liberal media rules the roost in America, all too many Americans who trust them to deliver the truth are instead fed this disinformation and believe it.

What Carl von Clausewitz called war's "center of gravity" has shifted from force of arms to the hearts and minds of citizens. Do Iranians accept the consequences of nuclear weapons? Do Iraqis welcome coalition troops as liberators? Do Palestinians willingly sacrifice their lives in suicide bombings? Do Europeans and Canadians want a credible military force? Do Americans see Islamism presenting a lethal danger?

Non-Western strategists recognize the primacy of politics and focus on it. A string of triumphs — Algeria in 1962, Vietnam in 1975, and Afghanistan in 1989 — all relied on eroding political will. Al-Qaeda's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, codified this idea in a letter in July 2005, observing that more than half of the Islamists' battle "is taking place in the battlefield of the media."

Read the rest of the OpEd here.

Posted by Seth at October 18, 2006 07:18 PM


Didn't Napoleon hate the media for the same reasons?

Another problem is how the Left and the Democrats tear down the President while we are at war. This emboldens the enemy. I was watching the HBO miniseries "Rome" (which is good production value, art direction and writing, but too much gratuitous sex) and there's a scene where Caesar is in Gaul with Mark Antony meeting with an envoy of Pompey. Caesar makes a decision which startles Mark Antony, who questions him. Caesar dismisses the envoy and turns to Mark Antony and says "Never question my authority in front of the enemy". Mark Antony demurs.

The Republican Romans knew how to fight and win wars. It wasn't until the depravity and cynicism of the Empire that the fall became imminent.

Posted by: atheling2 at October 19, 2006 01:32 PM

Atheling2 --

The U.S., and indeed most of the west, has evidently reached that same "depravity and cynicism" stage.

It has not been a gradual change, it has happened rather abruptly, over maybe 30 years tops. It seems some folks are in a great hurry to topple civilization as we know it.

Posted by: Seth at October 19, 2006 02:11 PM