Friday, June 24, 2005

Operation Home Front: Part II

I understand the President plans to give a speech on June 28th to talk about the progress in Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally. However, I hope he doesn't think that that's all he has to do every 6 months.

In any respect, I'm not the only one saying that the president has been lax and what he and the leaders need to do to keep the American folks en pointe.

Via Winds of change to Adventures of Chester

We witness this same preference two and a half millenia later. When our forces can seek decisive engagement, they are at their most destructive and receive the highest levels of support, and when they are involved in lower-intensity wars which seem to drag on, that same support soon falters.

I believe I said that on Wednesday. Further:

Here is our conundrum: while we are geared culturally, and militarily for decisive battle, our enemies do not give it so willingly. They instead seek to harrass, disperse, and fight against our softer targets, fleeing when we come in large numbers to kill them, returning when we don't find them all and withdraw. This is classic guerrilla thinking and it is being employed with great skill by Al Qaeda in Iraq. Thus it is not our forces which are targeted, and it is not our military which Al Qaeda seeks to defeat, but instead it is our will they seek to rend, and the political victory of our withdrawal is their goal.

This tactic and the issue of public support is the only thing that Iraq and Vietnam have in common. The only things.

Well, that and Ted Kennedy calling it a quagmire. Of course, that's what he said about Afghanistan right before we hammered Al Qaeda out of Tora Bora and drove through Khandahar.

President Bush has a major address planned for June 28th, the one year anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty back to the Iraqis. What will he say?

He needs to give the pep talk of his life. He needs to tell the American people that there has been great progress in Iraq and needs to lay that out explicitly. He needs to give concrete examples of the progress of Iraqi forces and note as clearly as possible how our own presence there depends upon their progress. He needs to spell out clearly where the path to victory leads, and he needs to be very, very clear about the catastrophic results of a premature withdrawal.

He then needs to ask people for sacrifice, and for two kinds of sacrifice. First, he needs to ask for people to join the military. He needs to ask those who've thought about it for awhile to come off the bench and get in the game.

Exactly. Recruitment is down. Why? We don't have the kind of "protect the country from terrorists, join the military today" that we did after Pearl Harbor. The original influx of people into the forces was right after 9/11. Nice recruiting tool, just like Pearl Harbor. However, even that only lasted so long and it took extra recruiting techniques to get people to join. Way back when, it was about service, duty and honor, not money and educational opportunities and I believe that Chester makes the right point when he says that this is not the right tone to strike. People are not looking at a military at war as a place to make their fortune and win degrees.

It should be about the truth. Their are bad guys out there and the military is taking them out and helping Iraqis and Afghanistan gain the American dream. Freedom.

But he also makes the point that I made regarding the citizens of America:

The second sacrifice needs to be from the rest of the population. What it should be I'm not sure, but there needs to be some kind of program that people can participate in, contribute to, and otherwise get a sense of involvement in the war. It needs to not just be such in spirit, but also in effect, such that it won't just give people a feeling of involvement, but it needs to actually help the war effort. It might be adopt-a-soldier, it might be war bonds, it might be a list of charities that help the war effort (like Spirit of America), or it might be something else entirely. There is a great untapped reservoir of popular patriotism and a similar reservoir of desire to be involved and to play a part in victory. The President must tap that vein and find a way for people in general to have a sense of ownership for the conflict in which we are engaged.


And, from across the pond, Belgravia Dispatch

Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, acknowledged that U.S. troops, too, were becoming aware of the drop in the public's confidence.
"When my soldiers say to me and ask me the question whether or not they've got support from the American people or not, that worries me. And they're starting to do that," he said.

The Hugh Hewitt's will tell you it's the Dick Durbins of the world that are the root cause of Abizaid's concerns. Or the baddies of the MSM deflating war morale with slanted news coverage. People like Hewitt might have a point, to a fashion. But the real issue, I'd submit, is that no one in this Administration has come clean, really come clean, about how long and hard the war effort in Iraq will be. So the American people have been left surprised and dispirited about how bloody and difficult the going has been. Meantime, rank fools or spinmeisters are declaring victory in the blogosphere and in think tanks. This is as irresponsible and stupid as saying we have already been defeated and should pack up and go home.[snip]

The public needs to be rallied anew to the task at hand. Bush should likely give a speech to the nation spelling out what the consequences of retreat from Iraq would be. And ask the nation for patience and renewed committment to the war effort. He should neither be too optimistic, nor too pessimistic. But he has to treat his public as having heads on their shoulders--and keep the spin and rosy gloss to a mimimum.

I caught the hearings today and I will tell you that there were multiple comments from Abizaid, Casey and Rumsfeld regarding the issue of Public Support on the Homefront being the only way they could really lose this war and that it was one of their major concerns.

If I was the President, next week, when I gave my speech, I'd spend time, as I previously mentioned, talking about specific episodes like young soldiers who rescue their own, rescue civilians, help children, comfort dying children, working with Iraqi forces and episodes when this worked welll.

Then I'd talk about the problems with the borders with these other countries and what we are trying to do to stop it, both inside Iraq and with the surrounding countries.

I might even hav some decorated soldiers on the stage with me. Not a lot, but several including women. Introduce them and tell parts of their stories. Maybe a captain, lieutenant or sergeant that was well spoken, part of the "regular" soldiers, not the big time commanders, and have them tell their stories or observations.

I would be talking about specific bad things that the bad guys have done and who they are. Nothing like the present to get an opportunity to dig into the enemy's propaganda war. I would include things like rapes, drugs, beheadings, chaining people into cars and remote detonating to insure they actually blow whether they want to or not.

I would be making this a big focus on progress with a list of things that still need to be done. Then he needs to ask the people for support and talk about what it means to leave.

Lastly, if he wasn't planning it already, he should ask the American people to contribute to the program by getting them involved, as Chester says and Austin pointed out the other day, in volunteer groups, providing charity to Iraq, anything that puts them in the war with their fellow citizens in uniform.

When this is all done, I'd be looking at the programs we have available and put together an information program that keeps asking people to get involved, serve their country.

Lastly, I think the president should give regular conferences on this subject and in the same format.

Time to get our war faces on.

1 comment:

Donal said...

Exactly Kat- what he needs to avoid doing is stating that the insurgency is in its last stages like Cheney has done.
He may be right but saying it just makes it easier for our enemies to point to any violence and Iraq and say see thats not true.