Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

On the offense in Iraq

Mac Owens thinks that the final offensive against the bad guys in Iraq may well be going on.  

Discussions - 2 Comments

the final offensive? Are you seriously suggesting that this will basically be it. It will just be a few small skirmishes from here on out if this offensive is successful. I read a part of the article to which you linked, and that seems to be the implication. I am a bit speechless.

What’s important to remember is that terrorists or insurgents or whatever aren’t fighting an asymmetric war because they want to--they’re fighting it because it’s the best they can manage.

Both sides in wars face trade-offs. For the terrorists in Iraq (or Afghanistan) a big trade-off is between operational effectiveness and operational security.

The more they concentrate spatially, the more operationally effective they can be, but the less secure they become (see under, "U.S. air strikes, Fallujah").

Our guys’ job is to keep forcing the terrorists to make hard choices along that trade-off continuum. The bad guys will always have the urge to concentrate (they’ve been doing it for three springs running in Afghanistan, for instance, and been getting punished every time).

Whenever they concentrate they can be smashed by our superior firepower. The Israelis’ forward-leaning tactics in the West Bank and Gaza have cut terrorist actions to a fraction of what they were a couple of years ago. Our goal is to engineer something like that in Iraq, and to buy time to train Iraqi forces in the bargain.

Is this a guarantee of success? No, but it shows that the situation is far from the hopeless "mess" that so many of Bush’s critics (see andrewsullivan.com) are always wringing their hands over.

It’s not a mess, it’s a war (and even wars you’re winning can look pretty messy at times). We can still win it if we as a nation have the grit to keep applying force where needed--it’s that simple. And for this, we probably need to learn to be more, not less ready to buck world opinion, not less. Another page from the Israeli playbook that we should learn to run, and a point that Kerry has totally backwards.

For Bush, this means "no more yo-yo manuevers like in Fallujah this past spring." For Kerry, this means "stop talking down the war effort, you French-lookin’, ’global test’-lovin’, flip-flopper."

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