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December 16, 2006


To succeed in Iraq, it is critical to clearly define our goals. Some were defined at the outset, but change requires redefinition. Not everything is a reprise of Vietnam – even Vietnam was not Vietnam! During that war, the MSM controlled almost all information reaching the public -- no internet, no blogs, no email. Vietnam was part of the cold war policy of the containment of communism. The Vietnam war succeeded in slowing the communist takeover of Vietnam, stopped the takeover of most neighboring countries, worked to impoverish the Soviets, destabilized Chinas’ regional hegemony, and exacerbated the acrimony and competition between the Soviets and China. Vietnam was definitely a setback in the cold war, but the biggest problem is slavishly interpreting the complex outcome as defeat. The MSM seriously promulgates the idea that tiny North Vietnam single-handedly defeated 175,000,000 Americans in combat! Without China and the Soviets, winning in North Vietnam would have been easy - invade, occupy, and democratize. Of course, invasion might have caused war with the Soviets (probably no) or China (probably yes). Instead, the US stuck by the strategy of communist containment, ceded South Vietnam, prosecuted WWIII elsewhere and eventually won, by further impoverishing the Soviets. Vietnam was painful for the participants, and for onlookers to watch, but most democracies hope for the day that Vietnam will become a democracy. The US has hastened that arrival, by defeating the Soviets, encouraging China to democratize, and showing goodwill to the current Vietnam government.

The current "terrorist" war is best seen as a war with Muslim fascists, which started with Iraq in 1991. It now resembles the cold war, with containment as the main objective – isolating Iran, Syria, South Lebanon, Palestine, other hot spots, and fighting wars only when necessary, limiting goals, and limiting duration. Concurrently, we promote democratization, and political solutions, again slow and painful to watch, but it is the best way to do it. The Iraq war has had 6 phases so far: 1991 Iraq invasion of Kuwait (ultimately unsuccessful for Iraq), 1991 allied counterattack on Kuwait (successful), 91-03 containment of Iraq (mainly successful, but unsustainable), 03 invasion (successful), 03-06 peacemaking, defeating insurgents attacking US and allies (successful), 06-07 peacekeeping, attenuating effects of civil war (so far at least partly successful). Next stage will be gradual withdrawal leading to full Iraqi self-sufficiency (dates unspecified, but about 08-11) successful if Iraq does not harbor terrorists which attack western allies, containment (or re-invasion) may be necessary. Remember, the US is STILL in Japan, South Korea, and Japan. You may declare Iraq as defeat, or victory, if you like, but make sure that you marshal evidence to prove your point. How, precisely do you define your terms, and which part of the war do you mean? Can your terms be generalized to other wars and conflicts, in both past and present? It is not enough to shout from some headline, “WE LOST!” I, for one, will not believe you.

Wars are magnificent punctuation marks of history, with lots of social upheaval, hate, death, genocide, and geopolitical change, all concentrated into a defined time period. Peacekeeping bores the MSM, because it’s mainly about minimizing social upheaval, hate, death, genocide, and geopolitical change, while spreading the whole process over long, ill-defined time periods until an insufferably bored populace give up their desire for conflict. According to me, "winning" consists of boring the population into democracy.

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