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Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

We're Winning (in case anyone missed it)

The news from Iraq and Afghanistan is more positive than negative, and has been for quite a while. You wouldn't know it from reading the country's largest newspapers, or watching the nightly news, but our military is handing Al Qaida and the Sunni/Ba'athist "insurgency" a daily defeat. Yes, there are places where it's quite plain that a war is still raging, but the victories far out-number the defeats. We're in a comparable situation today as we were with the breakout from the hedgerows after Normandy during World War II. There's still plenty of fighting to do, but the enemy is on the ropes, fighting a defensive war and being ground down on a daily basis. Don't take my word for it - take a few minutes each day to read Rantburg, and get an education on the War against Islamist Terrorism from Rantburg University.

The destruction of Abu Mussab al Zarqawi's safe house and his death were major blows to Al-Qaida. The discovery of computer hard drives, thumb drives, and just plain old 'hard-copy' documents led to over 500 additional raids and the capture or death of a thousand "insurgents". That's a hefty loss for a guerilla army that at best numbered fewer than 10,000 active 'soldiers'. We also learned who was playing both sides of the battle, such as the "Sheik" in Karbala that was also the head of an assassination team, and the dozens of Sunnis that had sworn allegience to - or at least made alliance with - Zarqawi. The US will be exploiting that information for the next year.

In Afghanistan, the Coalition forces are carrying the war to the enemy in the southern provinces. They've killed or captured several hundred, possibly as many as a thousand, in the last few months. Even more importantly, they are keeping the pressure on, all day, day after day. That wears down the enemy more than it does us, because we can switch units almost seamlessly, while the enemy has little to switch with. We're denying him safe havens, giving him little rest, and making his life miserable. Recruiting isn't replacing those killed fast enough, and those that are streaming in as replacements don't have the expertise of those that have died.

Congress also reasserted that we're going to "stay the course" with two votes last week, one in the Senate that approved such a resolution 93-6, and one in the House that passed 256-153. It angers me that 159 members of Congress would vote to quit the war when it's pretty obvious that we're making significant progress. It would be like quitting when US forces reached the Rhine during World War II, instead of finishing the job (Isn't that what we did in WW I, which led directly to WW II? Don't Democrats study history?). President Bush's visit to Iraq was more a shot in the arm for the Iraqi President than a photo opportunity. It gave encouragement to the Iraqi people that we're not about to leave them to fight on without our help. That's a big thing psychologically, almost as big as the death of Zarqawi.

There is a significant percentage of the people of the Islamic world that believes they should rule the world, and terrorism is one way they can manage that. The only way they can succeed, however, is for those who believe in such things as individual freedoms, the right to choose, the right to personal property, the right to decide which God they're going to worship, and how, to stand up and tell the Islamists, "NO". Not only do we have to do it once, we have to continue to do it until the Islamists either get tired and go away, or they're totally isolated and unable to assert any political, economic, or military pressure on the rest of the world.

That's pretty simplistic, but that's the heart of the struggle we're involved in. We didn't decide to fight this war - we were attacked, and have been consistently attacked since at least 1972, when a group of Islamic fanatics attacked the Israeli Olympic team in Munich. The attacks weren't just against Israel: Arafat planned and executed the deaths of American diplomats in Sudan in 1973. Islamists hijacked a score of aircraft with the primary purpose of embarrassing the West, freeing their co-combattants, and killing those that they considered "infidels". The bombings in Israel are a hate-filled attack upon the Jewish settlers that have done something dramatic to their part of Palestine, while the rest of the entire Middle East is mired in poverty, religious bigotry, unemployment, illiteracy, and desperation. Yes, it's also about religion, but there's a great deal of hatred for what Israel has accomplished, too. Even the billions in oil money have made little difference upon the overall population - only in the lives of the despots that rule their patch of sand.

Change has to come to the Middle East. They cannot continue to reside in the past, dreaming of past glories, and believing it can all be restored. The entire idea is stupid, and violates all the laws of Nature. That change can come from within (very unlikely), or from without. It can either come peacefully, or at the point of a gun. The choice is up to the people that live there. The Iraqis are choosing peace: much of Afghanistan is choosing peace. The rest of the Islamic world can either join these two fast-growing successes, or they can continue to live in a fool's paradise.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Maddog said...

It is my belief that you sir, are engaging in some wishful thinking if you think that the problems in the Middle East cannot continue to go on for some time to come. We found out in Iran and with the Palestinians that people, when given the choice, don't always make the choice we want. I do not believe that the Iraqi government will stand on its own and will continously require our support. The current configuration of Iraq was drawn back in the early 1900's by the British without much consideration for the different groups that lived there. I do believe that eventually the Kurds will push for an independent Kurdish nation and will use military force to obtain it if they feel that is the only way.
Just like in Vietnam, your expression of "We're Winning" is moot. There was never any question that the US military could win a war against the Iraqi military, but warnings about facing an insurgency were ignored and no exit strategy was ever developed. Staying the course is so much political nonsense and the only way we are going to wean the Iraqi government from all of our dollars and manpower is to begin withdrawing and let them take up the fight. Do they want this "democracy" enough to stand up and fight for it or not? I am not a Democrat, but I do get concerned when I hear broad based demeaning of others simply because they disagree with you. Living in Colorado Springs with its conservative ranks does not give much in the way of diversity of thought.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Old Patriot said...

Maddog,
Please read this carefully before you make an even bigger fool of yourself.

I grew up poor in Louisiana, but had enough intelligence and raw ability to win an appointment to the Air Force Academy in 1964 (Class of 1968). I flunked out because of a boxing accident in mid-semester my doolie year, and it took me awhile to recover. I joined the regular Air Force in 1965, and served on either active duty or as an Active Reservist until 1991, when I retired. I spent most of my military career in imagery intelligence - you know, the guys that looked at all that super-secret satellite stuff, and a lot more. I have a college education supplemented by work in many of the fields I studied, including petrogeology. I spent a year in Vietnam, so I know that we won that war on the ground, too, but that Congress in its infinite wisdom decided we could ignore our treaty commitments to the South, denied them resupply of arms and equipment, and let the Soviet-backed North win in the end. I'm still pissed over that. I lost a dozen friends in that stinking war, including a few Vietnamese friends, and I'm damned angry that the US Congress, trying to cover its lazy, political ass allowed the fall of Saigon because they were afraid to make a decision. I've been personally involved in the military and political activities in the Middle East since 1971, and I think I have a pretty good idea what's going on over there.

As for Colorado Springs, yes it's conservative. You'd expect a town with 35,000 active duty troops and 70,000 military retirees to be a bit conservative. I live here because there's a military hospital here, and I need that. As for diversity of thought, I guess you've never heard of Colorado College, a private, very LIBERAL college, or the input from Denver to the north or Pueblo to the south - two very liberal bastions. Neither they nor the conservative focus of Colorado Springs affect my decisions and thoughs half as much as my 30+ years of experience. You really do need to do a little bit of that "open-minded" reading you're accusing me of being without. You might find that sometimes people write what they know, not what someone else whispers in their ear.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Maddog said...

My, my are we touchy. Obviously you are one that does not like having his opinions and conclusions questioned. That is what one gets when you establish a blog site and use it to pontificate one's point of view. I am not impressed by your perception of your opinion being fact, by your experience or your education. For you see, I am a college graduate, nearly 60 years old and I too have seen a bit of the world in my time. Beyond that, I am a Colorado native, so I am perfectly aware of the make up of the various communities in the State. It is true that CC is a liberal arts college, but to imply that it provides some significant balance to the politics in Colorado Springs is utter nonsense.
I have read a number of your blogs through the months and can't help but be amazed at how well you support most of the classical conservative party lines. I am not sure that demonstrates any particular unique insight on your part.
Your military experience does not give you a pass on your critical thinking. Being in Vietnam, though not in the front lines fighting, or being in what is jokingly referred to as military intelligence does not instantly grant you some expertise that magically turns your opinion into fact.
You need to get over yourself.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting overhimself is one thing that Mike can't possibly do.
He's right, he's convinced he's right any anyone or anything to the contrary is dismissed as wrong, evil, and COMMUNIST.

2:15 PM  

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