July 10, 2006


Why We Will Win the War on Terror (Larry Schweikart, 7/10/06, History News Network)

As historians (objective ones, that is) look back 30 years from now, and write the history of this war, they will find the battle of Iraq essentially was over after November 2004. I do not say that because Bush won reelection--that was critical, but so was the formation of the Iraqi government at that time--but because those two events then allowed a military victory at Fallujah, which was the tipping point of this battle (or, if you prefer, "war"). At Fallujah, more than 2000 terrorists were killed and the real al-Qaeda back of the so-called "insurgency" broken. Since then, Zarqawi was scrambling, as did the Japanese after Okinawa, to re-stock his ranks of suicide bombers. They were both unsuccessful. Last month, Zarqawi was killed, replicating the shooting down of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's plane in 1943. Even then, the war in the Pacific was not over--and the bloodiest battles had not been fought--but again, the outcome was further cemented.

Beyond Iraq, the U.S. will win the War on Terror because it's what Americans do: we win military conflicts. Leftists love to point to Vietnam. But again, is that a "war," or a battle within the Cold War, which we won? Either way, Vietnam illustrates one of the strengths our military possesses that our enemies almost never do: the ability to learn from loss. In many (not all) Muslim societies, especially those from Bedouin/Arab cultures, it is shameful to lose, and doubly shameful to admit one lost. How can such a foe possibly adapt to the inevitable battlefield screwups? Japanese admirals went down with their ships out of a code of "honor," while American commanders transferred their command--and their experience--to another ship.

Americans win wars because, despite the claims of Senator Richard Durbin, we have an unusual and almost distinct concern for the sanctity of life--ours, and our enemy's. We take better care of prisoners than most combatants, and unlike any I've ever encountered, we make more efforts to rescue our own (including three planned rescue missions for POWs in wartime over the course of three different wars). We win wars because, despite the claims of the left, our soldiers come from every sector, every lifestyle, and every part of American society (zip code studies have proven this). Our troops are simply the best trained, ever, which virtually all military analysts agree is the most important ingredient in successful military operations.

There is a myth of the War on Terror that we "can't beat an ideology," and "terrorism is an ideology, not a state." It seems to me we defeated three much more powerful ideologies in the 20th century alone--fascism, bushido-ism, and communism.

The war actually ended when Baghdad and the Ba'athist regime fell in April 2003. There was never any possibility after that point of the Sunni minority resuming political control of the Shi'ite majority.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 10, 2006 7:04 AM

'this battle (or, if you prefer, "war")'


'one of the strengths our military possesses that our enemies almost never do: the ability to learn from loss'

And even more rare, from victory.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at July 10, 2006 9:03 AM

Good analysis.

Vietnam was a special case, since the actual victory there was squandered by the post-Watergate Dolchstoss. It is Vietnam which proves the author's thesis most of all.

We learned much from Vietnam. First we learned, re-learned, actually, not to fight wars of policy with draftees. It can't be done--if the war is not immediately necessary, those who have "other priorities" will resist the policy.

We also learned to integrate the Guard and Reserve into our force structure so that these components could not be used by the politically connected as covert draft evasion.

Another very good point brought up the book is the real value of the air war against Germany. Contrary to what the peace-creeps are telling us about its ineffectiveness, the bomber campaign destroyed the Luftwaffe by attrition and ate up German military resources, for all that--boo-hoo--it wasn't "moral." Presumably, it would have been more "moral" to let the war drag on indefinitely, or to have ended it by a settlement leaving the Nazis in power.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 10, 2006 11:54 AM

"Leftists love to point to Vietnam. But again, is that a 'war,' or a battle within the Cold War, which we won?"

Nice to see someone echo Norman Podhoretz's 2004 Commentary piece by referring to Vietnam as a campaign in the Pacific theatre of World War III, aka the Cold War. Now World War IV is upon us, and we are soldiering on.

Posted by: Ed Bush at July 11, 2006 8:02 AM