Are We Losing The War On Terror?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
No, of course not, if one looks at the war from a miltitary, or even from a law enforcement standpoint. Our heroic and supremely competent military have won in Afghanistan, and are on the verge of winning in Iraq.

But the "forces" of appeasement, and a wrong-headed attempt to grant those who wish to annihilate us every benefit of full citizenship, are nibbling away at what should be success. Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online wrote Monday, November 14
...that late last week, the Senate — after a year-and-a-half of fiddling while Rome burned — had finally acted to bar al Qaeda terrorists detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from using the courts of the American people as a weapon in their war against the American people. Well, when it comes to the Republican-controlled Senate, such lauding is always done at one’s peril. The ink was not yet dry (or the online equivalent) on that article when our distinguished senior legislators struck another of their craven compromises.

Last week’s 49-42 margin demonstrated that the votes were there to win. Nevertheless, the chamber has now reversed itself. By a vote of 84-14, the senators resolved Tuesday that the ultimate decision about who is properly considered an “enemy combatant,” should rest with federal judges, not our military commanders who actually confront the enemy in the life-and-death of the battlefield.
One has to wonder what the American public, if polled on this question after having been fully informed of the nuances of the question, would say. Would a majority trust the Men In Black more than those in uniform?

And while the Senate proceeds to undermine the war in one direction by making it harder to keep the terrorists we catch out of action, it works in another way to assure we don't stop the terrorists in Iraq:

If the Bush administration is under any illusions about the sorry political state of the Iraq war, yesterday's Senate action should dispel them. A Democratic proposal for a timetable for withdrawal was beaten back 58-40, but Republicans passed their own version to force the administration to make quarterly progress reports to Congress and express its sense that 2006 should be the year when Iraqi security forces take the lead. Substantively, this might not have been particularly objectionable, but politically it was calamitous. It continued the narrative of Bush losing even his own party on Iraq — which is how the headlines have played the vote — and showed that Republicans are afraid to have a fight with Democrats even on ground that should favor them.

The Democrats are ever more explicitly becoming the party of cut-and-run. Only five Democrats voted against setting a timetable for withdrawal. Rather than stand their ground and explain why an exit from Iraq before political and security conditions allow it would be folly, Republicans felt they needed the cover of their own weasely alternative. The letter of the GOP version isn't damaging. Congress already, after all, gets plenty of progress reports.

[snip]

It is the spirit of the thing that is so damaging. It says that Democrats hold the whip hand on Iraq, and the insurgents' most important strategic center of gravity, Washington, is in danger of being lost. After 30 years straight of warning of another Vietnam, liberals might finally have the repeat of that war they have so often warned about. “American attitudes on Iraq similar to those in Vietnam,” reads a front-page headline in Wednesday's edition of USA Today. Although the administration has finally begun to fight back against the charge that Bush lied the U.S. into the war, it is still not on the crisis political and communications footing that the moment demands. Iraq is a little like a Katrina every day, undermining the public's confidence in the administration's competence and stewardship of the country. There is no substitute for actual progress in Iraq — and we still aren't convinced that the U.S. government has the sense of urgency about achieving it that it should — but the argument for the war must be made constantly, with intelligence and rigor.


One might at least hope Republican senators could consistently, intelligently, and rigorously make such a case.

One might hope.

16 comments:

Rick Ballard said...

There is a very good reason that Senators are rarely elected President. The art of gutless compromise remains underappreciated by the general public.

It is not unusual to see spineless politicians respond to the media polls like a weathervane to the hint of a breeze but the Republican Senators actions are going to cost their reelection campaigns money. McCain's jackassery earlier in the year in leading the Seven Dwarves astray has already damaged contributions and this is going to compound that error.

It appears that the Executive is going into push back mode. It will be interesting to see how it works out. Cheney certainly blistered the Copperhead Dems this evening. Perhaps he should add some Copperhead Reps into his next speech.

Syl said...

I've got an idea.

Why doesn't everyone just stand up and say 'We want to win this war!'

I don't understand the crap!! I really don't! I mean everyone has explanations, excuses, long philosophical arguments about political and social theories and all.

I don't care.

I want to win!

We've got to think of something!

Syl said...

How about telling everybody to

SHUTUP AND WIN!

Peter UK said...

You don't have to lose the war on terror only appear to do so to convince enough members of the general public,that is what the current campaign is about,it is a morale breaker.As long as the Democrats can convince voters that the administration is losing so that at the next election the electorate turns to them that will suffice them.
Unfortunately any new government will have the same problem to deal with in spades,this time with all the restrictions which with they have entangled action in place,they are not going to be happy.

Jamie Irons said...

Syl,

With your terse "Shut up and win!" I could not agree more.

Peter,

Unfortunately any new government will have the same problem to deal with in spades,this time with all the restrictions which with they have entangled action in place,they are not going to be happy.

So true.

Jamie Irons

gumshoe1 said...

msm is in full-on
"get Bush" mode.

these idiots don't get
that in a society addicted to
being victims, recovery from a set-back is not guaranteed.

these dweebs seem to think
"America will always be on top,
we can afford to kick her
in the shins for a bit".

i'm gonna put some faith
in the people who read history
and blogs and have respect for the
depth of the stories and
not just the video clips and sound bites.

perhaps the number is and will remain small,but the means exist
to get views from outside the msm-spin-machine.10-15 years ago
that wasn't the case.

the Woodward boomerang on Plame
is an example of what patience will
continue to toss up on the beach.

Daniel Pearl...errr
...Daniel Pipes...
says he fears many Americans
will have to experience
"education by murder"
to fully wake to the dangers.

why 9/11 didn't do it
is beyond me.

when do the court proceedings for
Dana"CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons"Priest
commence??

she put a bit more than a desk
jockey at risk.

terrye said...

I agree with Syl we need to shut up and win. But the Senate is only reflecting the country's mood. They want to see a light at the end of that tunnel.

I was talking to a friend of mine about this. He is conservative and has a good sense of public thinking.

He has a different take on things than I do.

He says the American people will not tolerate keeping soldiers abroad in active fighting for more than 3 or 4 years. He also said he was surprised the administration was not already giving the Senate such reports.

Now this guy is more coservative than I am, but less political. If that makes sense. In fact he thinks they should deal with the detainee issue by making sure there aren't any. if you catch my drift.

I think the Senate is reacting to public concerns and those public concerns are there because the Democrats are dreaming fondly of the glory days of the Khmer Rouge and the boat people and have done a great job of using the situation for personal political gain. the bastards.

But I still say that the administration needs to take control of the situation and use the reports to give their side of the story. But more than that, they need to get out there and push this thing until it is done.

We have come too far and sacrificed too much to run away now and what is more the Iraqi people who got out there and voted deserve a chance to see those votes amount to something.

The Senate is not a rubber stamp for the administration, but at the same time their first concern should be for the welfare of their country...not the next election.

terrye said...

rick:

I don't know if I think this is just spineless or not. I can not make up my mind.

When you have Senators from Ok and MA voting on the same side of something it is hard to know what it is.

Jeez, Leahy and Kerry voted nay.

I do wish we could get out there and just win the damn war and put an end to all this self defeating partisan bickering.

Peter UK said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter UK said...

Terrye,
At one time the victors used to fight over the spoils of war,in this post modern world the struggle is premeptive,sadly the spoils are not some exotic faraway country,the spoils are America.

Peter UK said...

Syl,
They don't want a Republican administration to win,forcing a withdrawal and claiming defeat would be acceptable,helicopters lifting off the Baghdad Embassy would send them into orgasms
.A high profile al Qaeda spectacular like the bombing of the Beirut barracks would be their ideal and fits the "We told you it would be a disaster,if you had voted for us none of this would have happened"," This is all Bush's fault"

Rick Ballard said...

Terrye,

The Executive and Legislative have been at war for the entire history of the Republic. The tension was designed as a feature rather than a bug. The Legislative branch is making a power grab based upon current (and ephemeral) polling. The Executive needs to examine the proposal and determine whether it actually cedes Executive power or is simply a headline stunt.

For practical purposes this is simply part of the ongoing struggle - the problem is that the Legislative branch is doing it at the wrong time and with a potential downside that involves risking American lives.

It is timing rather than content that makes them fools in this instance. They are not hired to respond to shifts in the electoral breeze. The Administration bears some responsibility in this because of its inadequate PR campaign. I believe that they can turn it around - we'll see rather shortly.

gumshoe1 said...

"He also said he was surprised the administration was not already giving the Senate such reports."


terrye...i believe
this comes under the category of
"congressional publicity stunt"...

i have no specifics,
but maybe another poster(Rick?)
can verify that regular
reports to the Congress are
already and *have been*
regularly made to keep the Congress updated.

under what specfic circumstances,
security clearances,committees,etc.
i am unsure.

Rick Ballard said...

The "reports" business is rather interesting. The authorization to use force is clear:

"The President shall, at least once every 60 days, submit to the Congress a report on matters relevant to this joint resolution"

The President's response is also clear and can be summarized as "Go Fish".

When the Legislature uses the language "the President shall" it is abrogating the separation of power. The Legislature has no power of compulsion over the Executive other than the purse and impeachment. The Legislature generally lacks the backbone to try and use either.

That's not to say that the President has not, does not or will not make a report to Congress. He certainly has, does and will - but not from any "compulsion" by Congress.

That's my understanding and YM very definitey MV.

gumshoe1 said...

rick,thanks for the reply.



answers the basic
questions "have there been regular reports?" in the affirmative...


and points out their nature
is essentially "political"
on at least several levels.

can't get that kind of "nuance"
on the old stream media.

;0p

gumshoe1 said...

"Are We Losing The War On Terror?"


maybe the original title
of the post was a few degrees
off:


"Where (and Who) are we fighting in the War on Terror?"

as many have argued for some time...
...the war cannot be won if the enemy is not identified and the enemy's strategy and tactics
identified and addressed.

any stack of metrics ,
without those elements included,
do us no good.