Thursday, November 17, 2005
Self Inflicted Defeat
Sometimes there is very little that separates victory from defeat. On the playing field, a yard or two is all the separates those who wear victory rings from those who wish they did. Often, victory is measured in inches.
On the field of battle, the cost of those inches is measured in lives. Husbands, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who were sent by their country to fulfill a mission. War is not for the timid, nor the weak.
Of all the lessons that came out of Vietnam, I thought the most agreed upon lesson was the importance of finishing any war you get yourself into. We did not lose the Vietnam war because of a lack of military firepower or a lack of willingness on the part of the US Armed Forces to win the battle. No matter what the apologists of that era may say or write to the contrary, they are wrong.
What led to the US withdraw from Vietnam, and the subsequent fall of South Vietnam to the Communist North was the lack of willingness on the part of the Washington establishment to allow the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to do their job. Vietnam was not lost in the rice paddies and the hilltops of that country. It was lost in the halls of Congress (and the campuses of this nation).
For years we heard lawmakers, military planners, and others swear up and down - "Never again will we repeat the failures of Vietnam." Well, for some on Capitol Hill, the echoes of those promises have faded.
Case and point: Representative John Murtha (D-Pa), a "hawkish" democrat, ex-marine intel officer of the Vietnam era, and a supporter of the Iraq War, has introduced legislation demanding the complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq - possibly within six months.
Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region.Yes, Congressman, our military is suffering. Do you honestly believe bringing them home and thus invalidating the reasons behind that suffering will make that burden easier? Yours is a call for surrender, sir, and one I believe most Marines would take issue with.
Side note: Personally, I believe Representative Murtha was coaxed into doing this by his leftist colleagues because their own rants aren't getting as much attention or airplay as was and is expected. Murtha's comments aren't new. He's been spouting them for some time.
This call for retreat is beaten back by none other than Senator John McCain (R-Az). When he's right, I'll be the first in line to applaud him.
A date is not an exit strategy. To suggest that it is only encourages our enemies, by indicating that the end to American intervention is near. It alienates our friends, who fear an insurgent victory, and tempts undecideds to join the anti-government ranks.The only reason the United States will fail in its mission in Iraq is if people like Representative Murtha are able to convince the American people the war is not worth winning.
The only defeat that can be experienced by the United States in Iraq is one that is self inflicted.
No retreat. No surrender. No appeasement.
Here endeth the lesson.