Cut and run? Renowned strategist says: No!
Retired Army intelligence officer and fellow Army War College scholar, Ralph Peters, is no fan of the Bush Administration’s handling of post-invasion Afghanistan and Iraq. The author of ten books on military affairs, Peters’Beyond Baghdad: Postmodern War and Peace is a must read for anyone with an interest in grand strategy.
Writing in The New York Post of November 21, 2005, and edited here only for space, is Colonel Peter’s article on “How to Lose a War.”
“QUIT. It’s that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.
“Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can’t win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That’s precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we’ve made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.
“Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq - and the region - if we bail out. And don’t mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.
“Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems’ leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they’re risking their lives for nothing, we’re throwing the game.
“Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates - knowing they’ll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency’s last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we’ve seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.
“Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren’t anomalies - that’s what Americans do.
“While we’re at it, let’s just print up recruiting posters for the terrorists, informing the youth of the Middle East that Americans are cowards who can be attacked with impunity.
“Whatever you do, don’t talk about any possible consequences. Focus on the moment - and the next round of U.S. elections. Just make political points. After all, those dead American soldiers and Marines don’t matter - they didn’t go to Ivy League schools…
“America’s security? Hah! As long as the upcoming elections show Democratic gains, let the terrorist threat explode. So what if hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners might die in a regional war? So what if violent fundamentalism gets a shot of steroids? So what if we make Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the most successful Arab of the past 500 years…?
“The irresponsibility of the Democrats on Capitol Hill is breathtaking… Not one of the critics of our efforts in Iraq - not one - has described his or her vision for Iraq and the Middle East in the wake of a troop withdrawal. Not one has offered any analysis of what the terrorists would gain and what they might do. Not one has shown respect for our war dead by arguing that we must put aside our partisan differences and win.
“There’s plenty I don’t like about the Bush administration… But at least they’ll fight. The Dems are ready to betray our troops, our allies and our country’s future security for a few House seats….”
Okay, Ralph. Why don’t you tell us what you really think?
William Hamilton, a former Distinguished Research Fellow at the U.S. Army Military History Institute of the U.S. Army War College and a 1992 winner of the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation Medal for his writings on national affairs, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2005. William Hamilton.