"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Monday, July 23, 2007

Iraq and Afghanistan from the Air - Interview with Lt. Gen Gary L. North

W. Thomas Smith Jr., (former U.S. Marine infantry leader, W. Thomas Smith Jr. writes about military issues and has covered war in the Balkans, on the West Bank, and in Iraq. Smith is the author of six books, and his articles appear in a variety of publications. He blogs at “The Tank.”), has an interview up at NRO with Lt. General Gary L. North, commanding general of CENTCOM’s CENTAF and Combined Force Air Component Commander (CFACC).

The interview, along with the recent Hugh Hewitt interview with General David Petraeus is a must read. If there were no other reason to read it, it would be that it reveals the level of planning and reality of the logistics of our fight in Iraq and elsewhere in the global war on terror. Oddly, it’s not a fight that is of the brain-dead simplicity the media reports upon. As with anything, it is never that simple. We should all appreciate how huge an undertaking this war is and give it more credit than our politicians and detractors imply.

One quote of the greatest significance to my mind follows after a short discussion of whether the “surge” in Iraq is working, regards “the broader war on terror:”

The enemy is determined and deliberate and this is big stakes for him. He is patient and deliberate. Where he finds weakness, he probes. Where he finds strength, he draws back. We cannot be short-sighted about this. Our grandchildren are going to be fighting this war. It’ll be different. But we are going to fight this one way or another, around the world or here at home.”

Before we step up and call, Iraq or the “surge” a failure and temptingly call for a draw down now consider the previous words. If one holds that this war is not as big or time consuming as the general avers, at the least consider it and ask yourself how leaving Iraq in an utter mess would work toward successfully seeing the war on terror through.

If Iraq is just a “distraction” now, what will it be later if we leave?

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