Thursday, July 29, 2004


Thanks to NRO's Jed Babbin for demonstrating the peculiar, persistent psychosis which afflicts conservatives regarding the war on terrorism. In a post commenting on John Shalikashvili's convention speech, Babbin writes:

While chairman of the Joint Chiefs, [Shalikashvili] encouraged the development of the joint operations doctrine that we now call "network centric warfare." On the modern battlefield, all our forces--air, land, sea and space--are combined at the strategic and tactical levels, enabling the application of firepower more quickly and more intensely than the world has ever seen before. It's that "jointness" in strategy, equipment and tactics that enables us to win so quickly, with so few casualties. Last night, he bought into the Clintonian theme of the convention: We can't win this fight alone.

Two things are wrong with that. First, we can. If we have the political will to do what needs to be done, we can win the war against terrorists and the nations that support them. It won't be easy, quick or cheap, but we can. Shalikashvili knows that. Second, he's swallowed whole the biggest fib that is the cornerstone of the Kerry campaign: that Kerry will pluck his magic twanger and all our old allies will suddenly come running back to our side to join the fight. Shalikashvili said, "I stand before you this evening because I believe that no one will be more resolute in defending America nor in pursuing terrorists than John Kerry. And that no one will be more skilled in bringing allies back to our side..."

Has Babbin read a newspaper in the past two years? The issue isn't whether or not the U.S. can win a stand-up fight against a conventional enemy, it's whether or not the U.S. can, by itself, conduct a long term global battle against an unconventional enemy which operates in shadow. I think it's become rather obvious to rational observers that the U.S. simply cannot win such a fight without the engaged cooperation of our allies and the broader international community.

Given how overextended U.S. forces are right now, it's hard to understand how Babbin can continue to so vigorously hump the same unilateralist chair-leg...oh, that's right, National Review.

Alarms go off when I see the term "political will" used as Babbin does here. Prepare yourselves for a variation on the "stabbed in the back by the media" canard, as conservatives will begin to attribute U.S. failure in Iraq to a lack of "political will" caused by those lily-livered, terrorist-appeasing liberals and their whining toadies in the press, and certainly not caused by an almost complete lack of post-war planning on the part of the Bush administration. Never that.

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