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The politics and propaganda value of withdrawal talk
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, January 07, 2006

It's fairly obvious, one would think:
Al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, said in a videotape aired Friday that the United States' decision to withdraw some troops from Iraq represented "the victory of Islam" and called on Muslims to attack oil sites.

Al-Zawahri, wearing a white turban and gray robe and seated next to an automatic rifle, waved his finger for emphasis as he spoke in the two-minute excerpt aired by Al-Jazeera.

"I congratulate (the Islamic nation) for the victory of Islam in Iraq," he said.

Al-Zawahri apparently was referring to comments last month by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who said
President Bush had authorized new troop cuts below the 138,000 level that prevailed for most of last year.

Rumsfeld did not reveal the exact size of the cut, but the
Pentagon said the reductions would be about 7,000 troops, about the size of two combat brigades. The Pentagon has not announced a timetable for the reductions, but indications are that the force could be cut significantly by the end of this year.

"You remember I told you more than a year ago that the American withdrawal from Iraq is only a matter of time, and here they are now ... negotiating with the mujahedeen," al-Zawahri said.

"Bush was forced at the end of last year to announce that he will pull out his forces from Iraq, but he was giving excuses for his withdrawal that the Iraqi forces have reached a good level."
We'll see if al-Zawahiri is right or not once we withdraw, but make no mistake, they see the domestic pressure brought on Bush to get the troops out of Iraq to be the reason, not that Iraqi forces are doing better.

Yet we were treated to the premise that this sort of debate is healthy and does nothing to undermine the effort of our troops in the field. Al-Aawahiri seems to disagree:
Al-Zawahri said the American forces "with their planes, missiles, tanks and fleets are mourning and bleeding, seeking for a getaway from Iraq."

"Regarding your withdrawal timetable ... you have to admit, Bush, that you have been defeated in Iraq and are being defeated in Afghanistan and will be defeated in Palestine," he said.
Yup, no perception that we're ready to cut-and-run there, huh?

Nathanial Fick, a former USMC Captain and author now attending graduate school at Harvard gave the best answer yet to the question of why an events based withdrawl makes more sense than one with a calendar date. He does so by remembering another great Marine, GEN PX Kelly:
Q: So given all that, how long do you think the troops should stay?

A: There was a Marine commandant in the '80s named P. X. Kelley, who said, in countering popular pressure to pull the Marines out of Beirut: "If you set a date and the date is too soon, your enemy will wait you out. And if you set a date and it's too far away, they'll drive you out." As a military guy, that strategic ambiguity in not setting a date is a weapon. And to cede that to our opponent unnecessarily doesn't make sense. You're voluntarily giving away a part of your plan, and you're not getting anything in return. So it can't be calendar based. It has to be event based.
Common sense. What a concept. The reason given by Kelly is why the military (and the administration) has insisted over all this time that their withdrawal is and must be "events based". Obviously our armchair warriors on the left know better than those faced with the reality of conducting the war in Iraq.

BTW, if you're interested in how well the Iraqis are doing in the war against the insurgents, meet MAJ Jonathan Fox and his Iraqi counterpart MAJ Sabah Majeed as they roll up an insurgent cell. It's a fascinating story and gives an interesting look inside the difficult job both the Americans and Iraqis have in fighting this fight.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
If this latest burst of crap traffic from Islamofacist-land didn’t give the alert to the ’withdraw now’ crowd as to the results of their efforts, nothing will.
 
Written By: Looker
URL: http://
I thought the "event" that was permitting the withdrawl of our troops is that the Iraqi Army is starting to stand up. So, it seems we are having an events based withdrawl, right? And still they say they are winning.
Surely we don’t expect a democracy to fight a war without someone, somewhere dissenting? If the whole plan hinged on no one dissenting, that was a pretty foolish plan.
Furthermore, if I recall correctly, there wasn’t much of an anti-war movement immediately following the fall of Bahgdad, our country was basically united on the whole affair, and yet the insurgency rose up. So it seems to me that if the insurgency could *start* in that environment, maybe it isn’t so likely that we could have won if the environment here had stayed the same.
I think you are mistaken if you ascribe the motive of "winning" to people figting what they view as an occupying force. It is the equivalent of "better dead than red."
Who knows, maybe I’m wrong, maybe if we could silence the dissenters we could have the kind of success that Russia is having in Chechnia.
 
Written By: Chuck
URL: http://
And still they say they are winning.

I believe that German propaganda in World War II was claiming victory after victory, even in 1944 and 1945.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
"We are destroying the Americans" - Baghdad Bob
 
Written By: Looker
URL: http://
I thought the "event" that was permitting the withdrawl of our troops is that the Iraqi Army is starting to stand up. So, it seems we are having an events based withdrawl, right? And still they say they are winning.

Surely we don’t expect a democracy to fight a war without someone, somewhere dissenting? If the whole plan hinged on no one dissenting, that was a pretty foolish plan.


That’s not the point Chuck. The point is they say they are winning because the withdrawals are politically drivent (pressure from the anti-war left) instead of events based.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I guess to be clear about my point, I don’t take their claim of success at face value. I take it as propaganda.

However, I don’t think there is any circumstance where we can withdraw from Iraq while the guerrillas are fighting that won’t be protrayed by their side as a forcing us out.

The only way we can prevent this kind of "crap traffic from Islamofacist-land" is by not leaving until the country is completely pacified.
 
Written By: Chuck
URL: http://
I guess to be clear about my point, I don’t take their claim of success at face value. I take it as propaganda.

The success of propaganda lies in the fact that there is usually a kernal of truth in it.

However, I don’t think there is any circumstance where we can withdraw from Iraq while the guerrillas are fighting that won’t be protrayed by their side as a forcing us out.

Unless they can show up in huge numbers and make that portrayal credible, I don’t see how thinking people will believe that.

What will actually discredit such a portrayal is if the Iraqis can and do handle the insurgency after we leave.

The only way we can prevent this kind of "crap traffic from Islamofacist-land" is by not leaving until the country is completely pacified.

Not our job and not going to happen. The best way, in my estimation, is to quit giving them the "kernal of truth" in which to swath their propaganda by ensuring, when we talk among ourselves, that we don’t hand them anything of propaganda value. In other words, to be responsible in our dissent.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
"The success of propaganda lies in the fact that there is usually a kernal of truth in it."

Oh Yeah? What part of Hitler’s anti-semitic propaganda had a kernal of truth?

His has pretty successful.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
"usually" - key word, filed under "not the same as always".


 
Written By: Looker
URL: http://
Yup, no perception that we’re ready to cut-and-run there, huh?
Point understood, however,
Since when do the American people yield internal debate over foreign policy to the ranting of psychopaths? If we are to worry about perceptions from the insane, how are we ever to win?
I wish to debate foreign policy on merits, not on external perceptions.

In short, who gives a flying fuck what he thinks?
BTW, if you’re interested in how well the Iraqis are doing in the war against the insurgents, meet MAJ Jonathan Fox and his Iraqi counterpart MAJ Sabah Majeed as they roll up an insurgent cell.
Obviously, not you.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Oh Yeah? What part of Hitler’s anti-semitic propaganda had a kernal of truth?

That some Jews controlled a significant portion of the wealth. That’s undeniable. People could see that with their own eyes. What he did with that information is where the propaganda began.

"usually" - key word, filed under "not the same as always".

Propaganda, to be believable and "actionable" if you will, must appeal in some way to those to whom it is directed. That’s why I say successful (and I should have included that word as well) propaganda has a kernal of truth to it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Since when do the American people yield internal debate over foreign policy to the ranting of psychopaths?

Who said they should?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
"must appeal in some way to those to whom it is directed"

That’s the important part. A kernal of truth is useful but not required in any fashion.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Since when do the American people yield internal debate over foreign policy to the ranting of psychopaths?
Who said they should?
The Democrats, for one.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com

 
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