Sunday, January 02, 2005

Winning the war

Jay at Wizbang gets it right about the fundamental nature of the war on terror:

In brief, one could win a war by destroying the enemy's will to sustain the war. [As in Vietnam]

This lesson was little noted by the superpowers, but carefully filed away by their lessers.
...
The word quickly spread; if you kill enough Americans (but not too many), and seasoned it with a healthy dose of barbarity, you could get the Americans to leave you alone.

And that is what we are facing now in Iraq.

How are we doing? So far, so good, I think.

The troops' morale seems to be very good. Neil Prakash's exuberance and fighting spirit pervade his Armor Geddon blog. Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazette also shows mettle:

Speaking only for myself, an American serving in uniform in Iraq, there's little I fear more than having the determined, confident, and competent young sons and daughters of our nation that I see here daily replaced by some group of conscripts torn kicking and screaming from their mother's skirts and forced to become something that only faintly resembles the effective members of our armed forces that are currently far from home and risking all for a cause they believe in.
My Navy Surgeon friend Dr. J reports that his patients want nothing more than to recover from their wounds so they can return to their units in Iraq. Another friend, reserve Marine Company commander Major D reports his men are ready and eager as they prepare for their deployment to Iraq this Spring.

A better measure than a few anecdotes is recruiting. According to the Pentagon:

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps all made their active duty recruiting numbers for fiscal 2004, according to DoD documents.

The Army enlisted 77,587 soldiers through September, besting the year's goal by 587 soldiers.

Through Sept. 29, the Navy reported that it enlisted 39,874 sailors, bettering its goal by 254 sailors.

The Air Force said it enlisted 34,362 service members for the year, topping its recruiting goal by 282 people.

The Marine Corps reported it had enlisted 36,794 service members for the fiscal 2004, which topped its goal by 21 enlistees.

On the home front, support for the troops and the war seems strong. Grassroots organizations like Soldiers Angels have sprung up to support the troops in Iraq and at home. Read care package stories from Blackfive here and here.

The election results here and in Australia were a slap in the face to those who were hoping for a more Spain-like outcome.

But opinion polls report declining optimism about the war. I can only chalk this up to months of negative reporting by mainstream media. Fourtunately, blogs and other media are helping a rapidly increasing number of people route around this (hat tip, Jeff Jarvis via Instapundit).

So, keep faith with the troops, keep routing around the bad information, and we'll win this thing.