Skip to comments.Are we winning? (National Post vs anti-war media whiners)
Posted on 04/03/2003 4:32:40 AM PST by knighthawk
When war in Iraq began on March 19, many believed it would be over within days. Among hawks especially, there was a broad hope that the rapid northward march of a small U.S. army would leave a slew of anti-Saddam revolts in its wake. Iraqi soldiers would either melt away, surrender or turn their guns in the other direction. Baghdad and Basra would both fall without much of a fight. Those hopes, we now know, were naive. Baath party loyalists have so far discouraged any open revolt, and sporadic attacks from Saddam's irregulars continue to plague U.S. supply lines.
As a result, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is beset by accusations that his battle plan was flawed. A variety of former military men -- retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey most notably -- argue the coalition force in Iraq is too small to attack Baghdad while simultaneously guarding its flanks. New Yorker writer Seymour Hersh reports his military sources tell him the battle for Iraq could become a "stalemate" in the short-term -- at least until the Army's 4th Infantry arrives.
But suggestions of failure are premature to say the least. While the best-case scenario did not materialize, U.S. forces adapted quickly to their rude welcome, and have already resumed their northward trek. Yesterday, U.S. officials declared that key Republican Guard units surrounding the Iraqi capital have been virtually destroyed by air strikes, and a full-scale attack on the city's outskirts could be imminent. Mr. Rumsfeld's Plan A may not have worked. But Plan B is apparently still on track.
The big picture is hardly grim. Media attention has focused largely on this war's most tragic episodes -- such as the bombing of a Baghdad market and the shooting deaths of civilians near Najaf. In Canadian outlets especially, the war has been cast as a few days of rapid U.S. advances followed by a week-and-a-half of setbacks. This image is deceptive -- for it ignores the many quiet successes the coalition has won. Even putting aside the rapid push to Baghdad, consider the following:
- A leaked United Nations report -- cited often by war opponents -- projected that up to 500,000 Iraqis might be killed, wounded or struck by disease in the current conflict. The UN also expected more than half-a-million refugees. But thanks to accurate allied bombing and careful target selection, Iraq is reporting only about 600 civilians killed. The refugee camps in neighbouring countries are empty.
- During the first Gulf War, Iraq set 700 Kuwaiti oil wells on fire and pumped five million barrels of oil into the ocean, setting off an environmental crisis that lasted years. This time, coalition forces wisely seized Iraqi oil terminals on the first day of the war. Only seven fields were set ablaze -- and firefighting crews are already at work putting them out.
- The Israeli front is quiet -- and should remain so thanks to the presence of coalition operatives in western Iraq. While analysts ranked as low the chance Saddam might hit Israel with missiles in this conflict, the possibility loomed large in the minds of war planners. A lucky conventional shot on Tel Aviv -- or, worse, a successful strike with chemical or biological weapons -- would have provoked a savage Israeli response, with unimaginable repercussions for the region.
- In addition, contrary to fears, no Iraqi dams have been burst by Saddam (yet). Nor has he broken out chemical artillery shells (yet). And signs the Iraqi leader might start massacring Shiite civilians in the Baghdad slums -- a possibility David Frum warned of on these pages -- have so far not materialized.
As the above-cited accomplishments manifested themselves as non-events, the media have largely ignored them. The result has been an overly pessimistic picture. Mr. Rumsfeld's objective has always been to depose Saddam Hussein in a relatively brief, humane war that does not destroy Iraq's infrastructure or inflame the region in a larger conflict. There is every sign the coalition is still on track to achieve that goal.
The email address to send info is: When many of us returned from Nam, we didn't know who hated us and worked to undermine us, let's not let our kids coming back be as fooled by the enemy within as we were.
Thanks and God be with and bless our guys from the CIC on down to the E-1 in the filed of battle,
And a list of good guys, here is where you get to put the name of your company if you supported the USA. Got the name of a good politician, a good company, a good country, a good ... Click here and send it along, let's let our kids know who was with them too.
Thanks again, Tim
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