Sunday, August 26, 2007

Winning on the ground, Losing at home

Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts.

~Bill Vaughan

Forget other country's history books, our own historians can't even agree. Case in point, despite the fact that some historians are up in arms over Bush's Iraq/Vietnam comparison, others could not agree more. Times of London:

Supporters of the Iraq war have also been delving into Lewis Sorley’s book, A Better War, which was rereleased in paperback this year. The war, Sorley wrote, “was being won on the ground even as it was being lost at the peace table and the US Congress”.

The North Vietnamese have given this argument a boost over the years. In an interview after his retirement, Bui Tin, who received the South Vietnamese army’s unconditional surrender in 1975, recalled that visits to Hanoi by Jane Fonda, church ministers and other antiwar protesters “gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses . . . through dissent and protest [America] lost the ability to mobilise a will to win”.

James Q Wilson, a social scientist who is revered by conservatives, argued in The Wall Street Journal last year: “Whenever a foreign enemy challenges us, he will know that his objective will be to win the battle . . . among the people who determine what we read and watch. We are in danger of losing in Iraq . . . in the newspapers, magazines and tele-vision programmes we enjoy.”

Despite fighting terrorists, we are fighting a public relations war.

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