Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Microwave Victory

In his blog, Sean LaFreniere is claiming that we have lost. His reasoning is laid out here:

"Why do I think say we are losing? Because I hear too many accounts of Iraqis who used to support us speaking against us. And too many of those who once supported the war now calling for the troops to come home. We have lost the hearts and mind campaign, both in Iraq and at home."

Sean has a point about the importance of will in war, but he misses something else that is even more important: the importance of logistics in battle. The enemy's logistics runs throughout the Arab world. We are not in a fight for Iraq against the Baathists, we are in a fight for civilization against the Islamists. Unlike Vietnam, we are pursuing the logistical train to the various sources and interdicting it there. Iraq is not the goal; it is the ground our leadership has chosen to fight on.

It remains to be seen how much material and personnel support the enemies of western civilization will be able to draw from the dedicated Islamists. As I write this, a quiet war of interdiction is going on in the Horn of Africa; names are being gathered, familiarity with the region is being gained, and enemies are being captured. (Hat tip to Instapundit) All of this is being done with the full support of the local governments who have a clear idea of what happens to the former rulers of states controlled by Islamists. While the world's attention is focused on Iraq, other battles are being fought in the back of beyond.

The ability of a force to supply itself is the most crucial determinant in war. South Vietnam fell largely because the North Vietnamese Army had more trucks supporting their attack that the Wehrmacht had during the Blitz and because the US Congress prevented Ford from supplying our allies with ammunition for their artillery. There is no longer any likelihood that the US is going to let that kind of farce replay itself. Our people are working to interdict the supply for not just this insurgency, but the next one, and the ones after that.

This is not going to be a microwave victory, Sean. This one is going to go the distance, and it is in no small part up to us to keep the faith. Remember that the map is not the terrain, the report is not the battle, and that supply is everything. Iraq is a battle, not the war.
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