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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|THIS Is How You Make A Case|
Two strong arguments were made yesterday for the importance of keeping on keeping on in Iraq. The first was a brilliant piece of analysis from Powerline's John Hinderocker:
One wonders how past wars could have been fought if news reporting had consisted almost entirely of a recitation of casualties. The D-Day invasion was one of the greatest organizational feats ever achieved by human beings, and one of the most successful. But what if the only news Americans had gotten about the invasion was that 2,500 allied soldiers died that day, with no discussion of whether the invasion was a success or a failure, and no acknowledgement of the huge strategic stakes that were involved? Or what if such news coverage had continued, day by day, through the entire Battle of Normandy, with Americans having no idea whether the battle was being won or lost, but knowing only that 54,000 Allied troops had been killed by the Germans?
How about the Battle of Midway, one of the most one-sided and strategically significant battles of world history? What if there had been no "triumphalism"--that dreaded word--in the American media's reporting on the battle, and Americans had learned only that 307 Americans died--never mind that the Japanese lost more than ten times that many--without being told the decisive significance of the engagement?
Or take Iwo Jima, the iconic Marine Corps battle. If Americans knew only that nearly 7,000 Marines lost their lives there, with no context, no strategy, and only sporadic acknowledgement of the heroism that accompanied those thousands of deaths, would the American people have continued the virtually unanimous support for our country, our soldiers and our government that characterized World War II?
We are conducting an experiment never before seen, as far as I know, in the history of the human race. We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined--to put the most charitable face on it--to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war.
Sometimes it becomes necessary to state the obvious: being a soldier is a dangerous thing. This is why we honor our service members' courage. For a soldier, sailor or Marine, "courage" isn't an easily-abused abstraction--"it took a lot of courage to vote against the farm bill"--it's a requirement of the job.
Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.
That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present. (emphasis mine)
And the second great argument was from what has become a surprising source: the President of the United States.
There are few things in life more difficult than seeing a loved one go off to war. And here in Idaho, a mom named Tammy Pruett -- (applause) -- I think she's here -- (laughter) -- knows that feeling six times over. (Applause.) Tammy has four sons serving in Iraq right now with the Idaho National Guard -- Eric, Evan, Greg and Jeff. Last year, her husband Leon and another son, Eren, returned from Iraq, where they helped train Iraqi firefighters in Mosul. Tammy says this -- and I want you to hear this -- "I know that if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country. And I guess you couldn't ask for a better way of life than giving it for something that you believe in." America lives in freedom because of families like the Pruetts. (emphasis also mine)
It's about time the President got out in front of the argument a little bit. One question: why wasn't Tammy Pruett brought down to the Ranch the "meet" with Cindy Sheehan? Of course, there's probably a dozen reasons, but I ask that rhetorical question to make a larger point: Where the Hell have the President's PR people been for the last four weeks? Why haven't these arguments been made already by the President and his surrogates? It seems so patently obvious that this line of reasoning is irrefutable, yet the GOP acts completely bumfuzzled whenever the Left makes Vietnam comparisons or screams their rants before a rapt media.
Breaks are good--everybody needs to take a little break now and then. But the stakes are too high to leave it to bloggers--no matter how effective or influential--to make direct, pointed, and sometimes undiplomatic arguments on the President's behalf.
Let's hope yesterday's speech was just the beginning of the PR offensive.