Anti-War is not Pro-Defeat

In a related follow-up to my previous post regarding the American public attitude comes this article from the WSJ's Opinion Journal:
In mid-January an Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that public support for President Bush's troop surge increased to 35%, up from 26% a few weeks earlier. The same poll found that a slim majority of Americans were against the war in Iraq, but 68% said they opposed shutting off funds to fight it, and 60% said they would oppose Congress's withholding funds necessary to send additional troops.

The American public is aware that sacrifices are occasionally necessary to achieve costly goals. I do not believe the American public is shying from the War in Iraq because of the human toll it is exacting. I believe the American public is shying from the War in Iraq because of the lack of apparent progress. In 2004 G W Bush was re-elected because there was visible sign of progress as demonstrated by the then recent elections. What the American public wants is Victory.
To confuse the current American public anti-Iraq sentiment as a go ahead for withdrawal is a mistake and for politicians not to appreciate the American desire for victory can be politically costly:
Arguably, waffling on the war is what is costly for Republicans. In June Rep. Gil Gutknecht, a Minnesota Republican, cautioned other Republicans not to go wobbly. A month later he went wobbly himself. After returning from Iraq, he declared that the U.S. lacked "strategic control" of the country and called for a limited troop withdrawal to "send a message" to Iraq's government. In November the six-term congressman watched independent voters abandon him as he lost by more than 5% to Democrat Tim Waltz. Meanwhile, in a neighboring congressional district, Rep. John Kline, another Republican facing a stiff challenge for his seat, didn't waver. He ended winning enough support from independents to defeat FBI "whistleblower" Colleen Rowley by 16%.

Over in the Senate, Joe Lieberman recently warned that a showdown on the war between the executive and legislative branches risked creating a "constitutional crisis." But perhaps his most powerful political statement is still being in the Senate after losing a Democratic primary last year to antiwar activist Ned Lamont. The antiwar left is powerful enough to prevail in a Democratic primary, but even in deeply blue Connecticut, it wasn't capable of winning a statewide general election.


Counter Counter Insurgency

A fascinating article from the Belmont Club suggesting that the current Iraqi Surge is more than just troops on the ground.
If so then the US has truly achieved a subtlety and lethality beyond anything available in the days when firing hundreds of cruise missiles at a target was the only available response; back when it had a walnut-sized brain full of options. But then the recent destruction of a Qods bus in Iran by representatives of al-Qaeda may be another example of the changed "rules of engagement" made possible by new capabilities. Although this is speculative, various commentators like Bill Roggio have expressed the opinion that just maybe the US was behind the carbomb attack on the Iranian special forces. All of this raises the tantalizing possibility that a qualitative change in US warfighting has arrived in theater -- much like the arrival of Hellcats, VT fuzes, computing sights and radar -- silently transformed the Pacific in 1944. To a casual observer the ships looked the same as they did in 1942 but they were radically different. Who knows?

Essentially it is about fighting fire with fire, against both the insurgency in Iraq and their supporter Iran. Unfortunately, the US can never publicly claim responsibility for any of these successes, which still leaves an image problem at home. And at home the image of Iraq remains one of quagmire as presented by the Democrats and the MSM. All this despite the shifting desire of the American public for Victory rather than "redeployment." From the Investor Business Daily:


Democracy: Right and Left

I recently had a conversation that helped to clarify the conflict between the Right/conservatives and the Left/liberals. I believe that in a free democracy such as that of the US, the Left will always maintain an edge. This is because they are strong advocates of the individual in terms of freedoms and benefits. What individual would not find more personal freedom, more personal benefits more appealing, especially if someone else pays for it? The gist of the Left's appeal is undeniable and difficult to counter; I do not know if the Right has the right stuff. The Right/conservatives have consistently place their emphasis external to the individual in either principles of morality or the needs of the community (both of which are entwined of course.) How much appeal can these ideals carry unless an individual comes to appreciate sacrifice and selflessness (traits typically only manifesting with parenthood, at best). That as individual we must also act with some consideration of our community.

Where the Left proposes freedom, the Right proposes responsibility. In a free democracy both qualities are essential. Perhaps we are in a natural ebb of responsibility but it sure seems our popular culture appear to be gushing with personal freedom and a bit short on responsibility.