Wednesday, March 22, 2006


seriously, what does "victory" in Iraq even mean? The prez sez:

As we make progress toward victory, Iraqis will continue to take more responsibility for their own security, and fewer U.S. forces will be needed to complete the mission.

-- and --

The President's National Strategy For Victory In Iraq Has Three Tracks - Political, Security, And Economic. All three tracks are progressing. Access the National Strategy for Victory at:

...but what I don't get, seriously, is WHO ARE WE EVEN FIGHTING? I mean, obviously, somebody's killing our soldiers. defines victory as:
  1. Defeat of an enemy or opponent.
  2. Success in a struggle against difficulties or an obstacle.
  3. The state of having triumphed.
Who is the enemy we are struggling to triumph against in Iraq? How will we know if/when we are successful? I'm not at all kidding. I'm following this pretty closely, and I can't figure it out.

Nearly every day, some number of soldiers, and many more civilians, are killed by somebody. But it is never the result of a battalion or whatever of U.S. troops in a shootout with a bunch of insurgents or terrorists or Ba'athists or Saddamites or whatever. It is almost always a couple of soldiers getting taken out by an IED, or some civilian target getting blown up by a car bomb. The prez sez:
The Terrorists Are Turning To Weapons Of Fear Because They Know They Cannot Defeat Us Militarily. After the terrorists were defeated in the battles in Fallujah and Tal Afar, they saw they could not confront Iraqi or American forces in pitched battle and survive. So they turned to IEDs - a weapon that allows them to attack from a safe distance, without having to face our forces in battle. Innocent Iraqis are the principal victims of IEDs. Our strategy to defeat IEDs has three elements: targeting and eliminating terrorists and bomb-makers; providing our forces specialized training to identify and clear IEDs before they explode; and developing new technologies to defend against IEDs.
Recently, I read an account of the peace negotiations at the end of the Vietnam War:
"You know, you never beat us on the battlefield," I told my North Vietnamese counterpart during negotiations in Hanoi a week before the fall of Saigon. He pondered that remark a moment and then replied, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."
How do you say "deja vu" in Arabic?

How can we define victory over the people responsible for the casualties in Iraq? If a month goes by and no one is killed, can we assume that we've won? Usually in a war, the other side doesn't just fade away or get driven into the sea. Usually there is some sort of negotiated peace. Who would even sit at the table for the bad guys? How will we know when they're through? Is there going to be some sort of news conference like Eta had the other day?

The prez sez:

Victory in Iraq is Defined in Stages

  • Short term , Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.
  • Medium term , Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.
  • Longer term , Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.
I still don't get it. But then again, I usually get captured within the first 5 minutes any time I try to play paintball, so maybe this is more obvious to the type of keen military mind produced by the Texas Air National Guard.

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