Bush’s exploitative ads


I’m really angry at the new set of TV ads seeking support for President Bush’s war in Iraq. They use a permanently maimed veteran and the widow of another soldier to tell us that “victory is our only option” and that Congress should not “surrender”

I’m sorry but these worthy loyal Americans are being exploited, used to dull our minds and prevent us from thinking clearly about the war.

Now, I’m a Vietnam War civilian vet. I don’t mind fighting wars. I’ve done my share and I’m willing to do it again. I have no regrets frankly except that in Vietnam we did surrender when Henry Kissinger in the Paris Peace Agreement let Hanoi leave its invading army inside South Vietnam and thereby threw away all that we and our determined South Vietnamese allies had gained on the ground. And that failure of policy I bitterly regret.

And, I agree with the Iraq war vet who lost his legs there that “victory is the only option.”

But how do you win?

That is where these ads are stupid and misleading. They don’t have a clue as to how the United States can win in Iraq or even in the War on Terror.

The words used in the ads presume that violence is the road to victory; that our armies can bring home the bacon if only we fight on long enough.

This is ridiculous and flies in the face of all learning about warfare. This simplicity keeps our people from meeting their responsibilities as citizens, which is to be wise and just and provide sound guidance for our government.

War in general is an extension of politics. Military might alone is never sufficient. Whether you read Clausewitz or Sun Tzu (or Julius Caesar, Napoleon or U.S. Grant) for that matter, issues of economics (logistics), morale and motivation, and the purposes of the war all play in the calculation of victory and defeat.

Take our Civil War, if Great Britain had recognized the southern Confederacy as an independent nation and sent it aid, not all of Grant’s determination would have been enough to bleed Lee’s army into submission.

In Iraq, right from the start our military commanders have been quoted in the press saying they can’t do the job alone. The Iraqis must step up and provide for their own village and neighborhood security, their own policing and governance, their own electricity, good schools, clean hospitals, garbage removal.

You can’t defeat an insurgency through brute and often brutal force, especially if you are foreigners fighting in a far away land. No way; no how.

I know. We beat the Viet Cong in South Vietnam with a village program of self-defense, self-government and self-development. Actually, not us so much as the South Vietnamese themselves. You defeat politically inspired insurgencies with political remedies that include the provision of reliable, 24/7 security to the population. We have failed to do that in Iraq and are still coming up short with respect to counter-insurgency tactics and strategy.

Why don’t those trying to support President Bush tell us the truth?