October 25, 2004

At Last, Maybe A New Day In Iraq

NORMALLY I AVOID POSTING double essays. But because “Step Right Up” is a re-run and required so little effort (today's first post, below), I fear I might disappoint a few folks if I don’t splatter at least a drop or two of intellectual sweat on the VDT, so here complete with commentary is a genuine “Must Read,” a Lucianne.com item that seems to have been overlooked during the weekend festivities. It is an unusually positive Associated Press report from Iraq, revealing how one of our sector commanders has seized the initiative from the terrorists and is gradually winning back Diyala Province, the vital northern approach to Baghdad. The commanding officer is Col. Dana J.H. Pittard, a man of whom I suspect we shall hear much more before this war is over, and his unit is the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division – the storied “Big Red One.” Here are the AP dispatch’s key paragraphs:

"I think we got to know how important it was to relate to people, and how to separate the bad guys from the population," he says. "We have not scooped up people in a big net to find the rotten fish."

"We deconstruct who is who," he said. "If a guy feels he's a nationalist fighting the occupier of his homeland we can deal with that. It's the hard core that has to be killed or captured."

The full text of the AP account is available here. While it is not as detailed as I would like, it sounds as if Pittard is employing the same sort of tactics the British used to defeat the MauMau terrorists in Kenya and prevail in the Malaya Emergency – the only fully developed communist insurrections ever to be defeated by a colonial or non-indigenous power. The British tactics are in turn the source of what the Marines did a decade later – with 100 percent success – in the first year of their presence in Vietnam. Unfortunately, the Marine Corps' achievements provoked huge jealousy from the State Department and other branches of the armed forces, and Gen. William Westmoreland – incompetent to the bitter end – ordered the Marines' program shut down. For details read The Betrayal, by Col. William R. Corson (USMC Ret.) – that is, if you can find a copy, since this best-of-Vietnam books (W.W. Norton & Co., and Ace Books: New York, 1968) has been out of print for too many years. For essential background to Col. Corson's disclosures, read The Ugly American, the fictional work by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer that exposed the breathtaking ineptitude of the State Department and the diplomatic corps. First published in 1958, it was prophetically reissued in 1999 by Norton.

The relevance of these works and the Pittard example thus goes well beyond estimates of the local situation in Diyala Province. Whatever the source of Col. Pittard’s approach to anti-insurgency, it appears to be succeeding, and that is precisely what places the colonel and his staff at such risk. Not only does he face the opposition of the same forces that undermined the Marines’ efforts in Vietnam – a combination of vindictive State Department careerists and angry rivals from other branches of the military – but Col. Pittard also faces an unknown but substantial number of additional internal enemies who (undoubtedly for ideological reasons) yearn for an American debacle in Iraq. These are the people – most of them probably radical feminists or victim-identity cultists promoted to positions of authority by the Clinton Administration – who make up the biggest single obstacle that confronts the Bush Administration: the most hostile, most defiant, most sabotage-minded federal bureaucracy in U.S. history.

Moreover, the existence of these anti-Bush cells within the federal government, all apparently sworn to undermine the President and his policies “by any means necessary,” has been ignored (and thus effectively covered up) by the mainstream media – even as the media routinely prospers by its resultant access to the administration’s secrets. (Note for example Mary Mapes and her probably illegal access to the nationally ruinous Abu Ghraib photographs.) That this type of incident has happened so often, resulting in a such a succession of (unprosecuted) security violations, is itself probably without precedent. So is the fact that the malcontents’ reach seems to span (and perhaps even unite) seditious cliques in both civilian and military branches of the government.

While there is no doubt Bush has blundered badly in Iraq, the presence of Col. Pittard (and presumably other commanding officers who are bold enough to apply his tactics) suggests very strongly that the war is no longer (and probably never was) the “quagmire” the Left has delighted in portraying. (Astute readers will note that while I have used the term “blunder” many times, I have never once employed the term “quagmire,” save derisively as above.) Thus the hostile bureaucrats can be expected to redouble their anti-Bush efforts. If John Kerry wins next week’s election, Col. Pittard will probably be among the first victims of the predictable purge, for beyond the ouster of Bush, many of these subversive bureaucrats ultimately seek the defeat of “white patriarchy” – the overthrow of American liberty and the destruction of Western Civilization. However, if Bush wins, Col. Pittard will probably soon be General Pittard – which later historians may well mark as the turning point in the war, much like President Lincoln’s promotion of a colonel named Ulysses S. Grant.

Posted by Loren at October 25, 2004 06:52 AM

Thanks for posting this excellent exposition and linking to the AP article. Something to disperse widely!

Posted by: TheAnchoress at October 25, 2004 07:22 PM