Friday, April 20, 2007

"Give 'Em Surrender" Harry Reid

We as a nation now have two "Harry" bookends to our historical period. At one end is Harry Truman, who led us to victory in World War II, utterly defeating Japan and Germany. Truman then led us part way into the Korean Conflict, where we decimated the North Korean Army and then pushed back the Chinese hordes that crossed the Yalu. That Harry had a nickname. It was "Give 'Em Hell" Harry. And now, at the opposite end of the spectrum in time and substance, we have "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry, the Senate Majority leader.

"Give 'Em Surrender" Harry declared our nascent counterinsurgency stategy a failure and the Iraq war lost yesterday, making an analogy between Bush's surge and the futility of the Vietnam War.

As evidence that the surge had failed and our loss as a nation complete, “Give ‘Em Surrender” Harry cited to the violence in Baghdad of Wednesday - a series of 4 car bombs, 3 of them suicide bombs, for which Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility. To amplify “Give ‘Em Surrender” Harry’s analogy to Vietnam, this act of violence is his Tet Offensive.

For those who might not know, Tet was the defining event of the Vietnam War. It was a mass offensive by 84,000 North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldiers and Viet Cong. And it was a total military failure. Within thirty days of its start, the U.S. had killed 50,000, completely decimating the Viet Cong and taking a sizable chunk out of the NVA. U.S. losses were 1,100 soldiers. Nonetheless, the mass offensive shocked the press. Walter Cronkite led our nation's journalists in portraying the Vietnam Conflict as unwinnable and Tet as a victory for the North Vietnamese. It led directly to our withdrawal from the "quagmire" of Vietnam.

Back to Give ‘Em Surrender Harry. His defining "Tet" event is not quite as large. Give ‘Em Surrender Harry just declared that the United States and its nascent counterinsurgency operation have failed and been defeated by four members of al Qaeda.

Let that sink in for a moment.

The foe we face in radical Islam is every bit as much an existential threat to us and Western Civilization as Nazi Germany. We are one dirty bomb on Wall Street away from a recession or maybe a depression. We are one nuclear explosion in a port city away from much, much worse. And we are a series of coordinated attacks on our malls and infrastructure away from going into martial law.

As "Give 'Em Hell" Harry's predecesor, FDR, told the nation on December 9, 1941, "the United States can accept no result save victory, final and complete," against such an existential foe, else there would never be "security for any nation-or any individual . . ." Give 'Em Surrender Harry obviously never read that speech discussing American values, American resolve, and the unthinkable consequences of failing to defeat such a foe. You can find FDR's speech here. If you have not read or heard it, it is very much worth taking the time and effort to do so. And someone might wish to pass it on to Give 'Em Surrender Harry.

Though the threat we face may be dire, "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry is declaring our defeat at a point when our losses are minimal by any measure. To date, our soldiers lost in Iraq number 3,315. Each is a tragedy, and as a former soldier and the father of soldiers, I deeply appreciate and grieve for each one. I am in no way belittling their loss when I point out, for the benefit of "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry, that 3,315 killed in Iraq is 3% of the losses we sustained in WWI to defeat German aggression; it is 1% of what we sustained defeating the Nazis in WWII; it is 6% of what we sustained in destroying the North Korean Army and then driving back the Chinese hordes in the Korean Conflict; and, it is 6% of what we sustained in Vietnam before we were pulled out.

And, just so you know, the U.S. has never lost an engagement in Iraq or Afghanistan involving a platoon size element or larger of U.S. soldiers. A platoon is about thirty men. Do you understand how significant that is?

With that track record, how can we possibly lose to Islamic extremists in Iraq or Afghanistan - or anywhere else in the world for that matter? Well, that is unless we are forced to embrace defeat predicated upon "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry's Tet Offensive of four al Qaeda suicide bombers.

Do you think Give 'Em Surrender Harry really means it when he says the surge has failed and our nation has lost in Iraq? Or is it just "Give Em Surrender" Harry who has decided that he wants us to lose? Is it just "Give Em Surrender" Harry who wants to insure that the surge does not succeed? And is it just "Give Em Surrender" Harry who is putting his quest for raw power above the horrid ramifications of a defeat for our national security and our foreign policy policy?

"Give 'Em Surrender" Harry offers no assessment of the costs that may arise out of his embrace of defeat. The mantra of "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry and his fellow Democrats has been that we cannot give President Bush a "blank check" to continue the war. I think any reasonable assessment of the costs of fighting a greatly emboldened radical Islam, flush with the victory of defeating the United States in Iraq, would utterly dwarf the costs of seeing Iraq to a stable democracy with all the major players - Sunni, Shia and Kurd - invested in its success.

To put it bluntly, Give 'Em Surrender Harry's claim of defeat in Iraq is cowardice, cynicism and hypocrisy writ on a grand scale. And in my view - traitorous. Perhaps we should nickname him "Benedict" Harry.

Update: Lest you think that last suggestion too over the top, consider this. Give 'Em Surrender Harry's statement that the Iraq war is "lost" is already having reverberations around the Islamic world. Read this from The Volokh Conspiracy:

Iranian Press TV reports, in response to Reid's statement:
Leader of the Democratic majority in the US Congress, Harry Reid, has said the US has lost the Iraq war, and Bush's troop surge has failed.... Reid's comments came a day after 200 fatalities were reported in bombings in Iraq, despite a much touted US Security Plan which the White House said sought to root out insurgency."

A Republican party e-mail also reported the following as translations of items from Al-Jazeera Online, and Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, "The Leading Arabic International Daily"; please let me know if the translations are inaccurate:
"Yesterday the leader of the Democratic majority in Congress, Harry Reid, announced that he conveyed to Bush that the United States lost the war in Iraq and that the additional America forces that were sent there will not succeed in the achievement of any positive progress."

"Leader of the Democratic majority in the US Congress, Harry Reid, has said the US has lost the Iraq war, and Bush's troop surge has failed.... Reid's comments came a day after 200 fatalities were reported in bombings in Iraq, despite a much touted US Security Plan which the White House said sought to root out insurgency."

As I have said before, it may well be quite proper -- and certainly constitutionally protected -- for people to criticize the war; and sometimes the benefits of such criticism, even of the "war is lost" variety and even when said by leading U.S. politicians, outweigh the costs. Yet it seems to me hard to doubt that this statement will have grave cost.

. . . Yet my suspicion is that the harm will be quite substantial indeed.

It is one thing for a dissembling Joe Biden to pronounce the surge a failure, or a New York Times cheerleading for the far left to call the war lost, but quite another when a leader of the Democratic Party and the Senate Majority Leader does so. I am quite willing to bet that Give 'Em Surrender Harry is now the new poster boy for a much energized radical Muslim recruitment from Terhan to Ridyah to Morroco to London, Rome and Washington D.C. Does anyone doubt for a moment that Wahhabi / Salafi clerics the world over, even as you read this, are not praising Give 'Em Surrender Harry's pronouncement as "Allah's will" and pointing to it as proof that more bloodshed will ultimately see radical Islam ascendent throughtout the world.

And if you want to forecast how Give 'Em Surrender Harry's statement will impact upon the average Iraqi who has a choice between supporting us and the Maliki government or the insurgents, be it al Qaeda in Iraq or the Iranian backed Mahdi Army, if you turn to the book authored by General Petraeus, the Army's field manual 3-24: Counterinsurgency, you will find this:

1-134: . . . The populace may prefer the HN [i.e., Iraqi] government to the insurgents; however, people do not actively support a government unless they are convinced that the counterinsurgents - [i.e., U.S. and Iraqi forces] have the means, ability, stamina, and will to win."

Give 'Em Surrender Harry may succeed in his clear objective of gaining political power in the '08 election, but at what cost to America in blood and gold?

Update: Now we know that, in the violent events of last Wednesday that "Give 'Em Surrender" Harry cited as proof the surge has failed, 3 of the 4 al Qaeda bombs were greatly limited by defenses put in place by the surge.


Steph said...

They are also talking impeachment again, Cheney first, then Bush, so they can put Nancy Pelyucky in as President. Wouldn't that just be lovely?

Anonymous said...

As per the comment does Reid believe what he said or is it a move to power? It is a move to power. I have a new hobby of watching the news with the sound off. This sounds idiodic but it isn't. With the captions moving along the bottom one gets a good look at body language. Watch Harry's first press conference. Look at the face and his nonstop fidgiting with his tie. He doesn't believe a word of what he saying. The probelm is that his words do have consequences in that the enemy hears them too. Perhaps he doesn't know or maybe his power hungry myopia won't let him see. Either way, he is a horses ass.


Anonymous said...

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