Wretchard, the author of the indispensable Belmont Club blog has a piece on the importance of information warfare in Iraq. The terrorists attempting to drag Iraq back into the Seventh Century know they cannot defeat the US on the battlefield. After months of combat, both low-level and open, they’ve inflicted well fewer than 1,000 US casualties at a cost to them that’s orders of magnitude higher. Like the Tet Offensive, the media’s breathless efforts to hype the enemy in this war doesn’t match the military reality on the ground. As Wretchard notes:
Viewed in this context, the American “defeat” in Iraq projected by the press must be understood as being something wholly different from anything that has gone before. The 800 odd US military deaths suffered since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom a year ago are less than the number who died in the Slapton Sands D-Day training exercise in 1944. The campaign in Iraq has hardly scratched American strength, which has in fact grown more potent in operational terms over the intervening period. Nor has it materially affected the US manpower pool or slowed the American economy, which is actually growing several times faster than France, which is not militarily engaged. The defeat being advertised by the press is a wholly new phenomenon: one which leaves the vanquished army untouched and the victor devastated; the economy of the vanquished burgeoning and that of the victor in destitution; the territory of the loser unoccupied and that of the winner garrisoned. It is an inversion of all the traditional metrics of victory and defeat. That the assertion is not instantly ludicrous is an indication of the arrival of a new and potentially revolutionary form of political wafare.
Calling Iraq a "defeat" is positively asinine. The only way that Iraq can be a defeat is if we decide to tuck our tail behind our legs and run – which is exactly what the terrorists are trying to get us to do. They are applying the strategy that Osama bin Laden himself championed for years – use the media as a weapon to drive public opinion to create a loss that could never be created on the battlefield. As Neal Boortz notes the media is become cheerleaders for the enemy in this war.
If we pull out now, every one of those nearly 800 soldiers will have died for nothing, and we’ll have abandoned Iraq to chaos that will eventually reach our shores. With the knowledge that Saddam Hussein’s arsenal of unconventional weapons remains hidden somewhere in the Middle East it is absolutely imperative that we not allow terrorists to have free access to those weapons.
At the end of the day, the anti-war position, knowingly or not, is exactly the position the terrorists want us to adopt. If we give Iraq over to terror we will guarantee that the terrorists will have everything they could want, a base of operations, a ready supply of weaponry, and the victory of an America returning home humbled. It cannot be stated enough – bin Laden himself spoke that his goal is to make the US into "the weak horse" and that terrorism doesn’t stem from poverty or US action (there are plenty of poor people in Latin America who have been the victims of both poverty and US Cold War realpolitik but don’t feel the need to blow themselves up or knock down buildings) but from the perception that terrorism works. Capitualtion to terrorism feeds into that perception and guarantees that we will see more terrorism in the future. Yet the anti-war side doesn’t even show the slightest desire to comprehend this fact.
We cannot afford to lose this war. The media cannot be counted to be fair, objective, or accurate. The terrorists know exactly where are weaknesses lie and how to exploit them for maximum effect.
The question then becomes if we have the wisdom and courage to defeat these plans or our moral nihilism has sapped our will to fight for the values of individual rights, free expression, and religious tolerance. If so, our democracy is doomed to die.