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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

When to declare victory?

It was Senator George Aiken who said that American strategy in Vietnam should be to “declare victory and go home.”

A quick Google search reveals that this advice is being repeatedly given regarding Iraq and has been for years. However, the general point of both Aiken and his modern day imitators is that the declaration would be disingenuous but useful. It's just an excuse to get the hell out.

But there is a problem here. At some point it really does make sense to sincerely declare victory and go home (unless one genuinely thinks the best thing to do is stick around 50 years as we did in Germany and Japan.) One does not have to kill every single insurgent or terrorist before a victory declaration is real.

I wonder if we are closing in on that point. For instance, we are getting fairly close to the point where Iraq can be fairly said to no longer have an insurgency problem. Instead, it has a terrorism problem. After the conclusion of the current campaign to clear and hold all of the insurgent held towns in Anbar province, all, or very nearly all, of Iraq will be in control of the elected Iraqi government. If the insurgency can no longer hold territory but just blow up people, perhaps that is no longer an insurgency but simply “an acceptable level of violence” (see P.J. O'Rourke's Give War a Chance) akin to the situation in Northern Ireland for a long time. I'm not sure we need to stick around long for that.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

There have been many little victories already... the day Saddam was captured, and the first election. The December 15 election will be the final victory. After that we should start to draw down troops. We should maintain a smaller presence there for some time to keep influence on the Iraq military so that it cannot participate in a coup.

11:23 PM, November 30, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Yes there have been many small victories, and many large too. Come on, a successful election was small? Steamrolling the whole country in weeks was small? Keeping casualties to a tiny fraction, (theirs and ours) was small? You guys read the history of any other wars, like WWII for instance? War is about killing people and breaking things and for the first time in modern history we have been able to be successful with little of either.
Thirty percent is a normal battle casualty figure, seen any of that in this war? So now we quit half way because the completion of the project is tough? I have friends over there right now who think it is worth the candle to finish the job. One reserve Major is on his third deployment because he thinks he is doing good things over there and his wife and kids agree. So we quit on him? Boy, great bunch of patriot conservatives we are. Why don't you Email him at mlars40@yahoo.com and let him know you are quiting? Tell him to turn his weapon on his officers (oh wait, he is one), well just say he and his guys are wasting their time and to give it up.

10:42 AM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa, there Air Marshall! I, for one, was not advocating leaving before the job was finished or that we have not acheived big victories. I was simply making the point that at some point, one has achieved a victory and it is time to come home and that may be soon. I am definitely not arguing that that time is now, even if the boots on the ground like your friend disagree and that we should pull them out against their wishes and better judgement. As Bush said yesterday, these judgements have to be made with a huge amount of input from the military. They have better information than we do. But all this doesn't contradict my point: There will come a time when a truthful declaration of victory can be made. At that point, and not before, we should consider being prepared to leave, and there is nothing wrong with speculating that that point might be nearing.

1:13 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Try again to post his Email link.


1:24 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Harsh pencil, I applaud your stance and have no problem with pointing out that victory has been achieved when that is the fact. However, victory is not "declared", that is lib talk. Victory is "achieved" as is peace. Peace is achieved when evil is defeated and admits it, not before. There was no "peace" in Indochina after it had been declared by Nixon because it had never been achieved. There will be no peace in Iraq or the Middle East as a whole untill it is achieved through much hard work, sacrifice, intelligent planing, and unifed effort by all people who really want to have peace in that area and the world as a whole. That means people of good will, not evil.

1:38 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Victory is truthfully declared only when it has actually been achieved. So I think we agree.

2:17 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

We agree, but I object to the use of the word 'declared" in this context. SCC has pointed out (often) that words have meaning and must be used in the proper context to give that meaning substance. It is Libs who misuse words and corrupt the meaning and substance of them. "Declaring" victory is typical of Lib talk, form over substance. As SCC says, we must regain control of the language if we are to win the argument and regain control of society.

9:59 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Ooops, the above should say SSC, not SCC. SCC sounds like some government alphabet soup. My apologies to Grand Poobah the sixteenth.

10:58 PM, December 03, 2005  

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