11 July 2007

Not Winning and Not Leaving, and Not the First Time

Just a quick note as Wednesday gets ready to tick over into Thursday...

I was just reading an article on the American Thinker website by Herbert E Meyer called "The War About the War" and this statement leapt out at me: "We haven't lost, but we aren't winning." Obviously he's talking about the current situation in Iraq.

But it reminds me of a much more benign time in Iraq - the days of the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. Most Americans have no idea how many missions were flown, how many hours of patrols were conducted during the space of time between Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Moreover, most Americans don't know that there was an ongoing battle between Iraqi air defense forces and Coalition air forces which began in December 1998 with Desert Fox. According to the Center for Defense Information, as of 22 May 2000:
"there had been more than 470 separate incidents of Iraqi SAM and anti-aircraft artillery fire directed against coalition pilots since December 1998. Iraqi aircraft violated the southern no-fly zone more than 150 times during the same period."

Maybe that can be called a low-intensity conflict. But after flying many support missions, it seemed to me at the time that we weren't winning, but we weren't leaving. Perhaps the same can be said of Desert Storm. The job wasn't finished, and we didn't leave.

And now, we're faced with not winning and not leaving again, perhaps. One or the other should be done...and it's better to do the hard right than the easy wrong. There are smart folks who can (and perhaps have) figure out how to accomplish the hard right. But it takes open eyes and a willingness to see things through to really do the hard right.

No comments: