The Biggest Question of All
The first question I want to answer is one that hasn't really been asked much, but I anticipate that it will be asked. Why are we gearing up for Falluja immediately following the elections? Was this a ploy by the Bush administration to avoid taking large numbers of American casualties at a time when it could hurt their efforts to "get the votes?"
The short answer is no, this had nothing to do with the Bush administration trying to get reelected. Any commander on the ground would tell you that if the Pentagon sent orders to "hold the offensive until after the election- don't risk hurting Bush's chances," the commander would laugh and tear it up. As if he'd even consider making operational decisions based on a candidate's political aspirations! He's intereseted in the lives of his troops, accomplishing the mission, and many other things- getting Bush reelected is not on his list of priorities. What is possible however, is to make informed operational decisions based on the enemy's political motives. I know it sounds complicated, but here's how it works:
The ground commander has a large staff of smart people that determine every aspect of the upcoming offensive. He has his intell staffers work specifically on what we call Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB). This consists of many things- among them, finding answers to the questions- What is motivating our enemy? What are their objectives?
Our IPB determined (to nobody's surprise and I can tell you this because it's already been reported in the press), among other things, that these insurgents and terrorists were aiming primarily to influence our election and thwart the Iraqi election. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how they planned on influencing our elections- kill as many Americans as humanly possible.
They did anything and everything to lure us into the fight before Election Day- but we resisted. Because WE were calling the shots, and WE had total control of the situation. Our commanders and staffers up there wisely determined that if we hold off the offensive until after Election Day, it would leave the insurgents with one less thing that drives their will to fight. Almost like a morale issue. Instead of two primary goals, now they only have one- having failed to achieve their first. When you think about it- it's brilliant strategy. We won half the battle by not even fighting! There were other reasons for the timing of this thing, but our Election Day was a factor- but not in a context that many uninformed people will be able to comprehend.
Recap- the Bush administration had nothing to do with making this decision- it was (once again) the commanders on the ground- and it was a well thought out decision, both tactically and strategically speaking. Consider yourself informed. Please explain this to your friends who suffer from "lack-of-military-knowledge-but-strong-propensity-to-spout-off-about-military-issues" disease. Thanks!
Oh Praise Ye Bloggers!
Peggy Noonan gives us bloggers a nice parting gift after the elections:
Who was the biggest loser of the 2004 election? It is easy to say Mr. Kerry: he was a poor candidate with a poor campaign. But I do think the biggest loser was the mainstream media, the famous MSM, the initials that became popular in this election cycle. Every time the big networks and big broadsheet national newspapers tried to pull off a bit of pro-liberal mischief--CBS and the fabricated Bush National Guard documents, the New York Times and bombgate, CBS's "60 Minutes" attempting to coordinate the breaking of bombgate on the Sunday before the election--the yeomen of the blogosphere and AM radio and the Internet took them down. It was to me a great historical development in the history of politics in America. It was Agincourt. It was the yeomen of King Harry taking down the French aristocracy with new technology and rough guts. God bless the pajama-clad yeomen of America.
Thanks, Peggy. It was actually quite fun...
And Speaking of the MSM
What Peggy referred to as "bombgate" has taken on a life of it's own. The story that has been discredited about 30 different times is now finding new life in the LA Times. Talk about taking out your aggressions on a dead horse...
Note to LA Times: Election's over- your guy lost. And about your 4 anonymous "sources" that claim it was similar to "the LA Riots" (strange, I thought it looked more like a WAR over there, but that's just silly me)- maybe you haven't figured it out yet- when the MSM says "we can't tell you who said it or show you any definitive proof other than this testimony from people who may or may not exist, but trust us- this story about 12 US soldiers standing around watching Iraqis loot 380 tons of explosives over a period of several weeks is absolutely true"- well, that just doesn't quite carry the weight that it once did. But thanks for trying...