Friday, May 07, 2004

CAUTION FROM PROF. HANSON

Victor Davis Hanson makes a point today that I have been thinking about for the past couple of months.

Our enemies in the GWOT are beginning to play us. We have become predictable and that is dangerous, especially dangerous in war. It reminds me of that first tank battle in north Africa when Patton defeats Rommel and exhorts (in the movie) "I read your book!" Rommel had become predictable and Patton used it to defeat him.

We have become predictable. A simple car bomb (what does that cost? $500, plus one stolen or abandoned car?) that can kill a few soldiers earns massive amounts of air time on every US news outlet. An ambush on a Humvee, a few deaths by sniper and a petty warlord becomes an instant celebrity. It's better than buying time on the Super Bowl in terms of "impressions". And the media loves it.

Our enemies now know our weakness and they are hammering on them daily. So how do we fix this mess? Per VDH:

We have to return to an audacious and entirely unpredictable combat mode; put on a happy, aw-shucks face while annihilating utterly the Baathist remnants and Sadr's killers; attribute this success to the new Iraqi government and its veneer of an army for its own 'miraculous' courage; ignore the incoming rounds of moral hypocrisy on Iraq from Europe (past French and German oil deals and arms sales), the Arab League (silence over Iraqi holocausts, cheating on sanctions), and the U.N. (Oil-for-Food debacle); explain to an exasperated American people why other people hate us for who we are rather than what we do; and apologize sincerely and forcefully once — not gratuitously and zillions of times — for the rare transgression.

I wrote more than a year ago that our biggest weapon was unpredictability. Bush had a rep as a cowboy and that was good. "Shock and awe" worked because it was completely unexpected. Our enemies didn't know what to expect next.

Now they do. It's time for Plan B.


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