We have entered the end game in Iraq and now the most important battle is no longer whether democracy and freedom prevail there, but how will we and the world view this conflict, and more importantly US power overall.
The opposition and their media have made no bones that they consider it a stinging defeat in a conflict predicated on lies, and that all the casualties were in vain. Aside from it's outrageous detachment from reality, it is a narrative we cannot allow to stand.
There is a scene in Heartbreak Ridge, where the moron officer tells Gunny Highway and Chewy that their generation of Marines is 0-1-1, with a tie in Korea and a loss in Vietnam. Given the opportunity, the left/media would love to hang a loss or a tie on W and the whole idea of US military power. If they can create a loss in popular opinion they gain all of the casualties as martyrs to their belief that the employment of US power is fundamentally wrong. They already have pounded the meme that we are now handcuffed and unable to use military force against anyone else because we have exhausted the military and destroyed it's morale. That lie is put to rest as soon as these armchair pacifists are confronted by the swelling pride of those who have earned victory on the ground. They reenlist in record numbers and they come home to tell the truth about their good works, ignored by the defeatist press that owes the truth but delivers only the death and destruction.
Well thank God that the left/media no longer completely dominates the discussion, which previously allowed them to spin the disastrous Tet Offensive in Vietnam into an enemy victory. We will prevail in the story about Operation Iraqi Freedom, which goes solidly in the win column. The work is not done though, we currently trail in the propaganda battle as we require ourselves to stick to the truth and our loyal opposition feels no such compunction. Like monkeys flinging their own dung they try to smear whoever they can. They assume the immorality and evil of our policies and the poor bastards forced by tax cuts and racism to enact them. Abu Ghraib? Bush's idea. Desecrating Korans? That was Rummy's brilliant plan, and the whole torture thing was Gonzalez' reaction to an email from Israel's Mossad. Add to that the deepening quagmire and the always growing in size and effectiveness insurgency and it's no wonder they want to cut & run.
Someone has to stand up and say BULLS**T!, and here we are. The rise of the milblogs is the best antidote to the poison spread by the left/media, but we have to raise up and make sure everyone hears. The troops will start coming home next year, not because we were forced to admit that not one more should die for a lost cause, but because we won. That message must dominate and we have an election cycle to do just that. The left/media will have a challenge to maintain this fiction of defeat as the troops enjoy parades all summer and when interviewed talk about the schools they built and the wells they dug. But they need our help, and that means everyone. Many readers here also write and every voice adds to the message, but we also must directly oppose those who oppose the truth. Newspapers, TV stations and all media must be taken to task for defeat-mongering and failure to show the positive.
The administration has begun to help in the fight and now we need to cover their backs. We won this war and don't let anyone say otherwise, not neighbors, not friends, not family and let's get deep in the shorts of our Congressfolks in DC. They are useless unless they feel a political win or liability, so let's give them a choice, join the reality-based community in celebrating our victory or be swept out with the rest of the losing side. Moore's Minutemen blew up far too many of their own children and they are being disowned, defeated and returned to their component molecules. 50 million people now breathe free air and the whole region has to deal with an actual democracy. Tyrants quake every time Condi Rice's people call to arrange a meeting, Al Qaeda has alienated wide swaths of their desired Caliphate, and the status quo ante for bad guys around the world has been raised.
Every casualty in this conflict, as in every other, is tragic, but unlike the left/media we know they served a higher, and thankfully victorious, cause. Stay strong and vigilant as we finish this conflict to ensure that those who attempt to create the defeat that fits their worldview are handed one when America welcomes home our heroes in 2006.