Thursday, February 03, 2005

Today's hero 

"Abdelamir Najem Kazem, like all Iraqi policemen, had been warned to look out for the 'clenched fist' sign of a suicide bomber.

"But as he checked the man in a long black coat, he spotted a hand grenade and hurled him to the floor near a Baghdad polling station, according to Kazem's commanding officer.

"Kazem and the bomber, who was believed to be Sudanese, were both killed on the spot outside a polling station in the Al-Yarmuk district of western Baghdad during Sunday's landmark election.

"The world has hailed the courage of Iraqis in turning out to vote in the midst of insurgent attacks and threats. But Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has called Kazem 'the real hero of Iraq'."
As Greg Sheridan writes in today's "Australian", "the process is being called Iraqification of the security effort, to compare it with the policies of Vietnamisation, under which the Americans during the Vietnam War finally decided to transfer security responsibility to the armed forces of South Vietnam. Vietnamisation is thus a popular bogey word signalling ultimate failure." Sadly, as I blogged a few days ago, much of the left today remains stuck in the quagmire quagmire with no exit strategy but to continue hoping for American failure in Iraq. But, as Sheridan reminds us

"Vietnamisation was highly successful and resulted in the defeat of the Viet Cong insurgency. When South Vietnam fell to the communists in April 1975, it did not fall to the Viet Cong communist insurgency. Rather, it was invaded, in a wholly conventional military operation, by the army of North Vietnam, bolstered by limitless Chinese and Soviet supplies."
To make the picture fuller, we should note that by 1969 the Americans and the South Vietnamese forces have succeeded in largely destroying the native Viet Cong insurgency. From then on, the war was conducted by infiltrated regular North Vietnamese army units disguised as local guerrillas. Despite having a safe base of operations (North Vietnam) and staggering amount of support from the Soviet Union and China, the communist troops, too, were largely exhausted and defeated by the late 1971. Then came the peace deal and American withdrawal, and the North Vietnamese used the next two years to rearm and regroup. South Vietnam they attacked and eventually overran in April 1975 has been starved of American military supplies and denied any additional US military assistance, such as the air cover.

Vietnam was not a military defeat for the United States; it was a psychological defeat brought about by prolonged conflict and a concerted effort of the left to delegitimize the struggle. Today, the left cannot count on a "positive (for their cause) correlation of forces": the insurgents in Iraq don't enjoy popular support, there is no neighboring country pouring in hundreds of thousands of troops into Iraq, and the jihadis and neo-Baathists are not being supported by the two military superpowers of the day. Faced with that reality, the left has only one way of turning Iraq into another Vietnam: to redouble the propaganda effort to sap the American morale at home. Iraq will become another Vietnam only if we allow the left to turn it into one.


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