The Folly of Making Predictions in the Middle of a War

Posted on Tue 09/23/2008 by


I’ve written before about trying to properly analyze a war while in the middle of it which is what the MSM continually seems to demand under the guise of providing the public with accurate updates. Congress is no better as they make “fact finding” trips to the Green Zone, meet with staff briefing officers and diplomats and then “report” back to the people normally basing their briefings on their parties perspective of how they believe the war is going, for example if you’re Barrack Obama and you’ve declared the surge to be a failure you come out of your briefings ignore the facts you’ve been provided and say the surge was a failure. Or if you’re Harry Reid, you simply say the war is lost as if you’re a prophet and never go back to see if you’re prophesy came to pass.

I could just imagine a Senator showing up at General Eisenhower’s headquarters in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge and saying the war is going well because up to that point the Allies seemed on the verge of ending the war by Easter. In fact looking back now we know it was an offensive of last resort and doomed to failure but in January 1945 the men on the ground didn’t know that the German’s would soon run out of fuel ammunition and supplies and be quickly driven back a month later and the advance on Berlin would shortly thereafter resume and that by May Hitler would be dead and the war in Europe over. What they knew then was the Allies were falling back and being captured at rates not previously seen since 1942 and surely making those that were yelling home by Christmas look rather foolish.

I recently watched as President Bush hosted General Petraeus at the White House to celebrate his incredible feat in turning the Iraq war around, it’s not won but at least it’s now moving in the right direction by leaps and bounds in a military sense.

In one respect I must agree with Barrack Obama when he stated that the “surge was more successful than many could have imagined”. General Petraeus it would appear not only had to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq but also had to fight his chain of command as they seemed bent on tying his hands at every opportunity. It took a back channel ex-General named Keane who was Petraeus’ mentor to carry messages back and forth from the field to the White House to get things done. Was it because Petraeus was a shining star, sought out the media, supported the President and was successful on the battlefield or did they just think he was wrong? I think it’s far too early to tell and something worth our focus but one thing is for sure, the surge worked, continues to work and if Iraq fails politically it’s not because the US didn’t give them every opportunity for success.

Who could have guessed in 2006 when President Bush ordered the surge in forces that it would have such an impact on reducing the level of violence to the lowest levels since the war began, while ensuring that the Sunni’s and Shiites didn’t counter attack each other with every small slight or attack against each other’s community a la the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s of old.

I hope the MSM continues to ignore Iraq as US casualties remain very low because without the American media acting like the 800lbs guerilla in the room the Iraqi’s may actually stop posing for the camera’s and might get to work on putting their country back together in a political sense.

I’m going to make one final (I always say that) trip to Iraq next week before finally growing up and getting a real job so I look forward to seeing the changes first hand since my last trip at the height of the sectarian violence, but unlike the politicians I’ll try to heed my own words and stop trying to make predictions about the final outcome in the middle of the war.