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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Only Place We Can Lose [the War] Is If We Lose Our Nerve

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld gave an excellent interview yesterday on the Hugh Hewitt radio show and Col Austin Bay, of Austin Bay Blog fame, gave an equally insightful followup interview. Transcripts of both are available on Radioblogger here. These form something of an antidote to the conspriatorial ravings of Iran's "Magilla" Ahmadinejad in my last post:

HH: Mr. Secretary, do you think that American can lose this war?

DR: Oh, sure. There's no way we can lose it on the battlefield. The only place we can lose it is if we lose our nerve, and if we decide that it's just too tough, and we're going to toss in the towel, that the dire consequences for the world, for the region, for the Iraqi people, for the Afghan people, and for the American people, are so serious, that the thought of it is just unacceptable.

HH: What does that defeat look like?

DR: Well, the first thing that we'd have, you'd have Iraq as a country with oil and water, and a large population as a haven for terrorists, reestablished as a caliphate, a home, a sanctuary for extremists to attempt to reestablish a caliphate throughout that region, and to destabilize the Muslim regimes in that region that aren't extreme, and to then spread that to Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. It would enable them to have weapons programs, and gain access to powerful, lethal weapons that could put at risk many multiples of the people that were lost on September 11th. It would be a tragedy.

Austin Bay was just as incisive:

AB: Well look, they don't. And Rumsfeld, to some degree, heck, I'm going to say it. Bless his heart, he comes out and tells us that he's working 13 hours a day, and 12 hours and three quarters, twelve hours and forty-five minutes a day, he's just doing things, and he's not thinking about the message. I would come back in, if I was working for him, I'd reach over and grab him by the tie, and say hey, big Don, this is the strategic issue you need to be sitting on every minute of the day, and that is fighting this strategic information battle. You need to be thinking about that, and you need to get over there with a megaphone at the White House, because that's where the media megaphone is for the administration, and telling them stay on top of this, stay in front of it, and when Cindy Sheehan shows up down in Texas out in front of the ranch, you don't sit there and let the media turn her into some sort of instant darling. You've got your local supporters there in Waco, there in Crawford, going up to her and in her face right there. Now it's going to give the media a story, local farmer from Crawford comes up and says you know, you're nothing but a loudmouth, and you're on your way to destroying our country, and wrecking our effort. That should have been done. It wasn't. They sat there and let her grow. And that has been a repeated flaw. That is the 20th Century, and Hugh, this is the way I would put it. I think they're still more worried about what Bill Keller thinks, about what Richard Cohen is going to write, than they are about what's going on, on the web, or how fast that image is flying around the planet, either on the internet, or on TV satellite news

Amen to all. Words to heed. I hope the SecDef was listening to Bay's words.


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