posted by Joel at
We are hearing this term repeatedly. I personally am a bit confused. I dont know what "another Mogadishu" is code for in academia and diplomatic circles, but personally I see it refering to a political action gone awry. My recollection of the whole Somalia affair was that Clinton wanted to feed some starving Somali's due to media coverage of the situation and thought he could have the military deliver some pizza. At some point the military got itself into a situation that became fubar, and the next thing you know we have some of these starving Somalis playing soccor with a US serviceman's head. Then suddenly Clinton is pulling out US forces. No clear objectives upon entering, no reason to be there, and leaving at exactly the wrong time.
Another Mogadishu therfore implies that we will commit military assets while being commanded by a political component that does not comprehend the possibilities and is not willing to see the situation thru if something untoward happens. I believe that Bush's domestic opposition and foreign opposition both have miscalculated his resolve and that of other members of the coalition, as well as that of the American people in general. .
There is much being made about America underestimating Iraqi resistance. The claim goes that "we thought it would be a cakewalk". While we may have hoped it would be a cakewalk, we may have even expected it to be a cakewalk, but at no time and in no way were we counting on it being a cakewalk. We are in Iraq until Saddam is not. End of debate..
What I see little mention of is Saddam's miscalculation regarding America. He expected us to fold after we got our nose bloodied. He figured he could march a few POW's on TV and show us some dead US servicemen and we would cry uncle and march into the UN seeking a peaceful resolution. And that is why we are having to fight this war. As with all war, it is because the warring parties have fundamental disagreements. Saddam thinks he can survive in power, and we know we cannot allow him to do so. While the Clinton administration was the latest and greatest example of US hesitancy, that administration is not the only example Arabs have been given. As far back as the Beirut bombing of our Marine base and the withdrawal afterwards, to the failure to remove Saddam in 1991, to our tragic complacency and on again off again resolve in the middle east during the Clinton Administration, we have represented ourselves as being very uninterested in doing the hard and dirty work necessary to bring stability to the middle east..
From the bombing of the WTC in 1993, to the attack on the Kobar Towers in 1996 to the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, all without any serious reprisals. Only covert operations, or random cruise missle strikes, more the random thrashings of a giant trying to shoo a fly, thus reinforcing in the Arab minds the idea that America had no taste for true confrontation and would back down if attacked. Even in Afghanistan, we were using indigenous forces for a significant amount of the heavy fighting, while we supported with air and artillery strikes..
What the Arabs failed to properly calculate into their terror equation was American security. As long as America felt secure it would be willing to deal with the issue in a complacent manner. Not going to any extremes which might be too politically costly in terms of diplomacy abroad or casualties at home. The 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Anthrax attack have altered the equation. Americans are insecure. No longer will we tolerate the festering pools of tyranny which are breeding grounds for terrorism. America no longer allows itself the luxury of the illusion that CIA or FBI will catch the terrorists before anything really bad will happen..
And they continue to misunderstand the current situation. Suicide bombers will only tighten our bond with Israel, letting Soccor moms and dads in America empathise with Israelis in a way that wasnt possible before. If they should commit such attacks on American soil, it will only hasten the process. America will do what is necessary to have security, and if that means that we have to commit to a long protracted war and occupation, even spanning several nations, we will defend ourselves.