Naming Names

Yesterday’s post about Operation Togetherness got a thoughtful comment from John of Argghhh you should read:

One man’s “bogged down” is another man’s “I can’t just blow everything away like I did in WWII and Korea so I find that I have to take my time. Oh, and yeah, they didn’t sign the landmine treaty and the place is lousy with them.”

I.e., the Talibs can fight, and are putting one up.

And, as long as we keep our nose to the grindstone and don’t fret every time something doesn’t go just perfectly, we’ll find that we’ve ground them to dust in a place they have chosen to put up a fight.

I also rather suspect the name wasn’t chosen in a late-night skull session between the President and Rahm, but reflects the political realities of the war as we have to fight it.

I.e, see above – not being conducted as an existential fight by us, but *is* being conducted as an existential fight by them.

Yeah, it was just simpler when we could just nuke stuff and move the rubble piles around.

Too bad that’s not the war we’re fighting. Nor should it be, however much we might like it to be, because gosh, golly gee, it sure would be simpler. And I mean that.

Good points, to which I replied:

Putting the snark aside, which I’m loathe to do as snark puts food on my table, you’re almost certainly right. If you haven’t already (and I’m going to link to it tomorrow) see Austin Bay’s latest On Point at Strategy Page. The relevant bit:

News of NATO’s impending attack in Helmand province permeated regional and international mass media.

The sales pitch, however, was even more comprehensive and explicitly targeted. T-shirts and legendary U.S. Marine bravado played a role. For weeks Marines sported T-shirts that read, “Just do Marja,” the town of Marja being a major position held by Taliban forces.

If you don’t think the T-shirts and swagger spurred local rumor and gossip — which are important channels of communication in every culture, but especially in a society where literacy is rare — then you don’t understand the power of swagger and the pan-human effectiveness of word of mouth promotion.

The problem, of course, is that the Marines are pitching their sale to the Afghan/Taliban audience (and doing a smash-up job of it) and Obama & Rahm are pitching their sale to another audience — the collegiate elite. The problem, of course, is the the elite don’t really care about victory, or else Obama would bother himself to use the word now and then.

And the other problem is, the American people (and the Taliban, for that matter) can see the mixed message, and respond accordingly.

The discussion continues today, over at Argghhh. Check it out.

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