Notes on the War in Iraq: Since the terrorists target public opinion, so should we

This is the first of a series. The bulleted points below are culled from many sources. They are compiled to show how much information on an issue is available to those who are seeking it.

  • The murderers who take direction from men in caves know the importance of public opinion, while our guys don’t.
  • There is a lot of discussion about the political dynamic in Iraq, but the political dynamic here at home is just as problematic. The United States is at war, and yet our biggest challenge in foreign policy isn’t what’s going on in Iraq. It’s dealing with domestic public opinion here at home that is influenced by the generation that came of age in the 1960s as well as by political celebrities.
  • One big irony of terrorism today is that its principle target is the media. There seems to be a psychological tic in the minds of American journalists which prevents them from understanding that terrorism is ultimately aimed at them. Without qualm or fear, the media willingly, gleefully, with much self-congratulation, pumps the terrorism storyline into the bloodstream of the Western public.
  • The aim of terror is to induce surrender before the great battles are even fought. This is the true meaning of “asymmetric” warfare. The weaker side in military strength may demonstrate conclusively that it has a stronger stomach for relentless, unstoppable acts of terror.
  • Today, the purpose of war is sharply political and psychological. The main purpose of war is to dominate the way the enemy imagines and thinks about the war.
  • Warfare is not, these days, won on a grand field of battle. Nor is it won by the force that wins series after series of military victories. Nor is triumph assured by killing far higher numbers of the enemy. The physical side of warfare no longer holds precedence.
  • The primary battlefield today lies in the minds of opposing publics. The strategic aim of war today is to dominate the mind of the enemy’s public, and then ultimately to dominate the mind of that public’s leaders.
  • The war in Iraq continues to be the number one issue for Americans. A report on one regional poll said this: The 4-year-old military engagement is the most important issue by a nearly 2-1 margin over each of the next three top matters of concern: health care, national security/terrorism and immigration. (
  • The question on the table is: what are our elected Republicans going to do about it? Will they continue to cower in fear hoping and praying that things on the ground in Iraq continue to improve? Or will they join in the discussion in a substantive way, realizing that sometimes good things can be difficult to achieve?
  • When a former top commander of U.S. troops in Iraq slams the handling of the war and gives a bleak assessment of the current situation in Iraq (like General Sanchez did in mid-October), are our elected Republicans ready to answer and give an opposing viewpoint?
  • When our guys read a couple of lines like the following, they can’t handle it:
“From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan, to the administration’s latest surge strategy, this administration has failed to employ and synchronize the political, economic and military power,” Sanchez said. Continuing changes to military strategy alone will not achieve victory, rather it will only “stave off defeat,” he said.
  • Either the war in Iraq is right or it’s not. Many who supported it initially couldn’t handle the fact that it got difficult. They couldn’t handle that we made strategic mistakes. They forget or are ignorant of history, and the extremely large mistakes America has made in all of its wars.
  • The threats we face in this technologically downsized planet must be defended against, yet critics of the Iraq war have offered no serious strategic alternative to the president’s freedom agenda. That agenda is anchored in the belief that democracy and liberal institutions are the best antidote to the pathologies plaguing the Middle East.