Mischaracterizing The Argument

I feel kinda fuzzy. I was checking our incoming traffic, you know, because if someone tosses a reader or two our way, I’m more than happy to return the favor. And I saw that we were getting a small trickle of traffic from a “Jules Crittenden”.

“Hmmm…” I thought to myself. “Don’t recall hearing that name before, but I appreciate this.” So I hopped on over to the site to see why I got linked.

As it turns out, it was a neocon site that, big shocker, managed to mischaracterize my argument in a single paragraph. Under “bizarre military and political theories induced,” I found this:

Left Field: Here, let me give you a quick display of my ignorance of military affairs. War was easier in the old days when the enemy wore uniforms, and massed infantry took hills amid unbelieveable carnage. Counterinsurgency is hard. Let’s give up.

“Hmmm…” I continued to think. “That’s not what I said. Well, not all of it. I’m pretty sure I didn’t use unbelieveable carnage, or even that counterinsurgency is hard.” But, I figured that just to be sure, I should probably read what I wrote in case I was having a bout of forgetfulness.

Here’s what I actually wrote, presented, believe it or not, in context:

Which, is indicative of another growing meme that calls into the question the very nature of the surge. In past wars, missions were successful, and partly because, there were mission objectives. You tell your platoon, “We need to take and secure that hill. It’ll give us an elevated position over the valley on the other side of it, and will allow us to provide artillary support to the 134th which is moving North.” Missions not only had a clear end, but there was a purpose to that end.

You told your soldiers to take a hill, they took it. Mission over. Job well done. There is nothing like this with the surge. You are essentially turning the troops into a very large bodyguard service for Iraqi lawmakers.

Nothing about counterinsurgency being hard, or let’s give up. The point wasn’t that it was a difficult mission to accomplish, it was that there was no mission to accomplish at all. Counterinsurgency is difficult given its fluid nature, we’ve seen this throughout the history of this war alone where we temporarily clear out an area of violence, but later it falls back into fighting later as our forces are redirected elsewhere.

But I didn’t address that in this argument. I was merely pointing out that one of the great flaws of the surge is that it does not provide clearly defined mission parameters, which hinders the abilities of officers on the ground to conceptualize and execute actions necessary to achieve goals, and therefore leaves the enlisted soldiers on the ground fighting, essentially, in a haze.

As someone with ANY kind of military experience will tell you (even someone with my limited amount of military experience) mission clarity is vital to both morale, and the ability of the boots on the ground and the deckplates to be able to successfully complete said mission.

That was the heart of my point, and I would have happily explained my position to Jules except registration is required to post on that site, so I figured screw it. Jules wants to mischaracterize that argument and defame me by calling me ignorant, so be it. That person can come on over here and read my rebuttal. I don’t require registration to post a comment, so we can have the fight over here.

Still, through it all, I still feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If righties are out there taking your statements out of context and spinning them for their own ideological purposes, you KNOW you’re hitting the big time!

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