Monday, January 17, 2005

We're a bit spoiled

Just a small point that I'd like to make: for a few generations, Americans and Europeans for the most part (oh, what the heck, most of the world, too) have been spoiled in terms of how they've had to handle warfare. Think about it: Ever since the end of Vietnam, what wars have western nations fought that have been more than a cakewalk? Falklands? Panama? Grenada? First Gulf War? East Timor? Somalia? Kosovo/Bosnia? American-Afghani War? None of those wars were more than sheer overkill, or just outclassing the opposition. And the most destructive wars were fought by non-westerners- the Iraqi-Iranian War in the 1980's, as well as the Soviet-Afghani War (many would consider the Soviets NOT to be Western.....and still aren't), Kashmir, and the Congolese civil war. And the only war that could be considered western, is the Israeli-Palestinian War, which only had the apperance of a war when the Israelis actually bothered to fight back, in 2001- present day.

What this means, is that the Western World is getting a crash course in what warfare really looks like, to an extent, in Iraq. Putting the blatantly bad media asides, the Iraqi conflict is something that the western world is still getting used to. Or really, reused to. The American public is showing a pretty strong understanding of the Iraqi war. I'd wage bets that less than 30% of the country actually prescribes to the Michael Moore mentality, when push comes to shove. Divergent views about the war, of course, exist, but by and large there's a groundswell of support for seeing things through to their bitter end. But this doesn't mean that it hasn't taken some time for the American and western public to get over the shock of a war that lasted longer than five mintues, and bombings from a remote nightvision video camera. It has, and 2004 was a case in point about it.

And that's one thing that the Democratic Party failed to understand in the Election campaigns- that for all their spin, they were only getting some worth out of it, because Americans were still adjusting to a concept of a longer war. 2005 will probably give them diminishing returns on that concept, as more and more Americans realize that the term "Global War on Terror" isn't meant as a cheap campaign or publicity stunt like the "War on Drugs" or "War on poverty" concepts. They're slowly starting to realize, on a base level, what the Pentagon and other security experts (as well as I have) been saying: that this is going to be a long war, and that there will be many stages to it. At least the Bush administration understands this- and most Republicans do. Some democrats do, as well, but not enough. It'll be an uphill battle for them for the next few decades as they try to find their own understanding of the conflict we're involved in. Get used to it, folks.


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