Jules Crittenden in the Boston Herald identifies exactly the same mistake, which folly goes back to Lyndon Johnson and before him to Harry Truman: half-measures and the failure to mobilize the whole of the nation in the war effort, in a democracy like ours, will result in a continual erosion of public support, if victory is not achieved over a very short interval of time.
Prosecution of any war will always be opposed by a radical and pacifist fringe, who will quickly attract the support of the community of fashion, which is always in search of a cause. Once that alliance is organized and in operation, the general public will be subjected to an endless barrage of whingeing and anti-war propaganda, which in the end will demoralize the general public. Normal people will insist the war be abandoned, in the end, simply because they are so terribly, terribly sick of listening to the Left.
Five years on, some people remain unaware that this is war; that we are facing an enemy that will do anything in its power to destroy us.
The fact that on any given day we are free to fly around the world, drive our cars without restriction and buy as much food as we like in rich variety seems to have confused them.
The lack of U-boats attacking the shipping lanes has lulled some people into thinking this is not actually a war. Not a real war, certainly not a good war, not like World War II. They mock the very notion that it is a war, having fun with the name “Global War on Terror.” They put forward the notion that, like almost everything else in our American lives, this thing that has been called a war is a choice. A bad choice.
Who can blame them? Even fighting in this war, unlike most of the great wars our that threatened our existence in the past, is a choice made by a small percentage of Americans who have joined the Armed Forces.
George Bush, while announcing that we were at war five years ago, made a decision to encourage Americans to go about their business as usual. Rather than mobilizing the country for war, he decided he could fight this unconventional war by unconventional means, and with the forces already at hand. Normalcy had its uses as a weapon. It showed that our enemy could not hobble us.
In other respects, it was a mistake…
Bush chose not to treat this as total war, insisting it could be done with some finetuning of the resources at hand. His domestic opposition has taken that idea several steps farther, insisting Islamic terrorism is a police problem that does not require military force and certainly not the suspension of some legal niceties. After all, they do not consider it an actual war of the sort faced by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt when they destroyed cities and imprisoned anyone who threatened the security of the nation.
Ironically, Bush has been so effective with his approach, that there has not been an attack on the mainland United States since 9-11. That has allowed his opposition to maintain that all the unpleasant things Bush has had to do domestically and abroad are unnecessary, or the very least excessive. They’ve had the freedom to nitpick at the execution of the war, expressing indignation at every misstep, while ignoring major accomplishments, which they see after all as the accomplishments of an unnecessary war based on global intelligence failures that, in hindsight, they cast as lies.