As the Vietnam War illustrats, wars can be lost on the homefront, as well as the battlefield. Fueled by the anti-war movement and televised images of dead and wounded American soldiers, public support for Vietnam War eventually dissipated, leading to our military withdrawal and the ensuing bloodbath in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Will the same thing happen in Iraq? It's too early to say, but a new CNN-Gallup poll shows 59% of Americans now oppose the War in Iraq, and 47% said they were "not satisfied" with the War on Terrorism. Those numbers suggest a shift in opinion from similar polls taken earlier this year, and in 2004.
What's prompting the change? Consider those images you see on your TV--lots of blood and gore from the latest car bomb, video of insurgents seemingly operating at will, and reports of more dead Americans. Collectively, they suggest a war that isn't going well.
But is that the ground truth? Contrast the observations of Austin Bay or Michael Yon, a former Green Beret-turned-freelance journalist, who's spent the last six months in Iraq, and reporters from the New York Times or Washington Post, who cover the beat in Baghdad.
BTW, I'm looking forward to Yon's interview with Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Mellinger, the senior Army enlisted man in Iraq. When Yon met him a few months ago, CSM Mellinger asked him point-blank: "you're not one of those journalists who sits in a Baghdad hotel room and writes about the war?" Mellinger travels around Iraq--by himself--in a HUMVEE. His thoughts on the war and our military should be a great read. Yon's interview with CSM Mellinger should be up in a few days.
According to Yon, a few MSM types have declined invitations to accompany CSM Mellinger on his travels around Iraq. Afterall, it's a lot safer to cover the war when room service is close at hand.
One final thought: our troops will win the war on the battlefield, given time and the proper resources. But to win the war on the homefront, we need to hear more from men like CSM Mellinger, and less from the retired generals and twits representing liberal think-tanks. The Bush Administration also needs to remind Americans that we have a genuine stake in winning the war in Iraq. If we cede the media war to the jihadists and the MSM, we will be forced to withdrawal from Iraq, and the War on Terrorism will return to American soil.