Monday, December 10, 2007
Getting Beyond Stalemate
The Washington Post this weekend published a notable op-ed, Getting Beyond Stalemate to Win a War,” jointly authored by retired Major General (MG) John Batiste and Vets for Freedom Executive Director Pete Hegseth.
Hegseth, who’s been tireless in his efforts this year in leading the media fight for victory and against surrender in the war in
All the more remarkable that Hegseth and Batiste contributed jointly to this opinion piece. Hegseth notified Vets for Freedom supporters (I’m on their National Leadership Team) that, notwithstanding any prior political differences, Batiste is a “true patriot.” Here’s how Hegseth explains their work together for the WaPo op-ed:
The op-ed outlines the need for
As you may know, in 2006 Maj. Gen. Batiste was an outspoken critic of failed strategies in
My sincere hope is that this op-ed will help serve as a sort of "political reconciliation" in our own country. It is time to put aside petty partisan differences, and rally behind the need for success in
It was an honor to write the piece with Maj. Gen. Batiste—he is a fine officer and a true patriot.
If Hegseth can make this statement about Batiste, at the least I can reconsider any earlier judgment I made about him. In any case, Hegseth and Batiste make a strong argument for reconciliation of oppositional national security views, and victory in
Our military men and women deserve better than partisan politics; they deserve honest assessments of our nation's performance in fighting the Long War.
We are veterans of the
Our perspectives were different, yet not as stark as the "outspoken general" and "stay-the-course supporter" labels we received. Such labels are oversimplified and inaccurate, and we are united behind a greater purpose.
It's time to discuss the way forward rather than prosecute the past. Congress must do the same, for our nation and the troops.
As I’ve stated many times, who knows how much easier this fight might have been, if serious and security minded Democrats had held sway, and kept the anti-war rhetoric well-tempered by a “politics stop at the water’s edge” philosophy. (How about this for a post-9/11 version of same, “politics stop at ground zero’s debris field.”)
Hegseth and Batiste energetically embrace the concept of the Long War that we fight against radical Islamic extremism, and call for concerted, unified American effort against or terrorist enemies in five key areas, as excerpted:
· The counterinsurgency campaign led by Gen. David Petraeus is the correct approach in
· No matter what,
· Our military capabilities need to match our national strategy.
Hegseth and Batiste assert that Veterans are resolved in their defense of this nation, and make one additional plea:
This should have been the stand taken in 2003, and long overdue in 2007, but perhaps it marks an important (and essential) turning point in political rhetoric.
I view it as inevitable that all those who formerly spoke of defeat, withdrawal, quagmire, blunders, will need to reposition for 2008. The writing’s on the wall. Those who cling to the defeat narrative will be punished severely; if not by an electorate, then by those who position with an electorate in mind.
Here’s a tactical question. How much cover do you extend to people who still have political interests in opposition to your own? Does it make them look foolish, or embarrassed that they were wrong? Is that enough to weaken them?
One issue is who holds the White House in 2009. Another is, no matter who wins, how will the military be treated? Are they going to listen to us, next time things get tough? How will we be used? Will we keep fighting the Long War, with leaders who will make tough decisions?
I'd vote whole-heartedly for reconciliation, if I had any confidence that those on the other side were genuine in their "new awareness" and serious about the real, abiding threats we face.
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