Since some readers regularly e-mail me samples of his work, I thought there might be interest in this piece that Ted Rall sent me yesterday, and in the brief exchange we had on the subject. I think he was hoping I would buy the piece. He doesn’t know I’m not in a buying mode. In fact, he has my sympathy because fewer and fewer papers are likely to be in a buying mode.
Anyway, my initial reaction to the piece was as follows:
Actually, Ted, the only way we’re going to win is if it DOES become "boring"
enough that al-Zarqawi can’t get coverage any more. He can’t win, except by
demoralizing the American public to the point that it just wants to quit. And he
can’t do that without coverage.
But rest assured, Katrina will eventually fade into the background enough to
return to the daily suicide bombing being repeated over and over on the 24/7
boob tube news. And al Zarqawi will be a happy man, and won’t have to try so
hard to depress us.
Mr. Rall responded thusly:
It depends on whether we view al Zarqawi as the leader of a movement or just one more personality heading up one particular pyramid of insurgent cells (guess which one I think it is). I think the Iraqi insurgency is intrinsically undefeatable, first and foremost because the US isn’t willing to commit the half million troops that would have been needed to enforce total domination and law and order.
To which I responded,
I cite him as the guy taking credit for the biggest recent attempt to get our
attention. He and al Qaeda are indeed but one of the factions hoping we’ll just
get demoralized and go away…
Mr. Rall is right that we (if he means our leaders) have never been willing to commit enough troops. And he’s right that the terrorist attacks over there haven’t garnered the same kind of overplay in the U.S. media to which the terrorists are accustomed (due to Katrina). But he’s wrong about the rest. The various insurgents — al Qaeda, other assorted foreign jihadists, Sadr’s people, never-say-die Baathists, and so forth — can’t defeat us. Not unless we become so demoralized that we decide to let them.