Major Eric Egland’s Six Steps To Victory is good stuff, but I am particularly interested in Steps 3 and 6. I’ll get to No. 6 later.
Nationalize the war effort by connecting the American public with the troops and their mission.
A major problem with Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as well, is that the American people, while supporting the troops with prayers and bumper stickers, do not feel connected to the effort because they do not know what they can do to help. They must be given more opportunities to directly support the troops on the ground–as the unmatched generosity of the American people remains a highly underutilized resource in this conflict.We need to establish sister city relationships between battalions that are preparing to deploy or are already in Iraq and American cities–not just the towns around military bases. The Pentagon should expand on the success of existing grass-roots organizations such as AnySoldier.com and SoldiersAngels.org that allow private citizens and organizations to send the troops the items they need, whether for themselves or for the Iraqi people.
Just as an engaged couple sets up a wedding registry for loved ones to buy them what they need, so the relationship should be between deployed units and Americans back home, using places like Wal-Mart, Ebay, Radio Shack and Target. Added elements that could make the program even more effective could be: competition between cities to see who can marshal the most support per capita, broadcasting the results, and awarding tangible recognition for cities that exceed certain thresholds.
A group of spouses of deployed Minnesota National Guard soldiers set up a program to make and ship dolls to Iraq so the unit could give them to the Iraqi girls in the neighborhoods they patrolled. One soldier explained, “We tried candy and toys, but found that dolls are the only thing that the Iraqi boys won’t steal from the Iraqi girls.” As part of a broader effort to build relationships with locals, this unit was able to tap civilian resources and support and saw a significant decrease in insurgent activity in their area as a result.
Truly supporting the warfighter means more than lip service. It requires listening to the needs of the ground units, then doing everything possible–as a nation–to deliver.
Less than 1% of 300,000,000 are fighting this war. People wonder why we are fighting with one hand tied behind our back? Hell, we’re fighting with BOTH hands and BOTH feet tied behind our backs trying to bite these donkey-rapin’, medievel sickos to death, and mostly because millions of Americans do not support politically incorrect, kinetic violence that might violate the poor jihadis’ civil rights. If more Americans personally knew more soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen in harm’s way, there would be less sympathy for those who try to kill them, less lawfare, and fewer takers for al Jazeerah/CNN/al Qaeda propaganda.
Back in my youth America had strong civic and church groups who could take on these kinds of projects. Now people go bowling by themselves. But ever since Al Gore invented the internet, like-minded people can congregate online and organize and accomplish good things.
So what’s YOUR excuse?