The Blog

Bring Me an Armchair

Taking stock and assessing the Bush - Cheney - Rumsfeld - Wolfowitz - Myers - Franks team.

6:00 PM, Apr 10, 2003 • By HUGH HEWITT
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Approximately 50 Americans have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom, including the fatalities in both Afghanistan and the Philippines. Others allied forces, including the Canadians and Germans, have lost lives there as well.

The number of Americans and British killed in Iraq is less than 200, though of course the war is not over.

Each of these deaths is an enormous cost, and the pain of the survivors is not lessened by comparison to wars past. Judgments on military success must begin, however, with an appreciation for a war plan that has accomplished so much with so few casualties in places where previous wars have counted battle casualties in the thousands and tens of thousands.

The Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns are measured in weeks, not the years of the Soviet-Afghan War or the Iraq-Iran War. The suffering of the civilian populations in America's wars is so much less than the suffering of the earlier conflicts that it is ludicrous to even attempt a comparison.

The overwhelming strength of the American military is not enough to secure the peace and bring battles and wars to decisive conclusions--they also had strategic brilliance.

It is inevitable that critics of the war will attempt to invent new arguments against Bush and his deputies. The antiwar criticism was always rooted in an anti-Bush animus that has reached pathological levels on the left, so new attacks will be forthcoming as soon as the inevitable difficulties of the post-war effort surface, or upon the occasion of the also-inevitable terrorist attacks on our troops stationed in Iraq. The same crowd that predicted disaster before and during the war will be doing so again.

And, sadly, because there is no scorecard in punditry, editors will run their pieces and producers will book their talking heads.

Hugh Hewitt is the host of The Hugh Hewitt Show, a nationally syndicated radio talkshow, and a contributing writer to The Daily Standard. His new book, In, But Not Of, has just been published by Thomas Nelson.