Military Morale and the Presidency. Our troops need to know that the Commander-in-Chief is behind them in war. And we are in a war, whoever wins the election.
It should be obvious to everyone that the military forces fighting in Iraq believe that what they are doing, the sacrifices they are making, the years they are giving is worth the cost. Our military has been an all volunteer military for thirty-five years and many of the soldiers fighting in Iraq have signed up for second and third tours.
Despite all the attempts by the Left to present us with a picture of unhappy American soldiers, as we undoubtedly had in the Vietnam War, the morale of the American military volunteers fighting against an evil that attacked us without warning and threatens to destroy us every day remains high. Efforts to find demoralized troops have led to fraudulent reporting, as The New Republic attempted recently.
It should also be obvious to everyone that no matter who takes office as president in January 2009, that president will have to leave some forces in Iraq and some forces in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. We did not begin this war, but we must insure that the war is not lost by us.
Does it matter who that president is? It matters a great deal. If that president is from a political party whose leaders have compared our soldiers to Nazis, have declared the war lost, have publicly worried about the effect of our military victories, have met with the leaders of our enemies, have accused our soldiers of murdering and terrorizing Iraqi civilians, then it matters a great deal.
Any student of military history will tell you that the value of morale to numbers of troops is ten to one. This is why Israel, hopelessly outnumbered, is not about to be defeated in any conventional war. The morale of its troops is incomparably higher than that of its enemies.
Although technology can give our troops many advantages in fighting halfway around the world, technology alone – as we learned in Vietnam – cannot create high morale. When a Democrat president is our commander-in-chief then our troops feel that they have no strategic goal, that they are political pawns (both domestically and internationally) for whoever happens to be commander-in-chief.
They also know that they immediately drop in the priorities of the nation. Clinton and Carter both placed the military near the bottom of the budget in favor of expensive, useless, but politically attractive social welfare programs.
The troops know that they are considered to be part of a hostile voting bloc (recall the 2000 election, when Gore wanted the military ballots thrown out but the ballots of convicted felons counted?) They will sense almost immediately that policies to make them safe will be compromised to placate the Leftist groups who want to have openly gay military personnel and to push women into combat roles before they are ready.
The consequences for America would be profound. It is the superb performance of our military, the product of its very high morale, which has allowed us to fight a war with so few casualties and with no real battlefield defeats. Would a Democrat president be able to maintain morale as high as a Republican? Not from looking at any of the Democrat nominees and not by comparing the comments of leading Democrats and leading Republicans. Morale would almost immediately drop.
So would a Democrat president pull our troops out of Afghanistan? Would a Democrat president pull our troops out of Iraq? If she or he did so, then the political repercussions would be dramatic. America would have lost a war that it had been winning. The price of oil would skyrocket. The tensions in the Middle East would become almost impossible to contain.
What then, in truth, would a Democrat president do? Almost certainly, as morale dropped, she would send in more troops to prevent our forced retreat from Afghanistan or a genocidal civil war in Iraq. The presence of more American troops fighting less effectively (because of lower morale) would produce higher American casualties and more deaths among the Iraqi and Afghan peoples. Numbers cannot replace morale.
The rules of engagement would be modified to hamstring our troops, just as they were by President Johnson in Vietnam. The morale of our troops, feeling the effects of fighting with one hand behind their backs and led by leaders who had undermined victory while we were winning, could indeed produce a quagmire, but a quagmire from which there was no practical escape: America cannot permit a nuclear armed Iran to dominate the Persian Gulf through proxies in Syria and Iraq.
If you want to save American lives, if you want to save Iraqi and Afghan lives, then you must support those candidates and parties who have the confidence and trust of our troops. If not, then by mid-2008 lots of us will have bumper stickers “Hillary lied. People died.” And we will be right.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a regular contributor to WebCommentary, Conservative Truth, American Daily, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, NewsByUs and MenŐs News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.