Hugh Hewitt

There was no such network of efforts and appreciations when Vietnam dragged on. But now there is.

The crucial difference? A new media that allows the supporters of the war to be more than a silent majority.

There is also a keen appreciation of the enemy, and the fact that this enemy isn't going to simply devastate the region if the United States cuts and runs, but will organize and follow the troops back to the United States.

This isn't a war of choice. It wasn't when the United States invaded Afghanistan or Iraq, and it isn't today.

It is a war that can be won, and the key remains the development within Iraq, Afghanistan, and other allied states of a military and intelligence service capable of preventing the establishment of terror cells and their production of plans and weapons with which to hurt their fellow citizens or to strike out at the West.

What about the polls?

Like the political polls, many Americans reject their findings and suspect that the samplings are contrived to produce a result, and that the MSM bias that so deeply disfigures coverage of the war also taints these findings.

But even if these were accurate results, they would not matter for those members of the public who believe that we have no choice but to engage the enemy in Iraq and elsewhere around the globe or prepare for another and even worse Sept. 11, 2001.

If even an excellent poll in August 2000 had suggested that 80 percent of Americans believed it would be wrong to invade Afghanistan in order to disrupt al Qaeda planning for terrorist attacks on the United States, it would have provided an accurate picture of American public opinion, but that public opinion would have been handicapped by a lack of knowledge about the enemy and its plans.

If even an excellent poll in August 2000 had suggested that 80 percent of Americans believed it would be wrong to invade Afghanistan in order to disrupt al Qaeda planning for terrorist attacks on the United States, it would have provided an accurate picture of American public opinion, but that public opinion would have been handicapped by a lack of knowledge about the enemy and its plans.

The enemy is badly wounded, but hardly crushed. Its nature precludes a V-E or V-J Day, and makes this a much more difficult war to sustain at home, but no less urgently necessary for the protection of the country.

A month of more than 100 American and many, many more Iraqis dead underscore the savagery of the enemy, but also the necessity of returning battle.

There is in Doris Kearns Goodwin's "A Team of Rivals," passage after passage about the extraordinary unpopularity of the Civil War in the long years of its terrible toll.

More than 600,000 Americans died in that epic conflict, and even President Lincoln whom we now revere was remorselessly hounded by his critics, and when he wasn't, Edwin Stanton was, or William Seward, or any member of his stalwart Cabinet.

Even hero Grant would come under assault when a bloody engagement went awry, and when the last merciless campaign proceeded from 1864 to 1865.

No American wants the war, and although many suffer under the delusion that it can simply be quit, a far greater number of serious people know the sober fact that the choice is between fighting with all of its terrible costs, or retreating and paying a much, much higher cost later.


Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Hugh Hewitt's new book is The War On The West.