Jonah Goldberg

I woke up this morning to hear "Today" host Katie Couric explain to her millions of viewers that Pentagon officials had terribly "miscalculated" in their plan to topple Saddam.

Recall that it was Couric who once declared of a news story, "When I got this assignment, I thought, `Whoa, slow news day!' But the importance of the sports bra to American women can't be overemphasized."

Now, I haven't completely nailed this down yet, but my sources at the Pentagon tell me that if you've ever said, "the importance of the sports bra to American women can't be overemphasized," you are disqualified from ever pronouncing on military policy.

To be fair, Couric is hardly alone. Ever since the first "bad day" for America on Sunday, March 23, the media has been shocked that the enemy actually fired back.

The 300-mile coalition advance to the outskirts of Baghdad in not even five days of ground war was arguably the fastest in military history. Certainly, it was much faster than the advance in the first Gulf War, which had more than a month of aerial bombardment to pave the way.

In that time, coalition forces secured all of Iraq's southern oil fields. The 500 oil well fires many feared were contained to less than a dozen. The massive oil spill into the Gulf, planned by Saddam, was foiled. The missile launchers in Western Iraq, which could have ignited a disastrous war with Israel, were taken out of commission.

Strategically vital cities, including Umm Qasr and Basra were contained or captured. Missile launches into Kuwait were thwarted by Patriot missile batteries with stunning precision. Numerous bridges and roads were secured.

There is every reason to believe that we are killing at least 100 enemy soldiers for one American life lost. Thousands of precision-guided bombs were sent into Baghdad -attacks so accurate that even the Iraqis set civilian casualties at around 200. And we did all of this without the strategic benefit of a northern front (thanks a lot, Turkey), which Pentagon planners had counted on in their original plans.

Now imagine if Gen. Tommy Franks had said on Friday that we were going to accomplish all of these things by Tuesday.

And yet, the press seems fixated by American casualties and POWs. Don't get me wrong. Every American life is precious. But can we at least acknowledge that 39 deaths (as of this writing) among a force of 250,000 ,while attacking an entrenched and brutal enemy in a police state that has had at least a year to prepare and while gaining 300 miles in the process is pretty amazing? I mean, am I missing something?


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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