Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Where Failure is an Option

I was leaving my local liquor market just now, opening my bag of M&M's when the headline of the San Francisco Chronicle: caught my eye:

Assault on U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia shows militants remain capable of attacks

Four of the "militants" were killed and a fifth was captured alive. Five foreign workers were killed in the attack, but no Americans. Undoubtedly killing Americans, any Americans, was the singular goal of the attack.

Earlier this morning, I read about an editor of Newsweek rewriting of history while comparing this episode to the mythical seizing of the U.S. embassy in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

Remember, the Tet offensive was a tremendous victory for America. The media turned it into defeat simply because, like the headline in today's Chronicle says, the enemy was "capable" of such an attack.

You wouldn't know it from the Chronicle but the Saudi Consulate attack was also a failure. This after all, was a suicide mission designed to kill Americans that resulted in no American casualties and one "militant" captured alive. They weren't even successful in the "suicide" part. The Chron headline could have just as easily read:

Militants Becoming Increasingly Desperate as Election Nears

What I realized is thanks to our media, success or failure are no longer the only factors in our enemies' missions. Showing our media that they are "capable" of attacking is almost as important: "...militants remain capable of attacks". Hell, I'm capable of attacking.

Victories in the War on Terror will not be on a grand scale like El Alamein or Midway. That doesn't mean this wasn't a victory - one of many thousands we won't celebrate.


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