I really shouldn’t call myself a “war blogger” because I don’t write much about the war. I don’t like to write extensively about things I don’t know about, and I just don’t have access to anything except publicly available information on the war in Iraq. It bothers the hell out of me to see a story one day, then see another two or three contrasting versions of it, or else find out that the story everyone thought to be true has turned out to be a fabrication, or else greatly exaggerated. For example, I am still sore about the notorious “museum looting scandal” which turned out to be nothing. Yet I was outraged by what I thought was the destruction of irreplaceable artifacts, and I argued that this showed a lack of preparation, etc. Then I saw I’d been had.
The “wedding attack” is another, more recent one. I read the first reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer, but I was too cynical to comment. Then I saw the story change, and change some more. I suppose one can link to these stories and comment on them, and while I think people should do that, I just get this sinking feeling that it’s a waste of time to expend energy on something that might not be what it seems to be. So, notwithstanding my support for the war, I don’t want to shoot off my mouth in the dark.
Bill Whittle’s “Strength” essay was a notable exception, because it doesn’t require reliance on the latest breakdown of the latest version of the battle with Moktada al Sadr’s Mahdi Militia or the accuracy of the latest photos purporting to come from abu Ghraib.
Similarly, I was intrigued by Cathy Seipp’s reference to Dieppe:

a bloody but necessary dress rehearsal to D-Day that established the futility of invading a fortified European port.

There isn’t much argument now that Dieppe was a “disaster” or even (to borrow from Whittle), a “catastrophe.”
Here’s the (hardly pro-war) BBC on Dieppe:

The Dieppe Raid was planned by British Combined Operations HQ and GHQ Home Forces. The Canadians were keen to be involved and the 2nd Canadian Division under Major General JH Roberts was nominated to take part. Just under 5,000 Canadians were joined by 1,075 British and they landed at Dieppe on 19 August 1942.
The force left from five different British ports divided into 13 groups. The men had support from a naval force of 237 warships, and eight destroyers opened fire as the troops were landing. A combined Allied air force prepared for a battle with the Luftwaffe.
The attack was launched at dawn and covered a ten-mile front taking in the towns and villages of Varengeville, Pourville, Puys and Berneval. A small German convoy had already exchanged fire with part of the landing force, blowing their cover so the essential element of surprise was gone. Some of the force was landed late or in the wrong place, both fatal mistakes. They immediately came under attack from German troops led by General Kurt Zeitzler. Allied air reconnaissance had failed to locate gun positions hidden in the cliffs surrounding the port and it was these that caused such devastation.
The infantry landed as planned but they had poor support and the German defenders were quick to recover. The tanks that got ashore were caught in roadblocks. Roberts ordered two of his reserve units ashore; Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal were pinned down and the Royal Marie ‘A’ Commando were fortunate to have a commanding officer who turned back some of the landing craft to avoid fatalities.
Within a few hours, 3,367 Canadian men were either killed, wounded or captured. Of the British, 275 died. One destroyer and 33 landing craft were lost, with 550 seamen killed. The air battle was no more successful: 106 aircraft went down. Only one commando (No 4) led by Lord Lovat had success; the Hess Battery on the right flank was destroyed and the commando evacuated to sea with few casualties. Captain Porteous (RA) won the Victoria Cross as a result.
The raid left the British administration red-faced. It was admitted that an air bombardment prior to landing would in future be ordered. A need for improved amphibious capabilities was also recognised. Allied commanders claimed that valuable military information was gained from the Dieppe Raid and Admiral Lord Mountbatten commented that ‘for every soldier who died at Dieppe, ten were saved on D-Day’. No written record remains of the Chiefs of Staff approving the raid and it is possible that Mountbatten proceeded without authorisation. There was no denying that the raid was an expensive fiasco at an important juncture in the war.

It doesn’t take much imagination to wonder how a similar raid would be evaluated today. But that’s war. War, if it is to be conducted in a serious manner, really can’t be held hostage to election-year strategizing.
The war in Iraq strikes me as having two very different components: one is to fight radical Islamists who want to kill me and every other American, and the other (apparently), is to introduce democracy to a place which has not had it in recent memory, and if the radical Islamists have their way, will never obtain it. Iraq is further complicated by the fact that the place seethes with internal strife between Kurds, Shiites, and Sunni Muslims — many of whom would love to slaughter each other in the hope of gaining power. Under Saddam Hussein, there was a ghastly “balance of power” which kept everyone in a state of terror, thus holding back any hope of genuine self determination by any of these Balkanized groups. Perhaps unwittingly, the United States military, whether are loved or not, serves as a stronger force right now than any of these individual groups. The war against terrorism aside, when the U.S. leaves Iraq (which will happen, barring a long-term occupation), I fear it will be as natural for the Iraqis to fight among themselves for power as it was for Muslims and Hindus in India and for Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and Herzegovinians in Yugoslavia. Lord Mountbatten, despite his considerable diplomatic skills, proved unable to prevent the breakup of India into India and Pakistan, because with the British leaving, their stabilizing force no longer stood in the way of certain genocide.
It was the same thing when Tito died, and that is because power abhors a vacuum. Is the U.N. up to it? I doubt it. Success in Iraq this becomes a question of how success is defined. Removing Saddam Hussein was a good thing, but that does not mean that what follows will be wonderful. What I can see plainly is that al Qaida is all over Iraq, and al Qaida is the number one enemy in this war.
A stable Iraq, while desirable, is not as important as the primary goal.
I know it’s cruel, but that’s war.
If people don’t like it, they might ask who started it.
Those who think Bush started it are in my opinion very wrong. This war is a lot bigger than Bush, and it started years before Bush was in office. It escalated just months after he took office.
The difference is, we are now fighting back, and we weren’t before. Arguing over tactics is one thing, but to argue that we shouldn’t be in this war strikes me as even less logical than it would have been to argue — after Dieppe — that we shouldn’t have been in World War II.
The World War II analogy, of course, really fails where it comes to war coverage in the media today, because the media had to toe the line and support the war effort.
Here’s an example:

The avowed press policy of Admiral E. J. King, Chief of Naval Operations, was “Don’t tell them anything until the war is over, then tell them who won.” He was not, I think, being facetious. However, journalists were put in uniform, with the equivalent rank of major. The Army and Navy provided support. There was pretty heavy censorship. Most didn’t complain.

Clearly unworkable today. But so is extensive war blogging, for me.
I’ll say this: I am biased against the enemies who attacked us on September 11, who before that were behind the operation in Somalia, the 1993 World Trade Center terrorist bombing, the Khobar Towers terrorist bombing, the African Embassies terrorist bombings, and the U.S.S. Cole terrorist bombing.
And who (though some still doubt it) have repeatedly declared war on the United States and want to kill all Americans.
UPDATE: In a thought-provoking piece, Wretchard from the Belmont Club highlights the interrelationship between media and war:

There is now no real distinction between winning the “media war” and cleaning out a sniper’s nest in Ramadi; between Abu Ghraib the prison and Abu Ghraib the media event. (Via Glenn Reynolds.)

The problem with “winning the media war” is that it reminds me of litigation, which I hated. The other side throws meaningless shit at you in the hope of wearing you down, and you throw meaningless shit right back at them. Truth is largely irrelevant. If you like to look for and write about truth, but you support only one side of the war, you therefore tend to have a conflict in your writing.
Take a for-instance. The media cries that U.S. troops detained a group of wives of enemy combatants, and raped them. If I am on the side of the troops, then I will suspect a media lie, and look to undermine it. The media, being against the war, will do everything they can to stand by their atrocity story. Truth becomes largely secondary. And considering that the “facts” in these cases usually come from a varieity of conflicting sources, the “truth” may never be known.
Rather tough for those who look for truth. If the truth is not known, and will never be known, then the only truth becomes whatever helps win the war.
And the bottom line is, I just want the U.S. to win this damned thing. Considering my stated bias, a good argument can be made for just ignoring all debate.