Harvard economists’ study: Media’s anti-war rhetoric emboldens Iraqi insurgents

posted at 2:18 pm on March 12, 2008 by Allahpundit

Caveats aplenty — the data didn’t include Baghdad, there’s no way to tell if attacks increased because of the rhetoric or were just re-timed to coincide with it — but to no one’s surprise except possibly the left’s, “U.S. out of Iraq” does indeed create an incentive for jihadis to try to push the U.S. out of Iraq.

Are insurgents in Iraq emboldened by voices in the news media expressing dissent or calling for troop withdrawals from Iraq? The short answer, according to a pair of Harvard economists, is yes…

The paper “Is There an ‘Emboldenment’ Effect in Iraq? Evidence From the Insurgency in Iraq” concludes the following:

* In the short term, there is a small but measurable cost to open public debate in the form of higher attacks against Iraqi and American targets.

* In periods immediately after a spike in “antiresolve” statements in the American media, the level of insurgent attacks increases between 7 and 10 percent.

* Insurgent organizations are strategic actors, meaning that whatever their motivations, religious or ideological, they will respond to incentives and disincentives.

The actual study is behind a reg wall so I can’t tell if it addresses whether there’s some “optimal” level of war criticism beyond which attacks spike sharply or if it’s a steady upward slope starting from zero. I know which way the comments on this post are going to go, but keep this in mind: If the propriety of anti-war rhetoric turns on whether it makes the mission in the field harder, then arguably the same is true of Geert Wilders’s film. The Secretary General of NATO has said that explicitly, in fact, as has one of the U.S. military’s joint task forces in Afghanistan. If an economist can prove that criticism of Islam increases attacks (which shouldn’t be hard), you want to roll that back too?

Exit question one: Will the media report on this rather media-unfriendly finding? Exit question two: Does this create any incentive for the press to at least include more pro-war voices in its coverage? “No, the media isn’t an instrument of the military” vs. “Yeah, since they’re politically inclined to exclude pro-war voices as it is.” And exit question three: What’s the effect of less Iraq coverage? Does that reduce the number of attacks, which in turn reduces the coverage, which in turn reduces the attacks in a glorious virtuous circle, or is there no effect?

Update: The paper’s publicly available here. Look for the link near the bottom.

Update: Bill Ardolino, who’s embedded twice with the Marines in Fallujah, comments below:

A source of mine is an official who focuses on Sunni insurgency. He was meeting with a Sunni tribal leader and the guy said to him, “We are with you on your upcoming attack on Iran!” The American goes, “We aren’t necessarily going to attack Iran.” And the Sunni responds, “Of course you are, we read it in an article by Seymour Hersh!”

Sunnis I spoke said they were mistaken about thinking we were “after the oil” when they first fought us. Much of what they saw along those lines was in the Arab media, but they pay attention to Western media as well. And they give special credence to criticism of America by Americans. It’s a fact.


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So it took two Harvard economists to screw in the lightbulb, but I’m glad they took the trouble.

mymanpotsandpans on March 12, 2008 at 2:22 PM

..no…farking…duh…

29Victor on March 12, 2008 at 2:23 PM

As if Silda and Eliot weren’t already shining examples of a waste of a Harvard education; here comes another duh from the department of elitist liberals….

Branch Rickey on March 12, 2008 at 2:24 PM

The Democrat Party and their media mouthpieces have no problem with consigning millions of people to misery and selling out our military, if in exchange the get a few more absolutely worthless Democrats elected to office.

The Democrat Party voted to approve the war in 2002, in order to take the issue off of the table prior to the elections. Cynical ploy.

The moment troops landed in Afghanistan and met their first instance of resistance, Democrats started shrieking quagmire. Ditto for Iraq.

All along, denigrating and maligning our military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, have been part of the Democrat Party’s cynical, traitorous electoral strategy, recycled from Vietnam.

The Democrat Party is controlled by geriatric hippies and glue-sniffing juvenile delinquents, and this is the best idea the two moron factions could come up with.

But with the media’s heavy lifting, it’s working.

The Democrat Party greets every bomb that goes off in Baghdad with glee, while the media stifles any mention of success.

We hear more about the “victims” in Iraq (terrorists) than we do the Medal of Honor winners, the Silver Star winners, etc.

All Congressional Democrats deserve to be dragged out of the Capitol by their heels, heads bouncing down the steps and then mercilessly horsewhipped on the Capitol lawn, prior to being thrown screaming and bleeding into the Potomac.

NoDonkey on March 12, 2008 at 2:28 PM

Branch Rickey on March 12, 2008 at 2:24 PM

Good grief. The paper gives evidence to support a conservative belief and they still don’t get any credit?

Slublog on March 12, 2008 at 2:29 PM


“NoDonkey on March 12, 2008 at 2:28 PM”

Nothing more to say, you nailed it………..

Seven Percent Solution on March 12, 2008 at 2:30 PM

The Democrat Party is controlled by geriatric hippies and glue-sniffing juvenile delinquents NoDonkey on March 12, 2008 at 2:28 PM

The best definition ever!

Branch Rickey on March 12, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Media’s anti-war rhetoric emboldens Iraqi insurgents

The Dolchstosslegende:
German: Dagger stab legend, often translated into English as stab-in-the-back legend.

MB4 on March 12, 2008 at 2:31 PM

“… The short answer, according to a pair of Harvard economists, is yes …”

Yeah? I know a couple of baggage handlers who could’ve told ya that.

Tony737 on March 12, 2008 at 2:34 PM

media emboldens insurgents

Duh. We’ve been saying that for years.

jgapinoy on March 12, 2008 at 2:34 PM

Branch Rickey on March 12, 2008 at 2:24 PM

Good grief. The paper gives evidence to support a conservative belief and they still don’t get any credit?

Slublog on March 12, 2008 at 2:29 PM

Good grief; they needed to do a study to come to this conclusion? They have not learned anything about cause and effect and “made it” all the way to Harvard? They left out the factor in the equation that the MSM was cheering for the U.S.’s defeat. You can be “bamboozled” in thinking there were doing this report to “support a conservative” belief but I didn’t fall off a turnip truck yesterday.

Branch Rickey on March 12, 2008 at 2:37 PM

for years

…like, since Walter Crankcase convinced the world we didn’t belong in Vietnam, after which Congress cut off funding, after which the defeated Commies poured across the border & chased us out.

jgapinoy on March 12, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Coulda knocked me over with a feather.

Do these economists favor prosecuting said media for aiding and abetting?

misterpeasea on March 12, 2008 at 2:40 PM

And in another groundbreaking Harvard study, they found that the sun does indeed rise in the East.

Q#1: It’ll get a small amount of play.
Q#2: One would hope so, but there are those journalists (Gwynne Dyer, e.g.) who hope the US loses, just to teach us in the big bad west a lesson. It is unlike WWII when our news media actually wanted us to win.
Q#3: Less coverage is better than more negative (especially made up) coverage, but best would be stories about things going right as well as stories pointing out bad things. I don’t want journalists to be cheerleaders, but they should at least be honest.

rbj on March 12, 2008 at 2:40 PM

Branch Rickey on March 12, 2008 at 2:37 PM

They probably did the paper for two reasons: to meet a requirement publication and to get their name in the news by studying a hot topic.

My point is that regardless of why they did it, the fact that they’re intellectually honest enough to publish a paper that goes against the liberal status quo should be celebrated, not mocked.

Slublog on March 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM

Duh. When the crowds in the stands continuously scream out that their home team sucks, it generally makes the visiting team feel better and fight harder.

We didn’t lose the war in Vietnam. We lost it at home.

Rod on March 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM

wow who woulda thunk it

trailortrash on March 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM

“The best definition ever!”

Thanks – and that’s an original, too. Please use it as much as you want, though.

NoDonkey on March 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM

From the writers who spent 900 pages proving the Pope was Catholic…

Tzetzes on March 12, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Right on NoDonkey!!!!! Exactly the reason why it’ll be McCain being sworn in around January 20th. He’s going to wrap MoveOn.org around either Hillary or Barack’s head, using the General Betrayus ad, and candidate’s reactions to that kind of filth as a starting point. I read Michelle’s article over on National Review Online with all the crime being committed by the anti-war left against recruitment offices, and was shocked with how many incidents there have been with almost no MSM coverage. Glad Michelle brought all that up. The last seven years of leftist behavior is going to have some serious karmic repercussions in November……

adamsmith on March 12, 2008 at 2:42 PM

If the propriety of anti-war rhetoric turns on whether it makes the mission in the field harder, then arguably the same is true of Geert Wilders’s film. The Secretary General of NATO has said that explicitly, in fact, as has one of the U.S. military’s joint task forces in Afghanistan. If an economist can prove that criticism of Islam increases attacks (which shouldn’t be hard), you want to roll that back too?

Not sure that’s an apples to apples comparison, since we don’t know what Wilders’s film actually says, and much of the anti-war rhetoric here is not based on principle, but political agendas. While wilder certainly does have an agenda, ignoring the subject which is supposed to be his main theme just pushes it further under the carpet, to be dealt with later at higher cost.

a capella on March 12, 2008 at 2:44 PM

They probably did the paper for two reasons: to meet a requirement publication and to get their name in the news by studying a hot topic.

My point is that regardless of why they did it, the fact that they’re intellectually honest enough to publish a paper that goes against the liberal status quo should be celebrated, not mocked.

Which one was it to “meet a requirement publication” or “the fact that they’re are ‘intellectually honest’ enough…?” Like I said, go with it if you really want to but I did not fall off that turnip truck.

Branch Rickey on March 12, 2008 at 2:45 PM

A source of mine is an official who focuses on Sunni insurgency. He was meeting with a Sunni tribal leader and the guy said to him, “We are with you on your upcoming attack on Iran!” The American goes, “We aren’t necessarily going to attack Iran.” And the Sunni responds, “Of course you are, we read it in an article by Seymour Hersh!”

Sunnis I spoke said they were mistaken about thinking we were “after the oil” when they first fought us. Much of what they saw along those lines was in the Arab media, but they pay attention to Western media as well. And they give special credence to criticism of America by Americans. It’s a fact.

BillINDC on March 12, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Actions have consequences?

No freakin way!!!!

Wind Rider on March 12, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Just squelching dissent again.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on March 12, 2008 at 2:46 PM

I would have thought that HotAir and other such sites would be blocked at Harvard. You know, ‘hate speech’ and all that.

fluffy on March 12, 2008 at 2:48 PM

I am convinced I’m smarter than these Harvard types.

Geronimo on March 12, 2008 at 2:48 PM

NoDonkey on March 12, 2008 at 2:28 PM

Well done.

wise_man on March 12, 2008 at 2:50 PM

All along, denigrating and maligning our military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, have been part of the Democrat Party’s cynical, traitorous electoral strategy, recycled from Vietnam.

…like, since Walter Crankcase convinced the world we didn’t belong in Vietnam, after which Congress cut off funding, after which the defeated Commies poured across the border & chased us out.

We didn’t lose the war in Vietnam. We lost it at home.

Vietnam in Retrospect: Could We Have Won?

MB4 on March 12, 2008 at 2:51 PM

From the writers who spent 900 pages proving the Pope was Catholic…

Tzetzes on March 12, 2008 at 2:42 PM

I vote for that one!

Harvard’s nothing but a lot of talk and a Brahmin. But I’m glad they are on record saying, Hey, this emboldens the enemy; it wasn’t our guys, it was the left’s!

emailnuevo on March 12, 2008 at 2:54 PM

P.S. I’m surprised I didn’t see it here, but, General Franco is, indeed, still dead. So says Harvard study.

emailnuevo on March 12, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Wait a second…don’t these looney harvard professors know that the muslims never hated Americans before we went to iraq for their oil?

Muslims have always been a peace loving and tolerant people who have never wanted to kill non muslims just because the koran commands muslims to kill all non muslims.

Don’t they know that the muslims are our biggest allies against the evil GeorgeBushHitler?

Maybe these lunatic professors haven’t been reading the dailykos?

SaintOlaf on March 12, 2008 at 2:59 PM

“Maybe these lunatic professors haven’t been reading the dailykos?”

It’s always puzzled me how people stupid enough to believe the horsecrap published in that blog, actually have the ability to read and sometimes even write.

Just astonishing.

NoDonkey on March 12, 2008 at 3:05 PM

What’s the effect of less Iraq coverage? Does that reduce the number of attacks, which in turn reduces the coverage, which in turn reduces the attacks in a glorious virtuous circle, or is there no effect?

Coverage of Iraq has been on an overall downward trend since autumn 2003. Obviously, the number of attacks has fluctuated through that period. The effect of the declining coverage is that public opinion about conditions in Iraq tends to lag.

It is also possible that as public opinion has become more positive in a low-coverage environment, AQI has returned to more spectacular attacks for PR purposes, though I haven’t studied the question.

Karl on March 12, 2008 at 3:07 PM

How dare they apply facts, reason and common sense when US Citizens “FEELINGS” are at stake.

Sarc. Off/

PappaMac on March 12, 2008 at 3:11 PM

And it took them THIS long to figure it out?!

Ryan Gandy on March 12, 2008 at 3:16 PM

You must remember this
a diss is still a diss
the fundamental things apply
as Jihadis die

Tark on March 12, 2008 at 3:17 PM

In the American colonies, Harvard College was founded in 1636, three years after the Inquisition of Galileo, and instruction began about 1638. Some elements of physics were taught to first-year students and astronomy to third-year students. The early instruction at Harvard presented the ideas of Aristotelian and Scholastic physics, which attempted to determine the “why” of nature, and Ptolemaic astronomy, which held that the earth was the center of the universe. By today’s standards the textbooks
were quite unscientific. The textbooks were in Latin, and contained no mathematics, problems, experiments or experimental results, and few illustrations.

We have come a long way. Source: Rutgers.

fred5678 on March 12, 2008 at 3:25 PM

Thanks MB4. Very interesting read. Having lived through it, I know that it was a mismanaged mess from the start – at all levels.

But, given that the Tet offensive was the North’s hail-mary that broke our very weak and tired national will to fight on, (while seriously crippling the north’s forces) I can’t help but feel that if the North’s leaders weren’t encouraged by the massive negative press and nation-wide demonstrations against the war that:

1) The Tet offensive never would have occurred and
2) If it had and we had hit them hard after it instead of turning tail, it would have been over.

So yes, there was more to losing the Vietnam war than just the negative press at home. But as Mr. Record notes in his article, public opinion was the true domino in the downfall of Vietnam. The North’s leaders, throughout the war (and during the accords) played to that weakness to ultimately drive us out.

Rod on March 12, 2008 at 3:32 PM

Gosh they needed to study this? Good grief. Well hopefully the MSM will report it and maybe some additional libs will wake up.

dogsoldier on March 12, 2008 at 3:33 PM

To repeat:

Uh, DUH!

Mommynator on March 12, 2008 at 3:35 PM

Someone once said a true academic study only tells us the obvious.

right2bright on March 12, 2008 at 3:37 PM

Tark on March 12, 2008 at 3:17 PM

Yet we get a trifle weary
With Mr Al Gore’s theory
So we must get down to earth at times
Relax, relieve the tension…
As Jihadis die

aengus on March 12, 2008 at 3:38 PM

I guess critics should just STFU and do what they’re told. Meanwhile, the Pentagon scrubs plans to release data that, ahem, lends credence to the critics position. Too “politicall y sensitive.” Wonder why they’re doing that.

Grow Fins on March 12, 2008 at 3:44 PM

“the Pentagon scrubs plans to release data that, ahem, lends credence to the critics position.”

Which critics?:

The study does, however, show that Saddam Hussein did much to support terrorism in the Middle East and used terrorism “as a routine tool of state power.” Saddam’s government, for example, had a program for the “development, construction, certification and training for car bombs and suicide vests in 1999 and 2000.” The U.S. military is still dealing with the fall-out from this particular program.

Yeah, there was no reason to believe that he would carry this further. No reason at all.

Nor was there any reason to think that his regime should be ended, just because he was doing these things AND shooting at our pilots AND willfully violating the cease fire that TEMPORARILY ceased US military operations against Iraq in the First Gulf War.

Unbelievable. The utter vacuousness of the left will never cease to amaze me, in all of its bizarre manifestations.

NoDonkey on March 12, 2008 at 3:54 PM

Sunnis I spoke said they were mistaken about thinking we were “after the oil” when they first fought us

I wonder if it’s dawned on them yet that we’re so incredibly rich we don’t need to take the oil they’ve been fightig over, and that the reason we’re so rich is our liberal democratic capitalist system.

Oh well, at least a few will get it.

TallDave on March 12, 2008 at 3:55 PM

So easy even a Caveman could figure it out.

@ntif@n on March 12, 2008 at 4:09 PM

I am shocked!

For those of you with a Harvard degree, stand and marvel at money well spent. If liberals are so smart, how come they are so darn slow!

simon on March 12, 2008 at 4:18 PM

In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle…”surprise, surprise, surprise.”

At least for the left-tards the results of this study may be a surprise, but the rest of us have known the effects the anti-war media bias has had for quite some time now.

Of course the lefty anti-war, give appeasement a chance, Code Pukes will just write this study off as another right-wing conspiracy and continue to hamper our war efforts any way they can.

In doing so the lefts efforts (ironically and sadly) will only result (as the study points out) in emboldening our enemy to continue its murderous ways, thus causing more death, more destruction, more violence, and further extending the war, a war they (Code Pukes et al) say is immoral, illegal, unjust and this is why they are trying to “end the illegal war” yet their subversive acts only serve their infantile and warped ideology, our enemies, and results in more of our braves soldiers and Iraqi citizens being heinously murdered!

I truly hope they (left-tards, Code Pukes, et al) are happy with their accomplishments thus far….truly disgusting!

Liberty or Death on March 12, 2008 at 4:23 PM

the fifth column.

Chakra Hammer on March 12, 2008 at 4:28 PM

OK, so do I get it we now trust conclusions made by Harvard researchers? I’m totally cool with that. Just making sure everybody’s on the same page.

freevillage on March 12, 2008 at 4:29 PM

I guess critics should just STFU and do what they’re told.

Grow Fins on March 12, 2008 at 3:44 PM

After 5 dozen failed attempts by the most unpopular Congress in American history… yeah, would it be too much to ask?

Chuck Schick on March 12, 2008 at 4:32 PM

Gen. Giap, the head of N. Vietnams army said in his memoirs that the North was ready to sue for Peace on a number of occasions, but was constantly given hope by the American Anti War movment.

It was Linebacker II which brought them to the table, to save what was left of the economy of the North… but with the fallout Nixon’s impeachment we GAVE the North victory…

Its instructive to me that we hold individual citizens accountable for Speech… but won’t our own press, or politicians.

Romeo13 on March 12, 2008 at 4:37 PM

If the propriety of anti-war rhetoric turns on whether it makes the mission in the field harder, then arguably the same is true of Geert Wilders’s film.

I think I see a distinction between newsreaders being in the can for the enemy, on the one hand, and films and cartoons, on the other.

misterpeasea on March 12, 2008 at 4:50 PM

Gen. Giap, the head of N. Vietnams army said in his memoirs that the North was ready to sue for Peace on a number of occasions, but was constantly given hope by the American Anti War movment.

Would you be so kind as to provide the full list of topics on which you would trust the word of a North Vietnamese military commander?

freevillage on March 12, 2008 at 5:05 PM

‘I guess critics should just STFU and do what they’re told.’ Grow Fins on March 12, 2008 at 3:44 PM

Why is it that every time a news article points out what we’ve already been saying for years – that they only weak comeback in response by the left is “you want us to STFU and not criticize the war!” Strawman arguments?

It’s lame, it’s tiring and it’s falling on deaf ears. So do yourself a favor and ply this BS at places that will eagerly accept it. You know who they are.

wise_man on March 12, 2008 at 5:12 PM

If the propriety of anti-war rhetoric turns on whether it makes the mission in the field harder, then arguably the same is true of Geert Wilders’s film.

This would depend on the film, don’t you think? If it paints all Muslims as the enemy then yes, it could make our mission to defeat radical Islam much harder. However, if it shows the fallacy of extremists’ viewpoint while encouraging a more moderate interpretation of the Koran, then it could help.

Rod on March 12, 2008 at 5:15 PM

you gotta love identification

aso on March 12, 2008 at 5:17 PM

MB4

I read the article and found it interesting but unconvincing. For example, the author poses a question about why ARVN would have collapsed in the face of the final NVA push, even after many years of U.S. training. The answer is quite obvious. First, they were trained to fight in the style the U.S. found most effective, with absolute air supremacy and heavy use of tactical air. When Congress pulled the plug and reneged on the U.S. obligation to provide that air support, the strategic underpinnings of the South’s military force structure were removed. That they then lost should come as no surprise to anyone. Second, once Congress voted to end all support for South Vietnam and Ford acquiesed, ARVN knew that it was only a matter of time before they ran out of ammunition and supplies. Since the Soviets were clearly going to continue to supply the North, it was only a matter of time before the South was overrun. While small groups might fight on, and in Vietnam many did, the notion that an entire Army would hold together in those conditions is silly. “Let’s all fight together until we’re out of supplies and then let’s die.” That’s one hell of a rallying cry!

The counter-question that the author does not address is, if ARVN was doomed, how did they so convincingly defeat a major NVA invasion with only U.S. air support (which was promised in perpetuity) during the Easter offensive? What changed between then and the final 1975 invasion? I’m supposed to believe it had nothing to do with the complete, sudden loss of air support and the total abandonment by the U.S.? Give me a break.

jl on March 12, 2008 at 5:19 PM

Would you be so kind as to provide the full list of topics on which you would trust the word of a North Vietnamese military commander?

freevillage on March 12, 2008 at 5:05 PM

Interesting. Is he a liar and not to be trusted because he’s North Vietnamese? Or is he a liar because you don’t think the North Vietnamese concerned themseves with American public opinion during the Vietnam war?

Just curious.

Rod on March 12, 2008 at 5:25 PM

Wonder what that study cost. I could have come to the same conclusion for free.

sheesh on March 12, 2008 at 5:35 PM

…then arguably the same is true of Geert Wilders’s film.

I disagree. I think there’s a vast difference between some guy making a 15-minute anti-Islam film in his basement and someone like Harry Reid, who holds the purse strings to an ongoing massive military action.

Islamists will always be feuding with those who are not Muslims, and many who are. If it isn’t the film, it will be how homosexuals are allowed to walk around Amsterdam unmolested.

There are only two ways to win a war: Eliminate your enemy’s ability to fight or his will to fight. With all the munitions lying around on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, I doubt we’ll ever truly be able to affect the terrorists’ ability to fight. That leaves the will and as long as there are powerful defeatists like Reid and Pelosi running their yaps in the press, the will goes on (There is a third way: Eliminate your enemy, but we don’t have the will for that).

Kafir on March 12, 2008 at 5:50 PM

Following the links a bit, it appears only the woman is an economist; the man is an international studies type. This is probably one of their first post-Ph.D. studies, since they both received Ph.D.s in 2006 and are now busily working to establish a record that will lead to tenure. They likely hope for no “liberal blowback” and a bit of publicity, but they probably picked the topic since it was one of interest to them and one they thought would be of interest to others. They got the results they got, and thought it’d be better to publish them than bury them.

(As a side note, my first research position was in a social science, and my empirical results contradicted my supervisor’s already-published theories. Needless to say, they never saw the light of day and he later attempted to sabotage — through neglect or malice — my graduate school applications to an area outside of social science. Ironically, his sabotage assured that I would study at the very school he taught in, as the other school I was most interested in rejected me. I hope for the sake of the authors of the study that they have no such opponent on their tenure committee.)

Although this seems like common sense, having an empirical study from a respected, non-Bush-aligned place (and authors) helps to establish this. Now anti-war press can’t claim that their actions have no just reactions. They either have to find fault in the study (doubtful) or appeal to the First Amendment right mandating an anti-war response to any war (even though the press hasn’t done this is many past wars, e.g., WWII).

calbear on March 12, 2008 at 6:07 PM

” If the propriety of anti-war rhetoric turns on whether it makes the mission in the field harder, then arguably the same is true of Geert Wilders’s film.”

Increasing attacks isn’t the only thing at issue here though. The Lefty MSM increases attacks, while also misleading the West and weakening our resolve. Wilders etc. may increase attacks, but do they increase our understanding of the situation — and our will to win — at the same time? We’d have to find out, before lumping it all in together.

Nevicata on March 12, 2008 at 6:20 PM

Harvard’s nothing but a lot of talk and a Brahmin. But I’m glad they are on record saying, Hey, this emboldens the enemy; it wasn’t our guys, it was the left’s!

emailnuevo on March 12, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Well, not entirely. My soon-to-be wife goes there.

Tzetzes on March 12, 2008 at 6:44 PM

Tokyo Rose, Lord Ha Ha Hahahahaha, duh.

Johan Klaus on March 12, 2008 at 6:49 PM

A Harvard study?? As in “partially paid for by the taxpayers of this nation?”

Krykee doodle. Didn’t this brilliant conclusion roll around the entire flippin blogosphere for the last two years??!

locomotivebreath1901 on March 12, 2008 at 7:07 PM

These are Harvard professors. Could they have some hidden agenda?

snaggletoothie on March 12, 2008 at 7:24 PM

First, they were trained to fight in the style the U.S. found most effective, with absolute air supremacy and heavy use of tactical air.

Most American “air support” in RVN for American infantry troops was from field artillery, not planes. The ARVN had field artillery, although thanks to congress, they were not exactly swimming in artillery rounds.

once Congress voted to end all support for South Vietnam and Ford acquiesed, ARVN knew that it was only a matter of time before they ran out of ammunition and supplies.

I’m supposed to believe it had nothing to do with the complete, sudden loss of air support and the total abandonment by the U.S.? Give me a break.

jl on March 12, 2008 at 5:19 PM

I don’t think that congress should have cut the ARVN off either, but would some continuing U.S. support have made enough difference in the long run as opposed to just dragging it out? The article, which is out of the U.S. Army War College, says it would not have. There is no way on God’s green earth that we would still be there anything like until now.

“Congress was in part the prisoner of events. The leaders of the United States in the crucial years of the early and mid-1960s failed to come up with a strategy that would produce victory. Instead, they simply poured in more and more US troops and material into South Vietnam. . . . They misled the public by insisting we were winning the war and thereby prepared the war for defeatism and demagoguery later on. The American people could not be expected to continue indefinitely to support a war in which they were told victory was around the corner, but which required greater and greater effort without any obvious signs of improvement.”
- Richard M. Nixon

MB4 on March 12, 2008 at 7:35 PM

severed fingers of U.S hostages in Iraq

corona on March 12, 2008 at 7:51 PM

They misled the public by insisting we were winning the war and thereby prepared the war for defeatism

Actually, they didn’t so much as deliberately mislead the nation as if they knew otherwise. They truly believed they were winning the war.

At that time, and still today but at a much lesser extent, “winning” was based upon body count. It was thought that as long as we kept killing vast numbers of them we would win by attrition. Kill more of them than they kill of us, we “win”. Every day the TV and papers would trumpet the body count. We “won” nearly every battle by multiple counts – sometimes 100 to 1. (In then end, I think it averaged out to about 3 to 1.)

It took nearly three years of fighting until they conceded that they were wrong to gauge the success of the war upon how many bodies were chalked up. By then, it was to late.

Rod on March 12, 2008 at 8:43 PM

File this one under “Gee, ya THINK?”

ZK on March 12, 2008 at 9:22 PM

“All Congressional Democrats deserve to be dragged out of the Capitol by their heels, heads bouncing down the steps and then mercilessly horsewhipped on the Capitol lawn, prior to being thrown screaming and bleeding into the Potomac.” — NoDonkey on March 12, 2008 at 2:28 PM

Don’t forget the Anti-war pundits like Blitzer, Cafferty and OLBY

Travis1 on March 12, 2008 at 10:18 PM

“… The short answer, according to a pair of Harvard economists, is yes …”

Yeah? I know a couple of baggage handlers who could’ve told ya that.

Yeah, but the baggage handlers don’t have PhDs and can’t do meta-analysis worth the gum stuck to their shoes, so what they know doesn’t count.

If you’d gone to Liberal Arts College, you’d know these things.

njcommuter on March 12, 2008 at 10:41 PM

I’m surprised at the people here attacking the authors of the study.

Is it common sense that the anti-war coverage by the MSM emboldens our enemies? Sure.

But the Left has denied this up and down, and so as such we should welcome any honest study of the issue.

I’ve argued for years that the Islamists listen to our media and draw conclusions from it, and it will be harder for the Left to deny it now.

18-1 on March 12, 2008 at 11:28 PM

If an economist can prove that criticism of Islam increases attacks (which shouldn’t be hard), you want to roll that back too?

No.

Apples and Oranges. Both are fruits, but they’re different.

The ‘negative comment’ that factually emboldens terrorists not only reflects poorly on the behavior of both parties (the terrorist and the person doing the emboldening), it – at some level – constitutes a partnership (if not a treasonous one) of the parties with the same goal – the defeat of the US/Bush.

The ‘criticism of Islam’ reflect poorly only on the person(s) who react violently to such criticism, not the person criticizing. Violent behavior on the part of someone being criticized does not constitute a valid reason to stop the criticism. If a study showed that saying child molestation was bad was offensive to child molesters and may cause them to become more active, would we suggest that we stop calling child molestation bad? Or would we continue to say it, and grow more resolute in stamping it out?

Probably not ideal framing of the concepts, sorry, but it just seems to me that there’s not a valid ‘equivalence’ between the two.

Midas on March 13, 2008 at 9:10 AM

I’ve argued for years that the Islamists listen to our media and draw conclusions from it, and it will be harder for the Left to deny it now.
18-1 on March 12, 2008 at 11:28 PM

I don’t agree, the left-tards are way too invested in their infantile and warped ideology to accept this study.

They will do what they always do in these situations and just label the study as being another vast right-wing conspiracy to fool the people in order for Bushitler/Darth Cheney to continue their “filthy, illegal, immoral war for oil” meme and won’t give a damn that their divisive and subversive acts are helping the enemy, prolonging the war, and thereby causing more innocent Iraqi’s and American service men and women to die.

As I said before, I hope the left-tards are proud of themselves…

Liberty or Death on March 13, 2008 at 11:54 AM

US News and World Report says that this paper is “published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.” In reality, the paper is a “working paper,” which, according to the NBER website, has “not undergone the review accorded official NBER publications.” This paper has not undergone any review by anyone, and the main author, Iyengar, can publish her grocery list here if she chooses.

So why does Iynegar, an economist, do this study anyway? Why is it published in an economics website? All her other work has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of this paper. The answer can be found with the co-author, Jonathen Monten:

belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/experts/1050/jonathan_monten.html

His background obviously relates to the subject of this paper, and he is the true author. So why didn’t he just publish it? He probably tried to, and it didn’t pass the peer review. So what does he do? He gives it to his economist friend at Harvard, who publishes it as a “working paper” which doesn’t need any peer review, and it winds up in US News and World Report, and everyone is impressed by the distinguished Harvard study. Very funny.

dave742 on March 13, 2008 at 11:56 AM

MB4

I agree with the notion that the U.S. public grew tired of the war, although I don’t believe that the proportion who supported a precipitous withdrawal and/or abandonment of South Vietnam was as high as many would have you believe today. I also agree with the assertion that many in the U.S. believe that they had been lied to by the government, although we were being at least equally lied to by the media and the war’s opponents.

The issue, as I understood it, was whether or not the South might have prevailed and survived to today. The evidence of the North’s defeated Easter offensive tells me that the South could have survived with U.S. materiel and air support. I further believe that, had those who advocated the defeat of a U.S. ally in South Vietnam been effectively confronted with the likely outcomes of that policy, the level of support for South Vietnam that would have ensured its survival could have been maintained. That is why so much antiwar effort went into denying the liklihood of a bloodbath (and the fact of the bloodbath once it began) and denigrating the domino theory. President Ford bears some of the responsibility for the failure to confront the anti-war mythology, but Watergate tied his hands and effectively surrendered the field to the defeatists.

The article seems to take as given that the NVA and their Soviet supporters could have kept up the pace of their offensive war for longer than the U.S. and the South could have maintained a defense. Can we really believe, however, that the Soviets would have never stopped funding failed invasions? The North invaded in 1975 because they believed that the U.S. would not support the South. They were as much as invited to take over. And that’s why the South fell.

jl on March 13, 2008 at 3:09 PM