In military terms, “force protection” is what it sounds like: Equipping the military so that it can defend itself in the midst of battle. The phrase tends to conjure up debates about armor, tactics and ammunition, but in a war of ideas like the one we’re fighting now force protection is one of those things that starts at home.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighed in on the importance of force protection on ABC’s This Week yesterday. Suffice it to say that I do not think she actually knows what the phrase “force protection” means.
Pelosi favors the Armenian genocide resolution, which in the current context may cost us the vital Incirlik air base in Turkey and cut off a vital supply line into Iraq. Pelosi brings up Abu Ghraib on her own, in full knowledge of the fact that what happened there was isolated and doesn’t happen at Gitmo (which has been cited as a model prison), and then says that we should only deal with Iranian meddling in Iraq in Iraq and not make any attempt to cut off the Iranian part of the war at its source.
Summed up: Let’s protect our military by passing resolutions that alienate allies and may cost us their vital logistical support, let’s accuse our troops of systemically engaging in activities like Abu Ghraib, and let’s keep allowing the Iranians to stage attacks against our troops from Iranian soil and with Iranian equipment, with impunity. Let’s protect the troops by making the war on the ground and the war of ideas all but impossible to win.
That’s how Speaker Pelosi wants to protect the troops.
Update: Jed Babbin adds some detail to the possible consequences of passing the Armenia resolution.
According to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey is the transshipment point for about 70% of all air cargo (including 33% of the fuel) going to supply US forces in Iraq. Included are about 95% of the new “MRAP” — mine-resistant, ambush-protected — vehicles designed to save the lives of American troops. Turkey wasn’t always this helpful. In 2003, the Turks refused permission for the 4th Infantry Division to enter Iraq through Turkey.
Turkey’s Erdogan government has indicated that if the House of Representatives takes action on a non-binding resolution being pushed by Speaker Pelosi, Turkey might revoke our ability to use Incirlik as a waypoint for Iraq supplies.
Read the rest. There’s more than a passing possibility that the Armenia resolution ends up a) cutting off our use of Incirlik and b) getting the Turkish military more directly involved in Iraq, in a bad way. Taken together, what Pelosi and the Democrats are threatening to do may cut off our supply lines and bring a new player into the war in a way that might lead to a direct US-Turkey military confrontation, and at a time when conditions across Iraq are vastly improving. The non-binding resolution about a massive crime of the past could have some very real and very disastrous consequences in the here and now.