Victor Davis Hanson has a great article on how this war is so different from previous American Missions. I highly recommend the entire article at

The Burdens of General Petraeus
No simple mission.
By Victor Davis Hanson

a few excerpts

But so far, no recent military has succeeded in defeating a radical Muslim terrorist insurgency, while subject to a constitutional government and an absolutely free media. In this regard, the United States — given its position as the world’s only superpower and recognized as the most sensitive of all countries to easy criticism — is especially at a military disadvantage.

There is yet a third anomaly: We are presently fighting two simultaneous wars under a conservative Republican administration. And that too is fairly rare in the last 100 years, and far more challenging. Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton all at times proved bellicose, bypassed Congress if needed be, and (with the exception of LBJ) largely got a pass from the Left. World War I, Korea, and Vietnam were all controversial in their time. Apparently, the intelligentsia and media felt that no liberal Democrat could possibly have preferred war, and had only fought when forced to — despite the use of Democratic preemption in a variety of instances.

In contrast, it is hard to recall of any war in our history — the Vietnam hysteria aside — that a sitting Senate majority leader declared it lost in the middle of hostilities. We have not previously witnessed senior opposition senators alleging that their own American servicemen were analogous to Nazis, Stalinists, Cambodian mass murders, Saddam’s Baathist killers, or engaging in habitual terrorizing and killing of innocent civilians.

The result is that U.S. military officials recognize that any possible strike on the Syria border would be broadcast worldwide as carpet bombing of a wedding party or tribal reunion, while the enemy’s mass beheadings and torture will often go unreported.

My favorite example this week was a syndicated photo of a poor elderly Iraqi woman holding up two bullets with the caption: “An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets which she says hit her house following an early coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City.(AFP/Wissam al-Okaili)”. The only problem was all that was the bullets shown were unfired and still in their casings!

read the rest Hanson’s article