Monday, September 08, 2003

And so, once again, I am forced to do battle with the necro-Socialists over at the Forward who, like all necro-Socialists, have never studied history, never taken an economics class, and still think its 1933.

Even the most determinedly partisan critics of the Bush administration have been taken aback lately — dumbfounded is more like it — by the spectacular unraveling of the administration's Iraq strategy. For all the doubts about the wisdom of the president's plans, few of us thought they would collapse this utterly or this fast. Now that it's happened, hardly anyone knows what to say.

OK, number one, the president's Iraq strategy is not "unraveling". The same thing is going on here as went on in Afghanistan, it took about two years to achieve anything resembling quiet over there and the process is still ongoing. The difference - the only difference - in Iraq is the level of media attention being accorded to the proceedings and the fact that a great many political futures (Mssrs. Chirac and Schroeder's to name just two) are highly invested in our failure. It takes a long time to get a country back together after a long spell of totalitarian dictatorship, economic meltdown, and war. The editors are laying it on as thick as they can here, but their arrogant assertion that we simply take their word for it that the Administration's strategy is a failure doesn't make it so. By the way, these folks know exactly what to say on this issue, they are about to waste seven paragraphs doing it.

Sure, there were naysayers warning all along that the president's war plans were inadequately thought through. There were European leaders insisting that the rationales for war — chiefly Saddam Hussein's weapons programs and links to terrorism — were not sufficiently proven. There were pundits who warned that going in without United Nations backing would weaken the war's legitimacy in international eyes, experts who fretted that Iraqis would not necessarily rally to America as a liberator, scholars who predicted that an invasion might inflame rather than dampen worldwide Islamic rage against America. There were military strategists who questioned the timing and size of the American-led force. At the extremes, there were Bush-bashers who believed the entire enterprise was beyond the ken of a president they still considered a bumpkin.

Everyone of whom, every one, was wrong. No one claimed, not even the French, that Saddam didn't have WMDs and no one thinks that he never had them, which seems to be what the Forward is asserting here. There are several thousand dead Kurds who can attest otherwise. The UN was never going to do anything about Saddam, which was exactly what he was counting on and why we went in without their (utterly worthless) approval. How Saddam would have been gotten rid of (an accomplishment the Forward doesn't deign to mention) without unilateral action by the US is a question the editors seem terrified to raise, for the very good reason that they don't have an answer to it. As for inflaming Islamic rage, these people want to annihilate us, they are not going to get more enraged then they already are. To take the position that if we just don't piss them off, the Islamic radicals will leave us alone is cowardly, naive, and, above all, stupid. I don't recall offhand any "military strategists" that openly attacked the president's plans, so until the Forward starts naming and quoting I'm going to treat that assertion as rhetorical balderdash. By the way, I love the way the editors try to legitimize their hysterical screeching by attacking the "Bush-bashers" at the "extremes". These wouldn't be your fellow Socialists, would they fellas?

Now that the American invasion has turned out to be a clueless blunder into a bottomless quagmire, there's a natural temptation for critics to gloat. Bush sold himself to Americans after September 11 as the tough cop who would chase down the terrorists wherever they were hiding and restore the nation's security and honor. It turns out his threats were not just empty but dangerous. Taking on Saddam didn't intimidate terrorists everywhere but rather inflamed them, emboldened them and brought them pouring into Iraq.

Where we can kill them quicker and more efficiently. Congratulations, boys, you got to paragraph 4 before you had to resort to "quagmire". You might want to wait a year or two and see how things are before asserting that we're stuck in Iraq for all time. By the way, how does eliminating the Taliban, imprisoning hundreds of Osama Bin Laden's men, drying up his funds, capturing or killing all his top echelon, destroying Saddam Hussein's genocidal regime and sidelining Yasser Arafat (hopefully for good) amount to "empty threats" in the war on terror? Oh, that's right, nothing Bush accomplishes exists until the Socialist Workers Party says so. Sorry, my bad, I forgot how totalitarian ideologies percieve reality.

Now the terrorists are stronger than ever, and we're stretched across the Middle East like sitting ducks. For those who still can't think of Bush without picturing hanging chads and butterfly ballots, there's a grim satisfaction in the president's quandary.

But, of course, we don't feel that way, heavens no. By the way, how do you spell "defeatist" in Yiddish?

If Iraq is broken, we're the ones who broke it. Now it's up to us to fix it.

There are wrong ways to do that, such as continuing the arrogant, unilateralist path we've followed up to now. And there are right ways to do it, such as bringing in the U.N. to share power and getting serious about rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure. We need to understand the elusive nature of terrorism and begin rebuilding the alliances that can isolate the terrorists and dry up their support bases. We need to accept the limits of power and the power of limits.

Sick, just plain sick. What is wrong with you people? Can't you accept that America is not responsible for everything that's wrong with the world. We did not "break" Iraq, 30 years of a murderous, fascist dictatorship broke Iraq, like it would have broken any other country. How is it that you can't even be bothered to mention the nature of Iraq's former regime, and that it was only the full force of American military power, excercised in the most "arrogant" and "unilateral" of fashions, which destroyed that regime forever? Or would that interfere with your oh-so-nuanced understanding of the irrefutable impotency of American power against the omnipotent and immortal terrorist threat? As for your policy recommendations, they're as asinine as your rewriting of history. Bring in the UN? They've got a steller record of nation-building so far, at least we have Germany and Japan to our credit. Rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure? No shit, we're doing it already. It takes time to do things like rebuild countries, time bargain basement gadflys like you will never give the president you despise. "Understand the elusive nature of terrorism"? I have a strange feeling that the White House, FBI, CIA, et al, are fairly well acquainted with "the elusive nature of terrorism". But you're right, they should call the editors of an obscure Socialist publication for advice on how to do their jobs. As for that last line, I have no idea what it means, I think you're just pushing words together in a desperate attempt to sound smart. Its not working.

What isn't an option is picking up and leaving, as if we could end the war by pretending there is no war. The forces threatening America today, whether in Baghdad or Bali, are the enemies not just of Republicans but of all Americans — and indeed, of the entire free world.

Congratulations, guys. Only took you seven paragraphs to get there. So it turns out your incompetent, idiot president is actually right about pretty much everything. Thanks for the wisdom from on high, fellas.


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