The common media meme these days is that Iraq is total chaos, we've lost the war, Iraqis all hate us, we're killing the soldiers by making them stay, we'll never succeed in helping them in transition from dictatorship to democracy, it was all about oil (bleh), Bush lied to drag us in to HIS war, etc etc etc, ad freaking infinitum.
Since I can't possibly express the counterpoint to these arguments anywhere nearly as eloquent as VDH, I'll give you some stanzas from todays weekly column, "The New Defeatism"...
"In somber tones newscasters assure us of all sorts of bad things to come. But our soldiers have continued to fight in Iraq as the plans for transition have inched forward. So let us review the conventional ignorance and ponder what exactly is our national affliction.
No Plan? For those who think that we are either incompetent or disingenuous in Iraq, look at Kurdistan, where seven million people live under humane government with less than 300 American troops. How did that happen? The people of Kurdistan are Islamic, often quarrelsome folks — in the heart of the Middle East — now residing in relative safety and autonomy, and expressing good will toward the United States. They accept that we don't want Kurdish oil any more than we want to take over the sands and slums of the Sunni Triangle. So the problem in central Iraq is not us, but rather the fact that unlike Kurdistan — which had a decade of transition toward consensual society thanks to Anglo-American pilots — the country is reeling from 30 years of autocracy, in which Islamic fascism offered an alternative of sorts to an ossified Soviet-style dictatorship.
We have always had a "plan" in Iraq — it was to leave the country something like its northern third in Kurdistan. Precisely because it was costly, idealistic, and dangerous, we should expect a lot of killing and bombing in the next few months as an array of opponents tries to derail the upcoming transition and elections. Anyone who thinks thousands of Islamic fascists and out-of-work Baathists won't want to stop the region's first consensual government is unhinged. But, again, for all our mistakes of omission there was and is a plan — and it is now slowly coming to messy fruition. Even after the spring nightmare, we do not hear many Iraqis saying, "Leave right now and take your stinking $87 billion with you," much less, "Give us back Saddam" or "Quit stealing our oil for your cheap gas."
Reread this part......seven million people live under humane government with less than 300 American troops. .....gee, some quagmire......sounds almost like Germany now.
"Neoconservatives? Let us be frank. This appellation is no longer a descriptive term of so-called "new conservatives," those members of the eastern intelligentsia who were rather liberal on some domestic hot-button issues (tolerant of open borders, quiet about abortion, indifferent to gay marriage, etc.), but promoted a proactive neo-Wilsonian idealism in foreign policy (whether in the Balkans in taking out Milosevic or in trying to replace Saddam Hussein with democracy rather than a Shah-like proconsul).
Instead, face the ugly fact: "Neocon" is now a slur for "Jew." General Zinni (who once boasted that 600 to 2,000 Iraqis were eliminated from the air in his Operation Desert Fox bombing campaign) is now ubiquitous on television hawking his new book, criticizing the war (on Memorial Day, no less), and being praised in the Arab news as he talks about "Perle, Wolfowitz, and Feith" and all those who purportedly got us into Iraq.
"Cabal" and "Nazi-like" are also used by others and with increasing frequency to promote the old idea of crafty, sneaky people pulling the wool over honest naifs (no doubt aw-shucks, unsophisticated folks such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Rice). A shameful Senator Hollings has no apologies for claiming that our policy was misdirected for Israel's sake. Even a saucer-eyed Al Gore got into the spirit of things. Recently he screamed out the names of those who must walk his plank, and went into an exorcist-like trance when his vein-bulging, spinning-head got to spitting out the name "Woolfwoootizzzzz."
If there was advice from a "bloc" of so-called neoconservatives, it has not "failed," but is in fact already working even as we caricature it: We've taken out Saddam; we are on the eve of a transition to an autonomous reform government; and we are shooting the enemy 7,000 miles away, rather than being murdered at Ground Zero. And, by any historical standard, we are fighting in both an economical and humane fashion."
It ceases to amaze me how quickly anti-war forces will call Jewish foreign policy makers in the states who supported the war in Iraq "Nazis". Could they possibly be more ignorant of the true atrocities committed by the Germans in WWII? How many concentration camps have the Wolfowitz's put in place for Arabs? And if anyone says "Guantanamo" you need to read more history. Start here, and let me know when you get to Buchenwald..
"Israel? Most of us are tired of reading daily that Israel is making problems for us. It is a liberal democracy and currently in the throes of a national debate about whether to withdraw from a territory, Gaza, from which it was attacked in three wars. Its uniformed military targets terrorists; its main opponent's terrorists seek to kill civilians. We should have more confidence in its free press, elected officials, and voting citizenry to craft a humane policy — under threat of suicide murdering, no less — than in all the corrupt and fascistic regimes that surround it. It once took out — at great risk to itself — Iraq's nuclear reactor; it did not sell the reactor at great profit or take control of that country's oil.
If this caring world is worried about the injustice of a fence or Islamaphobia, then start slurring nuclear India for its $1 billion fence, which shuts off the entire (impoverished Muslim) country of Bangladesh — a far harsher blow to far more millions than Israel's so-called "Wall" aimed at stopping suicide killing.
If we hate the principle of "occupied lands," then let Europe cease trade with China and hector that dictatorial government about the cultural obliteration of occupied Tibet.
If we are truly worried about violence, then let the U.N. and the EU turn their attention to Nigeria, where thousands are murdered yearly.
If the death of tens of thousands of Muslims and the desecration of mosques bother the Arab League, then let them blast the Arabs of the Sudan, who are systematically and in the most racist fashion butchering black Muslims.
But if after all that we have still not gotten our bearings, then let us rail about Sharon and the "occupation," and thus enable the Arab world to forget its self-induced misery and find psychic reassurance, as Europe too often has, by blaming Jews.
Increasingly I find that the people around the world doing the most amount of finger pointing at the US for the worlds ills seem to have things in their closets that would put Abu-Ghraib to shame...I imagine it's so much easier to blame the jooooooooos.
And now for the big one.....
"No al Qaeda links? Equally bothersome is the old canard, "Saddam was a secularist and hated al Qaeda" — as though simultaneous enemies of America have always shared the same ideology. Just ask the Japanese and Germans, or the Chinese and Russians, who agreed to set aside their mutual hatred to fight us for being emissaries of freedom. Under the Clinton administration it was considered standard intelligence dogma that Osama and Saddam worked together; only the controversy over Iraq has post-facto questioned that former pillar of American and European intelligence doctrine — and for entirely political reasons.
There was a reason Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas were in Baghdad. And it was the same reason why al Qaeda was working in Kurdistan, why al Zarqawi went to Baghdad to Saddam's doctors, why there is good reason to believe that before the first World Trade Center bombing the culpable terrorists had ties with Iraqi intelligence, and why seized documents now coming to light in Iraq reveal a long history of cooperation between Islamic terrorists and Saddam's secret police. To think otherwise would be crazy, given the shared aims of both in attacking Americans and getting them out of the Middle East. The only puzzle is whether Saddam contributed to the 9/11 terrorist fund or simply was apprised of al Qaeda's general efforts.
Few things make me as irate as peoples ignorance of the connection Saddam had to international terrorism. I could give two shits about gay marriage when Saddam was financing people like Zarqawi. Big picture folks.
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