Friday, October 14, 2005

Iraq the "Debacle"?

On the eve of Saturday's historic constitutional referendum in Iraq, Victor Davis Hanson yet again provides some desperately needed perspective. In this week's column for National Review Online, Dr. Hanson addresses the "quagmire" arguments put forth by Bush critics such as Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski:

Such gloom seems to be the fashion of the day. Iraq is now routinely dismissed as a quagmire or “lost.” Osama bin laden is assumed to be still active, while we are beginning the fifth year of the war that is “longer than World War II.” Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo purportedly are proof of our brutality and have lost us hearts and minds, while gas prices spiral out of control. The U.S. military is supposedly “overextended” if not “wrecked” by Iraq, while the war in Afghanistan “drags on.” Meanwhile, it is “only a matter of time” until we are hit with another terrorist strike of the magnitude of September 11. To cap it off, the United States is now “disliked” abroad, by those who abhor our “unilateralism” and “preemptive” war.

All that is a fair summation of the current glumness.

But how accurate are such charges? If one were to assess them from the view of the Islamic fundamentalists, they would hardly resemble reality.

Many of al-Zarqawi or Dr. Zawahiri’s intercepted letters and communiqués reveal paranoid fears that Iraq is indeed becoming lost — but to the terrorists. The enemy speaks of constantly shifting tactics — try beheading contractors; no, turn to slaughtering Shiites; no, butcher teachers and school kids; no, go back to try to blow up American convoys. In contrast, we are consistent in our strategy — go after jihadists, train Iraqi security forces, promote consensual government so Iraq becomes an autonomous republic free to determine its own future. We will leave anytime the elected government of Iraq asks us to; the terrorists won’t cease until they have rammed, Taliban-style, an 8th-century theocracy down the throats of unwilling Iraqis.


The war against the terrorists may be entering the fifth year, but despite over 2,000 combat fatalities, we have still only lost a little over 2/3s of those killed on the very first day of the war, almost 50 months ago — quite a contrast with the over 400,000 American dead at the end of World War II. And a wrecked Japan and Germany were not on a secure path to democracy until six years after America entered the war, unlike Iraq and Afghanistan that were defeated without killing millions and already have held plebiscites on new constitutions.

An American “Debacle”?


Anonymous Ed Merwin, Jr. said...

I was off last friday, so I just got around to reading this today (monday). It is nice to see a little light combating the darkness and gloom from such bastions of "objectivity" as CNN, the NYT, and the Washington Post.

9:43 AM  

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