Friday, March 24, 2006


Cynical Habits of Thought and Speech

Hugh Hewitt interviews Victor Davis Hanson over at RadioBlogger.

Long time readers will know how much I admire Hanson and value his analysis. In this interview, Hewitt asks Hanson his impressions of Hewitt’s debate on CNN with Michael Ware, Baghdad bureau chief for Time Magazine.

In that interview, Ware made some factually inaccurate statements, topped for good measure by some obvious subjective opinions, such as:

Well, the main winners so far are al Qaeda, which is stronger than it was before the invasion. Abu Musab al Zarqawi was a nobody. Now he's the superstar of international jihad. And Iran...Iran essentially has a proxy government in place, a very, very friendly government.

Hanson responds incredulously that a journalist of what should be such elevated standing – a Time Magazine Bureau Chief – can report (much less believe) what is clearly untrue. Intercepts from Al Qaeda itself clearly indicate that they themselves feel their efforts are failing, their efforts in Iraq have backfired, and their resources would better be spent elsewhere.

Hanson’s take:

That's just a mockery of what we would call sober and judicious reporting. And everything he said was factually incorrect. We dismantled two thirds of the al Qaeda heirarchy, and Mr. Zarqawi was well enough to get an invitation to come before we went into Iraq to seek medical care under Saddam. Everything he said was untrue, and when we went into Iraq, nobody knew much about the Iranian nuclear program. The entire world is galvanizing against it now. The Iranians are petrified that this democratic experiment will work right on their border, and one of the most subversive things they can imagine right next to them. And the United States knows so much more about the danger of Iran than it did two years ago. The world was asleep to their nuclear antics. And 67% of the people have confidence in Iraq, according to the polls, that things are getting better.

In fact, it wasn’t until the latest MSM drive mania about “civil war” that Al Qaeda had much optimism in the information operations (IO) war in the press.

In his response, Hanson also describes the disease currently afflicted the majority of intellectual elites at our universities, the media, and other bastions of predominantly Blue State America:

I think it came to be frank between the journalism schools, the academic training of a lot of the people, and this affluent, elite culture, to be frank, that comes out of the universities on the left and right coasts, that's divorced from the tragic view, because these people are not...they don't open hardware stores. They don't service cars. They've never worked physically with their hands. They have an idea in this international culture of the West that somehow, all of their affluence, all of their travel, all of their freedom came out of a head of Zeus, and it's not dependent on the U.S. military, the United States role in the world. They have no appreciation for the very system that birthed and maintained them. And they've had this sort of sick cynicism, nihilism, skepticism, and the height of their affluence and leisure, that they don't have any gratitude at all, which is really one of the most important human attributes.

There is nothing I could say that would top this assessment. I would only underscore by way of postscript.

It has long been clear to those of us reporting from within the military that a very small percentage of our critics have any familiarity with the military, because people in those segments of society rarely if ever serve. Or more accurately, those who trend left within these elites view the military with scorn, they disparage if not outright scorn the very military forces that are essential to their own liberties.

Need we revisit eddy Roosevelt? Probably not my audience, but for any passers-by:

A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities - all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. The role is easy; there is none easier, save only the role of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.


In the next place, the good man should be both a strong and a brave man; that is, he should be able to fight, he should be able to serve his country as a soldier, if the need arises. There are well-meaning philosophers who declaim against the unrighteousness of war. They are right only if they lay all their emphasis upon the unrighteousness. War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity. But it is such a crime because it is unjust, not because it is a war. The choice must ever be in favor of righteousness, and this is whether the alternative be peace or whether the alternative be war. The question must not be merely, Is there to be peace or war? The question must be, Is it right to prevail? Are the great laws of righteousness once more to be fulfilled? And the answer from a strong and virile people must be "Yes," whatever the cost. Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, just as every honorable effort should always be made by the individual in private life to keep out of a brawl, to keep out of trouble; but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong.

Or be party to wrong, by either active collusion or a passive neglect.

Prior to the Bush Administration and their muscular response to 9/11, in many ways we were parties actively and passively. How can anyone continue to characterize us in the wrong now: in the face of what Saddam was before 2003 and is no longer; what the Taliban was before 2002 and is no longer; what the UN and their corrupted efforts became and remains today, unrepentant; and the 50 million people who, despite the dangers, have an opportunity for freedom and democracy, in whatever form they can craft, and preserve.

Our fledging democracy survived, at much greater risk, with much greater cost, with much less support, and without a bare fraction of the power and might of the US led Coalition to protect it in its infancy.

(Via Instapundit)

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]