Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Winning the War Abroad

But losing the war at home?

So we might conclude, according to Victor Davis Hanson’s latest analysis in the Opinion Journal Online, At War with Ourselves.

The title of his piece may be the best one line assessment of the current state of affairs on which supporters and detractors of the war in Iraq can agree. For we are surely at war with ourselves. If we are at all in danger of “losing” this war, it is not that we might lose to our Al Qaeda and Iranian and other Islamo-fascist agents. Rather, we might those to those dedicated, with profound and unrelenting zeal, to a failure of American foreign policy. (As implemented by a Republican President, at any rate.)

Contrary to the civil chaos described by major media outlets, with dire predictions of the implosion to come, order was restored almost exclusively by Iraqi forces, authorities, religious figures, and private citizens. No follow-up reports from these same outlets, and certainly no obvious repudiation of their exaggerated reports.

As Hanson notes:

But instead of the apocalypse of an ensuing civil war, a curfew was enforced. Iraqi security forces stepped in with some success. Shaken Sunni and Shiite leaders appeared on television to urge restraint, and there appeared at least the semblance of reconciliation that may soon presage a viable coalition government.

Those with an axe to grind or agenda to advance lost no time in drawing the most extreme conclusions and trumpeting news of the failure of our Iraqi misadventure. (Note the similarity between this “late breaking news” reporting of future events, and certain recent miscalls of electoral outcomes based on flawed exit polling (or simple wishful thinking).

You’d think constant error, miscalculation and misjudgment might generate some humility in making grand pronouncements or predictions. (No, I am not talking about representatives of the Bush Administration, who in almost every instance they’re accused of, actually said the opposite of what their critics claim, or were much more cautious than the fake but true recollections in the canons of the frustrated left.)

No such hubris on the part of the naysayers, as Hanson describes:

Almost before the golden shards of the mosque hit the pavement, pundits wrote off the war as lost--as we heard the tired metaphors of "final straw" and "camel's back" mindlessly repeated. The long-anticipated civil strife among Shiites and Sunnis, we were assured, was not merely imminent, but already well upon us.

How is it that, no matter how badly or inaccurately major media report on Iraq, there is never any room for a reassessment? None. No, this week it’s another hyped up story, this time of a Dubai government owned port terminal operator (one of the world’s best) buying a British company that ran 8 of 300 such terminals in the US. When 80% of such operations are run by foreign companies, many government owned.

And in chasing after this next opportunity to blast the politically tone-challenged if not deaf Bush Administration, what is missed? How about this:

That the Iraqi security forces are becoming bigger and better, that we have witnessed three successful elections, and that hundreds of brave American soldiers have died to get us to the brink of seeing an Iraqi government emerge was forgotten in a 24-hour news cycle.

There exists no better example of Bush Derangement Syndrome, as demonstrated quite effectively by the examples Hanson cites, of the nonsense used by the war’s opponents to justify their own opposition. For this escapes logic, entirely:

For many, Iraq is no longer a war whose prognosis is to be judged empirically. It has instead transmogrified into a powerful symbol that apparently must serve deeply held, but preconceived, beliefs--the deceptions of Mr. Bush, the folly of a neoconservative cabal, the necessary comeuppance of the American imperium, or the greed of an oil-hungry U.S.

Hanson has visited with troops in Iraq, and he has confirmed what he knew, what most of us who serve and have served on the Iraqi Campaign of the Global War on Terror, already knew. He is as confounded by the dichotomy between victory on the ground, and defeat in the media:

In sum, after talking to our soldiers in Iraq and our planners in Washington, what seems to me most inexplicable is the war over the war--not the purported absence of a plan, but that the more we are winning in the field, the more we are losing it at home.

I have Hanson’s piece in view thanks to a link by Glenn Reynolds, who also includes an update from Ralph Peters in the New York Post. Peters concludes his forthright piece with this rebuke to the doomsayers of the media:

The bombing made headlines (and a news photographer just happened to be on the scene). Here in Baghdad, it just made the average Iraqis hate the terrorists even more. You are being lied to. By elements in the media determined that Iraq must fail. Just give 'em the Bronx cheer.

PLLLLFFFFFTTT. That’s as close to a Bronx Cheer as I can alliterate. (We need a wingbat (wingnut? dingbat? moonbat?) symbol thingie for a Bronx Cheer.)

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