Friday, March 02, 2007


How We Got Here

If not good news exactly, Victor Davis Hanson today finds hope, writing at National Review Online. Hanson reviews the true history of how we are where we are in Iraq.

Hanson’s chronicle charts what he labels landmines laying about, always ready to explode. Many did, thanks to too many careless forays down pathways of ambivalence, neglect, and hypocrisy:

Ø      The unseriousness of the American people

Ø      Political miscalculation on the part of the Bush Administration

Ø      Conditional exploitation of the war by Congressional Democrats

Ø      Evaporating Republican resolve in the face of political expediency

Ø      “Inherently hostile media,” and

Ø      International collusion in spewing hateful anti-US rhetoric whilst grabbing benefit and treasure from America with both hands.

Our efforts in Iraq as “orphaned” and misperceived, declares Hanson, and yet recent decisions and the turn of events provide new hope:

Somehow a war to remove a mass-murdering psychopath — a psychopath with his hands on a trillion-dollars worth of petroleum reserves, with a long record of attacking four of his neighbors and of harboring and subsidizing terrorists — who, once removed, would be replaced with the first truly consensual government in the history of the Arab Middle East, ended up being perceived, for all the reasons cited above, as something it was not.
But if we have an orphaned war that is dubbed lost, it nevertheless can still be won. None of our mistakes has been fatal; none is of a magnitude unprecedented in past wars; all have been cataloged; and few are now being repeated. We now understand the politics of our Iraqi odyssey, with all its triangulations, and the ruthlessness of our enemies.
Not arguments, rhetoric, pleading, or money right now can save the democracy in Iraq. The U.S. military alone, in the very little remaining time of this spring and summer, can give Iraqis the necessary window of security and confidence to govern and protect themselves, and thereby to allow the donors, peacekeepers, compromises, and conferences to follow.
If General Petraeus can bring a quiet to Baghdad, then all the contradictions, mistakes, cheap rhetoric, and politicking of the bleak past will mean nothing in a brighter future.

Despite all the journalistic malfeasance, craven political calculation, anti-American animus, Bush Derangement Syndrome, bureaucratic bungling, feudal theology and tribal ignorance, and the curses of millennia, Iraq may yet confound her many critics. The people (if not the potentates) of Middle East may yet embrace a New Way Forward.

Whether the US ever gets the credit, is almost irrelevant. We’re the envy of the World, and yet the focus of much of its enmity. Come to think of it, that will likely be the legacy of our current President, too. If all ends well, I don’t think he’ll mind that very much.


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