U.S. Carrying The World's Water
If the upcoming election is, as the Democrats wish, about Iraq, then let's be sure we all are clear on what the battle in Iraq is about.
The host, Paul Orgel, had asked me what I thought of President Bush and I replied that, whatever my differences with him on this or that, I thought he was one of the most farsighted politicians in Washington. That is to say, he is looking down the line to a world in which a radicalized Islam has exported its pathologies to every corner on Earth...
...if it really is, as Democrats say, "all about the future of our children," then our children will want to know why our generation saw what was happening and didn't do anything about it. They will despise us as we despise the political class of the 1930s....
...But suppose the "ANYONE BUT BUSH" bumper-sticker set got their way; suppose he and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and all the minor supporting warmongers down to yours truly were suddenly vaporized in 20 seconds' time. What then?
Nothing, that's what. The jihad's still there. Kim Jong-il's still there. The Iranian nukes are still there. The slyer Islamist subversion from Southeast Asia to the Balkans to northern England goes on, day after day after day. And one morning we'll switch on the TV and the smoke and flames will be on this side of the Atlantic, much to President Rodham's surprise. Bush hatred is silly and parochial and reductive: History is on the march, and the anti-Bush crowd is holding the telescope the wrong way round...
He dismissed the idea that going into Iraq had only served to "recruit" more terrorists to the cause. (Gen. Peter Pace told me last week that, if anything, the evidence is that Iraq has tied up a big chunk of senior jihadists who'd otherwise be blowing up Afghanistan and elsewhere.) The president's view is that before it was Iraq it was Israel; with these guys, it's always something...
The invaluable Brussels Journal recently translated an interview with the writer Oscar van den Boogaard from the Belgian paper De Standaard. A Dutch gay "humanist" (which is pretty much the trifecta of Eurocool), Mr. van den Boogaard was reflecting on the accelerating Islamification of the Continent and concluding the jig was up for the Europe he loved. "I am not a warrior, but who is?" he shrugged. "I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it."
Too many of us are only good at enjoying freedom. That war-is-never-the-answer 25 percent are in essence saying there's nothing about America worth fighting for, and that, ultimately, the continuation of their society is a bet on the kindness of strangers -- on the goodnaturedness of Kim Jong-il and the mullahs and al Qaeda and what the president called "al Qaeda lookalikes and al Qaeda wannabes" and whatever nuclear combination thereof comes down the pike.
And lest anyone forget, the fight in Iraq is a direct result of the attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. There's is a global war going on between the United States and the jihadists, and Iraq is the central front. That's why our troops are there.
Reasonable people can disagree about whether it's winnable. This is why I don't consider Jim Webb (and so many others) fools. You can make a reasoned calculation that an unwinnable battle should not be entered into. But you can also argue some battles must be fought even if the progress is not 100 percent predictable (and if the leadership has not foreseen every eventuality). In Iraq, we must find a way to win. In contrast to the Bushites and neocons, I personally think "democracy for the Iraqi people" may not be the answer nor was it the ultimate goal. The goals were to take out Saddam (done) and ensure the country does not become a launching pad for distribution of weapons of mass destruction or attacks against the U.S. and other countries in the West (in progress).
In the 1990s, every statesman in America (Democrats at the top of the list) shouted from the rooftops that the government of Iraq was a mortal threat to the security of the world. Not too many folks are making that claim now, are they?
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