Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

It's always darkest before the dawn

The Battle of Britain was a staggeringly bad experience for England, which was the only light in the darkness at the beginning of the war, yet it just marked the beginning of the War, with some of the worst bloodshed yet to come. Already in 1942, Churchill had presciently realized that things would get worse before they got better, when he said "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." The increased fervency of terrorist attacks in Iraq makes me think the same thing. I like it that terrorists from all over the Muslim world are gathering in Iraq, where they can eventually be destroyed by American forces. Better there than in America, is my snivelingly cowardly thought. Yes, it means an increase in violence in Iraq, both against our troops and against the long-suffering Iraqi people, but it's still a concentration of evil that is more easily dealt with than a dispersed evil. I think this is the darkness, and I believe in the dawn. Or as Victor Davis Hanson says:

There are lessons here. When the United States has stayed on after fighting dictatorial enemies--admittedly for decades in Italy, Germany, Japan, Korea and the Balkans--progress toward democracy and prosperity ensued. Disengagement from unresolved messy problems--whether from Europe after World War I, Vietnam in 1973, Beirut after the Marine barracks bombings, Afghanistan after the Soviet defeat, or Iraq in 1991--only left murderous chaos or the "peace" of authoritarian dictators. Fighting sometimes intensified just before the end. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's horrible summer of 1864 almost broke the Union. The surprise of the Bulge cost more American lives than the 1944 drive from the Normandy beaches. Okinawa was not declared secure until a little more than two months before the Japanese surrender. It was the worst-thought-out campaign of the Pacific and cost about 50,000 American casualties. Sacrifices are judged senseless by factors that go beyond sheer carnage. While we are, of course, tortured over the American dead of the Civil War, World War I and World War II, we nevertheless find solace that those lost ended slavery, restored the Union, stopped the Kaiser and eliminated Hitler and Tojo. On the other hand, we agonize as often over the much smaller losses of Vietnam, Beirut or Somalia precisely because we are not sure whether they led to any permanent improvement. Those who now evoke Vietnam should think carefully of the entire lesson of that tragedy. We hear daily of how we once foolishly got into that chaos but rarely of the lessons on how we got out.
(And a hat tip to PalmTree Pundit for the great Hanson quotation.)