Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Success abroad, failure at home

Victor Davis Hanson is always a joy to read, but sometimes he outdoes even himself. In today's column, he points to the extraordinary successes America has achieved in Iraq -- successes that redound to the benefit of the Iraqi people. And then, succinctly, and without too much heat, he points to the pop culture/MSM drive to recast this as another Vietnam, with the inevitable odor (or do I mean stench?) of failure hanging about it:

While no mainstream Democrat has yet gone the McGovern route, it is still politically toxic for any to state publicly that we should be optimistic about the future of Iraq, inasmuch as they are convinced that such an admission could only help George W. Bush. Some of us who are Democrats are baffled that the party that used to decry cynical realism, gave us the Truman Doctrine and JFK’s tough stance against Communism, galvanized us to hold steady in WWI, WWII, and Korea, and preached that we must promote and protect democracies, is now either joining the isolationist Right or drifting into quasi-pacifism — or simply standing against anything that the opposing party is for. The public too is turned off. Perhaps it is the constant media stream of IEDs and suicide bombs — never the news of thousands of new schools, a free and stable Kurdistan, progress in the Shiite south, or any of the other countless positive developments from elections to Saddam’s trial. Polls reveal that the American people care little that, in terms of military history, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the creation of a constitutional government in his place — in less than three years and at the cost of 2000 lives — are still formidable achievements, making the lapses seem minor in comparison to those in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. No, we have now gone too far for all that. And how could we not, after the wild charges of Richard Clarke, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and Joe Wilson, the celebrity venom of everyone from Sean Penn to Donald Sutherland, the media revelations of Rathergate, Eason Jordan’s false charges that our military targets journalists, and Newsweek’s falsities about flushed Korans? Don’t forget either the contributions of U.S. senators such as Dick Durbin (comparing our Guantanamo guards to Nazi, Stalinist, and Cambodian murderers) or Ted Kennedy (claiming Abu Ghraib was reopened for the same Saddam-type atrocities by Americans), who did their small part to libel those who gave freedom to millions. Whatever the good news of this election or the one in December — much less the increasing isolation of the nearby tyrant Assad, the flowering in Lebanon, and the rumbles in the Gulf and Egypt — it won’t make much difference anymore to the American people. They have decided that they are tired of the Middle East and only want to go back to the world before 9/11, forgetting that the easy shoot-a-cruise-missile-at-a-cave strategy ultimately led to the 9/11 attacks. In similar fashion, don’t expect any appreciation from Europe. Long ago its corrupt media refashioned Iraq as an American imperial misadventure that must fail. Perhaps it was the innate jealousy and anti-Americanism that had grown up in recent years, as Europe remained stagnant while others pressed ahead. Or the angst may derive from Europeans’ own conniving triangulation, as they worry about oil supplies, fear terrorism, and grow wary of the Muslims on their home soil. In a more crass sense, the French government was deeply intertwined in the Hussein octopus, starting with Jacques Chirac overseeing the building of the Iraqi nuclear reactor to the final embarrassment of Oil-for-Food. We don’t expect much either from Arab intellectuals. Most determined a priori that whatever America was for, they were against. Very soon they found a way to jettison their out-of-date “America is a cynical realist who backs dictators” into the new party-line, “America is a fool that rams down foreign democracy and misplaced idealism.” This was a subsidized toady culture that didn’t care much what Saddam or the Assads did — they were at least Arabs who killed other Arabs, after all. Indeed, most Egyptian or Gulf elites excused their own complicity with homegrown dictatorships by vilifying the Americans when they were realists and then ridiculing them when they turned idealists. So Arab mythmaking will provide any needed exegesis of Iraq to explain how the most frowned-upon people of the Middle East under Saddam will soon be the most respected under themselves. We are left only with the U.S. military. It is without much overt public support in Iraq, demonized in Europe, and feared and resented in the Arab world. And yet had American forces lost in Afghanistan, stumbled in Iraq, or given up on the democracy, there would now be no hope for the 50 million who voted in Afghanistan and Iraq. So when this is all over — and it will be more quickly than we imagine — there will be a viable constitutional government in Iraq. But the achievement will be considered either a natural organic process, or adopted as a success by former critics only at its safe, penultimate stage. Most of us tragically will forget many of the American soldiers who courageously fought, died, and gave the Middle East its freedom and us our security. Purple fingers, not overloaded American helicopters taking off from the embassy roof, is the future of Iraq. Yes, the terrorists’ assault against the Iraqi democracy will end — as all failed insurrections do — not with a bang but with a whimper.
Hey, you guys and gals over there -- I have not forgotten and will not forget what you have done, and are still doing, to bring freedom to a country enslaved by terror and to bring safety to America. Thank you.