Monday Morning Quarterbacks Who Don’t Remember the Sunday Game

Friday, September 23rd, 2005 1:24 pm by Neal

Victor Davis Hanson’s latest essay, Strategy, Strategy Everywhere…but not a drop of memory, discusses the various “strategies” being presented by those who are convinced the current approach to Iraq and the Middle East is not working. He summarizes these strategies as “Trisection”, “Divide and Conquer”, and “Departure” (as if cutting and running is a strategy)! Here’s what he says about Departure:

A timetable for withdrawal before Iraq is acknowledged as secure is said to be soon on the Democratic agenda — a sure way to cut American losses, expenditures, and worry over Iraqis for quite some time.

Nevertheless, why this “out of sight-out of mind” policy has not been quite yet raised by mainstream Democrats is obvious: Even the most diehard critics accept something positive is going on in Iraq that is a far cry from Vietnam.

A sequence of planned steps will lead to consensual government: approval of the constitution, national voting for candidates, a public trial of Saddam, and the establishment of a large constitutional military. The Iraqi security forces are getting better, not worse; the population is souring, not sweetening, on Zarqawi; we are becoming wiser, not more ignorant, about fighting the insurgency; and decisions are increasingly made by Iraqis, while Americans have receded into the media shadows.

To depart now would be to put all those scheduled landmark events into jeopardy, calling into question our past sacrifices and giving the enemy something they cannot win on the battlefield. In our despair over the sometimes depressing news from Iraq, and the hysteria of seeing everything from Cindy Sheehan to Hurricane Katrina used to deprecate the war effort, naturally we ignore our progress. We forget that the entire Middle East is not as it once was — whether we look at the Palestinian question, Libya, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Egypt.

Does anyone really believe that Arafat undermining the Oslo accords, Libya with a nuclear weapons program, Dr. Khan operating full blast in Pakistan, thousands of Syrians in Lebanon, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Saddam’s Iraq, or a complete absence of democratic foment in Egypt would be preferable even to the turmoil of today?

Yet these recent shake-ups had their origins only in American resolve. If we should now depart, things would insidiously revert back to the depressing pre-September 11 status quo — or worse yet. We forget that even then “stability” was only a veneer, masking a landscape whose final logic was 9/11.

Next, Hanson compares these “strategies” with “Staying the Course” and points out just how dramatic the changes have been and how much better the situation is, despite the doom-and-gloomers in the MSM and Cindy Sheehan camps:

Our current policy is not just correct because we are now wedded to it. In fact, it is a reaction to our past strategy of realpolitik coupled with appeasement. That strategy led us to 9/11 and a quarter century of terror originating in Iran in November 1979 — whether we define that history as cynical support for dictators, leaving after lobbing a few shells and bombs in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Somalia, or Iraq, or allowing wounded tyrants like Saddam to stay in power.

Second, our efforts after 9/11 represent not the worst, but the best of America abroad. Millions just voted yet again in Afghanistan in one of the true revolutionary events of our time — mostly unnoticed by Western media.

We forget that Iraq was not liberated until almost 15 months after Kabul. Yet it is already progressing down the same constitutional road. Despised Kurds and Shiites have achieved equal representation. And that topsy-turvy world has infuriated a once oppressive Sunni minority, formerly associated with Saddam Hussein, now in sympathy with al Zarqawi , the terrorist killer. Once unpopular because we were alleged to be cynical in our support of dictators, we are now even more suspect because we are proven proponents of downtrodden Kurds and Shiites in their efforts for political equality. Most Americans — since they are going to be disliked either way — prefer to be hated for their idealism rather than their cynicism.

Billions in American material aid has flowed to Iraqis, even as the price of oil has skyrocketed, costing us billions more — so much for oil conspiracies and stealing Arab resources. In short, Iraq is not an imperialistic venture, but a messy, unappreciated attempt to make the United States more secure by removing dictators from their petrodollar-funded arsenals and leaving constitutional governments in their wake, while promoting social justice for the formerly marginalized.

You can read the entire essay here. Hanson cuts through the emotional muck so prevelant in our MSM culture and provides the most articulate and insightful analysis of the historical and military context of our noble efforts in the Middle East.

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