Sunday, June 25, 2006
Doubling Down on Defeat
Here are a few choice bad opinions and my response.
It is, of course, easy to beat up on the Democrats [for cut and run proposals by any other name]. The strategy adopted by Dick Cheney, the vice-president, and Rove is clear: ignore all the empirical reality in Iraq, hope for the best, and bash the opposition as weaklings and defeatists. (Emphasis added).
I think it is Sullivan who is ignoring the empirical reality. We killed the posterboy insurgency leader and retrieved his hard drives to roll up nearly a thousand (killed or captured) al Qaeda in Iraq types in the following days. We go into cities, go door to door (braver men that I probably could be) and we kill or capture hundreds more. The terrorists themselves think they're losing. What's worse (for them), the terrorist have already made the metaphorical jump from bombing the airfields to bombing the cities (as Germany did during the Blitz) and are doing things that cannot possibly change the tactical reality (and, in a different metaphor, are a hail Mary pass hoping the IED casualties will cause the folks back home to waiver and quail and call the troops home--just like in Viet Nam).
Throughout his article he takes it as a given that Gulf War II is a failure ("chaos" "mismanagement" "nightmare" "recklessness and incompetence of the Bush team") but I wonder what war he's comparing it to? The British effort there 1919-1932? WWII? (I can do 10,000 words on why the Italian campaign from beginning to end was a real nightmare due largely to the reckless incompetence of Mark Clark, and that's just one campaign). All war is chaos, nightmare, reclkessness and incompetence. But Mark Steyn is right, if we, with a population of 300,000,000, can't sustain less than 3 dead a day in a war others brought to us, we might as well pack it in, consign the globe to anarchy, and let the real nightmare begin.
And then there's this sentence:
Remember how [Karl Rove] managed to turn Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, into a coward and liar about his own war record, while portraying a man who essentially ducked his duty into a symbol of military valour?
Rove didn't make Kerry lie about details of his service (Christmas In Cambodia and the CIA magic hat) nor did he ever imply that his leaving Viet Nam early with three scratches--two of which were almost certainly self-inflicted (by accident) --was cowardly; many inferred that from the details of Kerry's own biography. As to turning Bush into a symbol of military valour--I must have missed that. The President served in the Texas Air National Guard as we completed our phased withdrawal from Viet Nam. How is that essentially ducking his duty? Apparently only guys who saw front line duty in Viet Nam served admirably during that 8 year war; and everyone else in uniform everywhere else during that period was doing squat--essentially ducking his duty. I'm getting a little sick of the chicken hawk label the Dems throw at our necessarily civilian leadership at the drop of a magic hat and I especially don't want to hear it from a British citizen who never spent a second of service in this country's defense. Oops, now I'm doing the chicken hawk dance.
In faint praise of Sullivan, his insight into the probable political interactions is pretty sharp. If only the scales would fall from his eyes about the great success Iraq has been and will continue to be. I'm sure I'm asking for too much.