Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Quo Vadis?

Ace Of Spades:

What Did America Vote For In Iraq?

I'm not sure. My more optimistic side says that the American people didn't decide to run from a fight they can't afford to lose, but rather chose to express their lack of confidence in the manner in which the war was being fought. And perhaps they decided that Bush's stewardship on the war was simply not strong enough to overcome other considerations, such as scandal and overspending.

On the other hand, it's possible that the American people do want to cut and run -- they just don't want to call it that. A lot of times voters wish to be deceived. There's really no way to simultaneously cut taxes, increase spending, and still balance the budget, for example, and yet in many elections the public seems to want precisely that -- and they reward whichever party is better at pretending all three can be had together. They reward whichever party, in other words, is more credible in promising the incredible to the willingly credulous.

So perhaps the American people really do simply want to give up on confronting global terrorism -- they just needed a party to tell them that doing so was honorable (when in fact it was dishonorable), courageous (when in fact it was cowardly), and wise (when in fact it is incredibly dangerous and ill-advised).

In the past, politics largely did stop at the water's edge. Not this time. The Democrats have decided that a military defeat that endangers America for decades to come may not be in America's national-security interest, but it is definitely in their own political interest, and so have campaigned to undermine the war and the very idea of the use of American power in a way scarcely seen before.


In the current war, there will be dominos falling aplenty should America lose. Or simply decide it's no longer much interested in violent confrontation with the apocalyptically psychpathic.

Even a frustrating and bloody stalemate in Iraq is preferrable, I think, to an actual military defeat. For we will not just lose in Iraq. We will lose in Syria, and Gaza, and Lebanon, and Pakistan, and dozens of other Muslim nations as well, including, of course, in Iran.

There is chatter that Bush, now chastened and perhaps seeking to improve his own legacy, will acquiesce easily in all of this. If he does so, he will in fact go down as one of the worst Presidents in history, by nearly universal reckoning. The liberals will despise him for getting into Iraq and the conservatives and many moderates will despise him for so willingly getting out.

I hope that isn't the case. But I have a bad feeling about all of this. Before I viewed the Global War on Terror as being much more difficult than I'd hoped. Now I view it all as a likely defeat -- on all fronts -- unless something in the American temperament changes quickly, or unless some bold new strategy changes the facts on the ground.

Some of the comments to Ace's post:

My take on the American public is pretty pessimistic, actually. At least as far as the so-called independents go. I think they have fallen back into watching international developments as some sort of reality show. You know, the Sunni Triangle as "The Surreal Life" with guns. And they haven't liked the plot lines lately and just want to cancel the show.


You know who else won't be listening or taking us seriously anymore, Steve L? Moderates in the region who truly want to bring the rule of law, civil society and democracy to the Arab and Persian world.

Now? You would have to be some kind of damn fool to believe the US has your back when you stick your neck out against these mullahs and radical fundamentalist leaders. You'll just get it sawed off with a rusty blade, while pampered Western elites enage in elaborate navel gazing exercises. If I'm a reform minded Syrian, Iranian or Iraqi, right now I'm laundering my prayer rug, putting the girls in burquas and settling in for some "traditional" Islamic governance.


I believe the American people will fight back...

...when we either experience another September 11th-type disaster or start experiencing smaller terrorist attacks on a routine basis, just like Israel does today.

Until then, forget about it.


I truly don't believe Bush would bail on Iraq; he knows the stakes there. I do think he is reeling a bit from what can only be perceived as a total wash out of American will on the war. It's disheartening to the administration, just like it's disheartening to me. I've always thought the American people were something special, a unique blend of kindness and fierce spirit, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we really are selfish and soft, and just don't have the resolve that the WWII generation had. That's a disgrace.


The problem is, of course, that Bush has always pussed out on saying who it is we are at war against:

Mainstream Islam.

Sorry. I'd hoped that what we term "moderate Muslims" made up the majority, but clearly - no. I mean, I used to hem and haw about it like Bush does too. But then, I'm not the President, either, and I don't have quite the same responsibility and resources to see things lucidly and plan accordingly.

If you fear naming your enemy, how can you ever hope to defeat him? It's horrible and it sucks to have to realize that a good chunk of humanity is composed of nihilistic splodeydopes, but there it is.

The next 100 years are going to truly suck.


We will not be defeated in the war on terror. We may lose this phase and if we do it will mean the death of millions of.... muslims. Ultimately what we have done is try to win this war in the most peaceful manner possible. A mass casualty attack in the United States, say 200k plus, will result in an unrestrained response both at home and in how we handle things abroad. So far this war has been fought to avoid that and save lives not only American but also muslim. If the radicalization continues and they make a successful attack the demand for an intemperate response will be great.


I think the American people voted to leave Iraq. I don't think we have the ability to endure a sustained conflict anymore. We would never be able to fight a war like WW2. We will withdraw. We will continue to take the minor hits. At some point we will take a large hit, or one small hit too many. Then we will respond by dropping nukes and killing or isolating every Muslim in the world. This will happen ruthlessly and quickly. And then we will return to our lives. America is not able to think in the long term. We want instant gratification. Anything that takes too long will be abandoned.


Imo, Pres. Bush took his "compassionate conservatism" to the war. You can't win a war with compassion.


The American people can always be counted on the do the right thing...after all other possibilities have been exhausted.

I think it was Winston Churchill who said something along those lines.


Good post, Ace. I agree with most of it. I would just like to add one caveat. Your analysis leaves out the "to hell with them" hawks. That's the people who can and will fight the Islamofacists but don't see why we have to drag Muslims kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. Every time there is a story about finding 50 bodies of Iraqis tortured by Iraqis, people are thinking "we gave them freedom so they can drill someone to death?' Bush will continue the fight until he leaves office. Then it will be up to the Iraqis.

As far as messages to the world, the 2004 election was more important than the 2006. Bush won, and the world knows that if America is attacked, we will hunt them down and kill them in great numbers. If the dems cut and run now, this will just prove what the world already knows-- the dems are the cut and run party. So, the next time we go to war, we won't waste time. Hit them hard, hit them fast, and maximize damage up front.

And frankly, this is human nature. People don't get serious until they're fighting for survival. The delicate balance is did they delay to long? Churchill was alone, alone, alone. Bush has ensured that America will survive. The only open question is what other countries are going to make it in the 21st Century? I'm thinking much of the EU is toast!

I plan on watching the jihadis burn down Europe. Pass the popcorn...

No comments: