May 15, 2004
Needed Perspective On Iraq
More good sense from Victor Davis Hanson:
The amazing thing remains not that we have seen a depressing year of chaos, but that the forces of change are still in our favor after all of our setbacks and often mistaken assumptions. In Iraq, regardless of what The New Yorker or the New York Times attests, the stuff of life — electricity, water, food — is far more accessible than before. We see nightly bombings and chaos, but even CNN cannot hide in its background shots stores open, people speaking freely on the street, and the economy taking off.
Most Iraqis will grasp that the Baathist prisoners, a few of whom used to torture and kill them, nevertheless will have their treatment scrutinized as never before under confinement — and that Americans found culpable in not ensuring decency will be court-martialed or relieved as they should be and in a way not done in the Middle East. And that message, now lost, will prove all the more powerful six months from now. We might not have much confidence in the Iraqi government to come, but there will be an Iraqi government in less than two months. That fact alone will be of enormous importance, as the shrill threats of al Qaeda attest; they are not so sure of success in waging a war against kindred Arabs crafting the region's first democracy.
So in this election-year carping, we worry only about what we are doing, never the enemy, whose problems are legion and growing. Indeed, there are two constants in this war: Every time the United States engages the enemy it wins, and every time Iraqis are given a chance at a secure, peaceful local election they act responsibly and eschew candidates of violence and hate. Unless those facts change, America will win the peace. If we will fight more aggressively in the shadows while the new government basks in the light of success, the miracle of Iraq will come to pass — and it simply would not have without the likes of a Donald Rumsfeld.
Hold those thoughts. I keep saying this and maybe it's getting tiresome, but it's easy to get mired in the short-term. And when you focus on day-to-day events you lose sight of the progress that is being made.
But it's the long-term that matters, and we simply are not hearing much about our short-term successes - it's the failures that are making the news. The real story - whether we have achieved our long-term goals - will not be out for a while. Those who cry "failure" are doing so before all the facts are in.
May 15, 2004 at 08:49 AM | Permalink
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