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November 14, 2004

What Lies Ahead

I hear the voices in my head
I swear to god it sounds like they're snoring
But if you're bored, then you're boring
The agony and the irony, they're killing me...

As Victor Davis Hanson points out, to be George Bush is to live in a world defined by irony. It's a thankless job:

Europe offers a similar paradox. Our Western cousins have chosen a path far different from our own, on almost every social, economic, and military issue. Throughout this war Europeans have snickered that over-the-top Americans blast their way across the globe, leaving needless wreckage in their wake, in their Team America-like search for mythical jihadists. But ask the Dutch, who, as thanks for crafting the most liberal society in Europe, are now living in fear of a jihadist assassination campaign. Or talk to the Spanish — whose appeasement after the Madrid bombing earned them an Islamist plot to obliterate their Supreme Court judges. France — in its old blow-up-Greenpeace mood — claims that it only supports the use of force in extremis, but then almost immediately exploded the tiny air force of the Ivory Coast on news that nine of its soldiers were killed, prompting thousands of Africans to hit the streets in anti-Gallic rage.

The only difference in the American use of force has been one of magnitude: We lose 3,000 — not 9 — and send out 1,000 planes — not 3 — when attacked. Why does France get a pass in its postcolonial interventions? Simply because there are no French to criticize them. For all the European hysteria over the reelection of George Bush, I would wager that privately, leaders there are sighing with relief that a resolute U.S. is fighting the Islamists, taking the heat, and supplying them with both emotional and material cover at no cost. How can you buy off the Iranians to drop their bomb plans without fear by the mullahs that a cowboy George Bush is the dreaded alternative?

George Bush thus will get no credit for elections replacing the Taliban or for the liberation of women in Afghanistan, much less for democracy in Iraq. Instead he will be the target of constant venom for the human costs of war, with the silent proviso that he is not to cease, lest a Holland, France, or Spain become even more besieged by anti-Western jihadists emboldened by American appeasement. Indeed, Bush must endure elite European hatred, even as the majority there silently expects the United States to maintain the alliance and protect the West.

Most Americans — in the movies they watch, the TV shows they view, the radio they hear, the abortions they receive, the sexual practices they choose, and the fashion and entertainment they enjoy — do not feel they are straight-jacketed by a Christian fundamentalist society. And yet we are told that the new jihadists are not Islamists, but our own Christians who are implementing a continental-wide red-state Jesusland.

At its richest, most populous stage in its history, the United States, after reeling from a devastating blow to its financial and military nerve centers, in less than three years toppled the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, implemented elections in Afghanistan and scheduled them in Iraq, prevented another 9/11-like attack — and so far has tragically lost about 1,100 in combat in a war against a virulent fascism that is antithetical to every aspect of Western liberty. Our grandfathers would have considered all this a miraculous military achievement. We call it a quagmire, deride our leaders as liars and traitors, and often doubted that our Marines — the greatest street-fighting besiegers in the history of warfare, who stormed Manila, Seoul, Hue, and Panama City — could take Fallujah last April.

George Bush is asked to win the war without losing Americans. He must defeat Islamists, but not kill too many jihadists on global television. His second term must deal with everything from jobs and globalization, energy dilemmas, fickle Europeans, and a war where winning is sometimes seen as losing. Entitlements are out of control, yet his critics don't want cuts, but rather further increases. In such a topsy-turvy world, all that will see him through are his iron will to stay firm and consistent in face of a global media barrage. He must smile more, keep far quieter, seem much nicer — and carry an even a bigger stick. God help him, because few others will.

- Cassandra

November 14, 2004 at 09:02 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Supurb piece.

Posted by: spd rdr at Nov 14, 2004 10:01:15 AM

He can't win; the expectations are ridiculous if not impossible. We are in something as monumental and important to our country as the Cold War was, perhaps moreso; very few realize it. He is in my most serious prayers. Great piece, C.-Cao

Posted by: Cao at Nov 14, 2004 10:51:56 AM

I was so staggered by the poignancy, by the sheer unfortunate logic of Mr. Hanson’s piece, I found myself without expression. Unfortunately, this uncommon state of personal affairs is usually short-lived.

"In such a topsy-turvy world, all that will see him through are his iron will to stay firm and consistent in face of a global media barrage. He must smile more, keep far quieter, seem much nicer — and carry an even a bigger stick. God help him, because few others will."

No, Mr. Hanson, there are more than a few willing to help him; fifty-nine million to be exact, and many times that number now under the yoke of one form of oppession or another. Some of us will pray for his guidance and support, and others will badger our elected representatives to counter his opposition, both here and abroad, with respectful, but resolute support for policies and objectives that further the principles enunciated in our own Declaration of Independence: that every individual, anywhere, is entitled to his or her life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is our banner. That is our goal. Any deviation, whether at home or abroad, is in contravention of this simple, elegant, and just vision of human society.
How can I help, sir?

Posted by: spd rdr at Nov 14, 2004 12:33:51 PM

It kind of blew me away too. How often do I post something without blathering on and on?

Today for some reason I am having trouble finding words for anything.

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 14, 2004 12:59:11 PM

The Left will never understand Bush. They are dealing with a man of conviction, and that is something so terribly alien to their understanding of just how the world is run.

Posted by: RIslander at Nov 14, 2004 1:13:59 PM

What seems tragically odd to me is that they should so fear and distrust genuine conviction.

I have said many times that I don't attend church.

I don't even pray every night.

But there have been times in my life when I have felt the presence of God and I have felt utterly at peace. I don't fear the existence of something greater than myself; something I don't fully understand or, unfortunately, submit myself to.

I am thankful for it. I am open to the possibility that I am not the be-all and end-all of the universe.

It seems so close-minded to me to fear and detest everything everything outside your own narrow little frame of reference. The sneering, shallow cynics who deride people of faith seem to me to be afraid of their own shadows - they are crouched in the corner with their hands over their ears. What are they so afraid of?

That this is all there is? Or that there is so much more out there, and they are too cowardly and parochial-minded to reach out and experience it?

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 14, 2004 1:24:15 PM

I am reminded of the admonition:
Don't worry if you have doubts in God, He has no doubts in you.

*sigh*

Posted by: spd rdr at Nov 14, 2004 2:41:34 PM

I have never understood how true faith is possible in the absence of doubt. Just as true courage is not possible without its opposite: fear.

Faith lies in overcoming and struggling with doubt. I've never seen much point in a God who wanted a bunch of mindless automatons. We have free will. That is what gives meaning to belief: the fact that one could so easily do otherwise.

It is ironic that twits like Maureen Dowd always seek to portray Christians as mindless, hypnotized drones even as they paint them as maniacal, ruthless psychopaths....make up your mind - which is it?

Is Bush an helpless bumbling idio who can't decide what to do on his own so he listens to the voices in his head? Or an evil criminal Nazi mastermind who is single-mindedly ending democracy as we know it?

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 14, 2004 4:30:26 PM

GOD BLOESS CASSANDRA1

Posted by: C. D. Eubanks, CPO, USN RETIRED at Nov 14, 2004 8:34:55 PM

Indeed.

Posted by: spd rdr at Nov 14, 2004 10:50:04 PM

I've already been blessed - I have you guys.

Thanks :)

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 15, 2004 6:20:57 AM