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December 01, 2005

The Politics Of Victory

Reading the New York Times' unhinged reaction to Bush's speech reminded me once again that there are many "Americans" who would rather see Al Qaeda win than a Republican President.

I'll just keep quoting Gary Kamiya, writing in Salon after the Fall of Baghdad:

I have a confession: I have at times, as the war has unfolded, secretly wished for things to go wrong. Wished for the Iraqis to be more nationalistic, to resist longer. Wished for the Arab world to rise up in rage. Wished for all the things we feared would happen. I'm not alone: A number of serious, intelligent, morally sensitive people who oppose the war have told me they have had identical feelings.

Seems like he got his wish. Is he happier now?

Some of this is merely the result of pettiness--ignoble resentment, partisan hackdom, the desire to be proved right and to prove the likes of Rumsfeld wrong, irritation with the sanitizing, myth-making American media. That part of it I feel guilty about, and disavow. But some of it is something trickier: It's a kind of moral bet-hedging, based on a pessimism not easy to discount, in which one's head and one's heart are at odds.

Many antiwar commentators have argued that once the war started, even those who oppose it must now wish for the quickest, least-bloody victory followed by the maximum possible liberation of the Iraqi people. But there is one argument against this: What if you are convinced that an easy victory will ultimately result in a larger moral negative--four more years of Bush, for example, with attendant disastrous policies, or the betrayal of the Palestinians to eternal occupation, or more imperialist meddling in the Middle East or elsewhere?

Wishing for things to go wrong is the logical corollary of the postulate that the better things go for Bush, the worse they will go for America and the rest of the world.

The Democratic Party and the New York Times (and the whole of the MSM) have a vested political interest in American defeat. They want America to lose. If America loses, Bush loses. If America loses, the Republicans lose. If America loses, the media and the Democratic Party wins. The Democrats take Congress and perhaps the Presidency, the media regains (it thinks) its supposed old reputation as an objective truth teller and National Repository of Wisdom In All Matters.

It's quite true that Bush and the Republicans have a vested political interest in the outcome of this war, too. As has been said too many times to easily count, Bush's Presidency depends on victory. If he wins in Iraq, he will be a successful president; if he is defeated, he will be a debacle.

While there's a selfish interest there, it can't help be noticed that Bush's selfish interest happens to coincide with the national interest. Whereas the Democrats' selfish interest is directly contrary to it.

I simply cannot trust a party or media which has such a powerful interest in American defeat and humiliation. After Bush's speech, liberal media and the Democratic Party have, shockingly enough, joined forces to advance the argument that Bush is too "blinded" by unrealistic dreams of American victory to see the "realities" in Iraq.

Can the Democratic Party and mainstream media not examine themselves to see if they are similarly too blinded by unrealistic dreams of American defeat to objectively judge the situation?

Does Al Qaeda in Iraq engage in actual military actions against US troops?

Are successful attacks against US troops up or down?

Is there a strong possibility that Al Qaeda will gain in strength at this point?

Is there any real hope that Al Qaeda and the Ba'athist revanchists will actually reconquer the country, either with or without a strong American presence there?

On that last point, the answer is clearly "No." The "insurgency" is not a popular one in the sense that we are fighting the majority of the population, and imposing a government on the majority which they do not want. The insurgency is a minority of a minority -- a number of committed murderers who hope to bring back a small unpopular minority ethnic group into power against the wishes of the Shi'as and Kurds -- and has no realistic hope of ever attaining a military or political victory.

They can kill, but they can't capture power.

That doesn't mean, however, that we should abandon Iraq now, or that it is safe to do so. Al Qaeda can't actually win, but they can be defeated. And it's important to do so -- not only does this deny them a powerful psychological victory, it gives us a working, pluralistic, democratic Arab state friendly to our interests.

Does anyone in the Democratic Party or MSM actually think that if we withdraw from Iraq, all of those terrorists will go back to herding goats?

Of course not. They will have carved out safe haven in Sunni areas of Iraq and will have a base of operations to freely plan and execute further attacks against America.

The Democratic Party and MSM cannot be allowed to prevail. Ultimately, though they don't admit to themselves as Gary Kamiya did, they seek a victory for Al Qaeda, for they have, by their own conscious choice, aligned their interests with the terrorists'.


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posted by Ace at 11:43 AM

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