I’m posting this out of order, because the first bit (from the middle, really) is so good:
Weigh that success against the behavior of the media that sees mostly American incompetence. At CBS, Dan Rather insisted to us that a clearly forged memo, but one that fit his own ideological agenda, was authentic. Michael Isikoff relied on one anonymous — and unreliable — source about the purported desecration of a Koran that had serious consequences for thousands in the Middle East. CNN’s executive Eason Jordan admitted that his network passed on coverage of a mass-murdering Saddam Hussein — and later he wrongly alleged that the American military deliberately targeted journalists in Iraq.
Now we hear Time Baghdad Bureau Chief Michael Ware, in a drunken, live interview (“In fact, I’m drinking now…I try to stay as drunk for as long as possible while I’m here”) from the heart of dry Muslim Iraq, recklessly throwing around charges that American soldiers are guilty of manhandling Iraqi women (“We’ve seen allegations that women have been mishandled or roughly handled. That always inflames passions”) and terrorizing civilians (“We’ve also seen insurgents criticize other insurgent groups, ’cause you’re not doing enough to get the chicks out! I mean, that’s how important it can be, this is a matter of great honor, and it’s a spark”). Ware’s are precisely the lies and fantasies that feed the Islamists.
Indeed, the better example of ineptitude in this war lies with the media that demands from others apologies for incompetence that it will never offer itself. Few professions today ask so much of so many others and so very little of themselves.
Yeah! Okay what he’s doing is listing the “eight assumptions” of the opponents of the war (new and old), and then rebutting them:
- Saddam was never connected to al Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11.<br/>
- There was no real threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.<br/>
- The United Nations and our allies were justifiably opposed on principle to the invasion.<br/>
- A small cabal of neoconservative (and mostly Jewish) intellectuals bullied the administration into a war that served Israel’s interest more than our own.<br/>
- Saddam could not be easily deposed, or at least he could not be successfully replaced with a democratic government.<br/>
- The architects of this war and the subsequent occupation are mostly inept (“dangerously incompetent”) — and are exposed daily as clueless by a professional cadre of disinterested journalists.<br/>
- In realist terms, the benefits to be gained from the war will never justify the costs incurred.<br/>
- We cannot win.
We’ve been through the rebuttals a bunch of times, so I’ll just post the good ones:
Fifth, after the three-week victory of April 2003, we have now forgotten the earlier prognostications of millions of refugees, oil wells afire, and thousands of dead that were to follow in Iraq. Twenty-three hundred American fatalities are grievous losses, but must be weighed against three successful elections, and the real chance that such sacrifice might result in the first true Arab democracy emerging in Iraq, with ramifications beyond the Middle East for generations to come. Currently, tens of thousands of Iraqis are the only Arabs in the world who daily risk their lives to fight al Qaeda terrorists — something that just may be in America’s interest.
Had the British and Americans quit in 1943 — after Pearl Harbor, the fall of Singapore and the Philippines, the Kasserine Pass, Tobruk, and other assorted disasters — then the carnage of 1939 to 1943 would have properly been seen as a tragedy that led not to emergence of a free Europe and a reborn Japan, but as needless sacrifice against the unstoppable juggernaut of Asian and German fascism.