(Yeah, another post supporting the war...)

Much as I'm glad that M. Simon is posting here, I'm afraid he's spoiled me with his Iraq war blogging. My view of the war is that I support it, I have always supported it, and I will continue to support it right up until the left finally forces the United States to withdraw and abandon yet another ally.

Unfortunately, this war could still take years to win, and while the military is fully capable of staying in and doing whatever needs to be done to stabilize Iraq, because of the nature of the political system, this country does not have the years to spare.

M. Simon is willing to say over and over again what I am not willing to say over and over again. His "never again" post reminded me what I just told him in an email:

....people need to be a little more farsighted than to get so caught up in hating a particular president that they shoot themselves in the foot. Bush will be gone, but if we lose this war, the effects may be irreparable.

Of course, to a true BDS type, it will always be Bush's fault.

Watching this film simply reminded me why it is necessary to support our allies in this war. It's an interview with a Kurdish leader -- the simple and poignant message of which is "Please don't leave." (Via Glenn Reynolds, who also links this statement about choosing to lose:
It's up to you The Iraq war is lost or won if the American people choose to lose or win it. With the way things are going at the moment, I perfectly understand why they might choose to give up on the war. But that is not because the war is inherently unwinnable by a country as great and rich and powerful as the United States.
Choosing to lose and betraying our allies will quite possibly be a worse stain than Vietnam.

So, I don't write posts about this. It kills me to have to write posts about this. There is nothing I would less rather do. As I have said many times, I am unqualified to be a war blogger as I have no military experience, no security clearances, and no access to any information other than what floats around on the Internet. It makes me very angry to have to write posts supporting the war, and I have to say, I do blame Bush, because I think that as Commander in Chief, he's the one who bears the primary responsibility not just to wage the war but to defend it. He's doing such a piss-poor PR job that many conservatives are abandoning him and the war. I support the war, but I've said it so many times that it infuriates me to feel obligated to say so again.

Sorry that none of this is witty or clever or entertaining, but I don't know what else to say.

I mean, what should I say? Don't lose the war?

I'd like to think that would be obvious.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Perhaps I should make it clear that what I am complaining about is not war fatigue so much as it is repetition fatigue. There are only so many ways to say "Don't lose the war." I think that what is frequently called "war fatigue" in this country is not really war fatigue, because the people who are fatigued are not actually fighting in the war; they're just weary of hearing about it. Perhaps some of them are like me in that they're sick of arguments.

Perhaps it's worth keeping in mind that being sick of an argument over a war should never be mistaken for being sick of the war itself, much less being no longer inclined to support it.

"Repetitious argument fatigue" is not war fatigue!

I do wish that supporting the war didn't include an obligation to repeat myself, but it's remarkable how many people there are who will read things into silence. In logic, of course, silence no more means supporting something than opposing it -- which means that there was no logical need for me to write this post.

But I wrote it because some people are not logical. And I know that some people might think that my not writing regular blog posts supporting the war means I don't support the war.

I just thought this would be a good time to remind them that if they think that, they are wrong.

My thanks to M. Simon for making the process easier for me.

MORE: William F. Buckley Jr. has weighed in, opining that this is different from Vietnam because of the lack of a clear enemy at a fixed location:

...in Vietnam we had Hanoi as the operative headquarters of the enemy, we have no equivalent of that in Iraq, and that is a matter of paralyzing importance. All those bombings, explosions, assassinations: we are driven to believe that they are, so to speak, spontaneous.
Buckley analogizes to Christianity and the fall of Rome, and worries that the GOP cannot survive Iraq:
When the Romans were challenged by Christianity, Rome fell. The generation of Christians moved by their faith overwhelmed the regimented reserves of the Roman state. It was four years ago that Mr. Cheney first observed that there was a real fear that each fallen terrorist leads to the materialization of another terrorist. What can a "surge," of the kind we are now relying upon, do to cope with endemic disease? The parallel even comes to mind of the eventual collapse of Prohibition, because there wasn't any way the government could neutralize the appetite for alcohol, or the resourcefulness of the freeman in acquiring it.

General Petraeus is a wonderfully commanding figure. But if the enemy is in the nature of a disease, he cannot win against it. Students of politics ask then the derivative question: How can the Republican party, headed by a president determined on a war he can't see an end to, attract the support of a majority of the voters? General Petraeus, in his Pentagon briefing on April 26, reported persuasively that there has been progress, but cautioned, "I want to be very clear that there is vastly more work to be done across the board and in many areas, and again I note that we are really just getting started with the new effort."

The general makes it a point to steer away from the political implications of the struggle, but this cannot be done in the wider arena. There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican party will survive this dilemma.

Really just getting started? I don't think Americans are incapable of supporting a longterm occupation (we were in Japan and Germany for decades), but someone in a position of power needs to level with them -- and do so with a strong, honest, confident, articulate voice.

As to Christianity and the fall of Rome, I don't know who Buckley thinks are analogous to Christians. Certainly the Islamists are not, for Christianity did not win by waging jihadist-style war against Rome, but eventually took over by steadily gaining in numbers. Rome was still fairly strong at the time of Constantine the Great, although the empire shifted noticeably East, and the actual fall took place in the West a century or so later. If Buckley's point is that the old polytheist Rome was incompatible with monotheism, I can see it, but I'm not sure that's a good analogy to the present situation.

OTOH, perhaps he's arguing that John Lennon-style pacifism is taking over inside the United States. I hope that's not the case.

MORE: In an editorial titled "Al Qaeda is the problem," Lawrence Kudlow asks Harry Reid an ominous question:

A final question for Mr. Reid: If, as he says, we have "lost" the Iraq war, who exactly has won? Who is the winner, Mr. Reid? Who would you like the United States to surrender to?

It's not the Sunnis. It's not the Ba'athists. It's not the Shi'ites. And it's certainly not Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In conventional warfare terms, Harry Reid is suggesting we surrender to al Qaeda.

Does the majority leader of the U.S. Senate understand his own unthinkable conclusion?

Read it all.

posted by Eric on 04.30.07 at 03:22 PM


Choosing to lose and betraying our allies will quite possibly be a worse stain than Vietnam.

Heck, it'd be the same stain as Vietnam, as far as I'm concerned. We (Congress) threw the Republic of Vietnam to the wolves.

Of course, same thing happened to the Iraqi dissidents post-Gulf-War.

This is a pattern the US can ill-afford to establish.

Sigivald   ·  April 30, 2007 5:28 PM

Witness this spoilt little child stomping his foot and throwing a tantrum. I want my victory!

What a fucking pissant.

antiphone   ·  April 30, 2007 6:57 PM

Oooh baby! Give me some of that tough love!

The only thing is, you left out my "completely self-absorbed narcissism." But I am glad you care.

Eric Scheie   ·  April 30, 2007 7:03 PM

I believe the spoilt little child actually said "don't lose". There is a world of difference between victory and not being defeated. We fight the jihadis not to have our civilization turned into ... theirs. If were were after victory, we'd already have it.

Socrates   ·  April 30, 2007 7:16 PM

Nemo in bello vincit.

Anonymous   ·  April 30, 2007 9:09 PM

"Nemo in bello vincit."

Empirically untrue.

Also, to antiphone, thanks for proving Simon's earlier point about the lack of any real intellectual depth in the left these days.

S Wisnieski   ·  April 30, 2007 9:23 PM

"Lack of intellectual depth."

If anything, the planning, execution, and thought of as a some America-hating BDS-suffering Deoperation of this war, from beginning to present, has been so plainly wrong that you begin to wonder why, in post after post, everyone who criticizes the war is relentlessly dismissed as some America-hating, BDS-suffering Defeatocrat who only thinks in terms of the 2008 elections.

Maybe, just maybe, "victory," at least in the vague, amorphous way you define it, is no longer possible. We don't have the will, the the manpower, the machinery, the morale, the leadership, and dare I say it, the brainpower, to win this.

Those of us who first supported the war have only ourselves to blame. Blaming others for being more perceptive about this ungodly disaster only prolongs one's fundamental ignorance of what is really happening to Iraq.


The Mechanical Eye   ·  April 30, 2007 10:58 PM

I didn't use the word "victory." I'm talking about staying there as long as our friends need us -- rather than pulling out and handing them over to al Qaeda. If al Qaeda takes over in Iraq, then you'll see an ungodly disaster.

And if the troops are pulled out, I think it will be the fault of those who pulled them out, not those who sent them in.

Eric Scheie   ·  April 30, 2007 11:32 PM

"Maybe, just maybe, "victory," at least in the vague, amorphous way you define it, is no longer possible. We don't have the will, the the manpower, the machinery, the morale, the leadership, and dare I say it, the brainpower, to win this."

I understand your point.

The Iraqis are not worth even one American death. When we do the balance sheet on this war we must count Iraqi lives as worth zero.

M. Simon   ·  April 30, 2007 11:49 PM

Then once the Iraqis count for nothing it is impossible to justify any American effort.

"THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." Thomas Paine

M. Simon   ·  May 1, 2007 12:00 AM

So yeah, my fair weather friends. Give in to tyranny and despots.

Salve your concience with "its only Iraqis".

Make yourself feel better by saying that once we are out they will not follow us home. After all we are strong and they are weak. Haven't we proved our strength by surrendering Iraq to them? Why would they ever think of following us home after we have given them what they want?

We have the example of the Austrian Corporal. Wasn't he satisfied with Czechoslovakia? Didn't the abandonment of Czechoslovakia bring Peace For Our Time?

Abandoning Iraq will bring us peace. This time giving in to brigands will get us what we desire. For sure.

M. Simon   ·  May 1, 2007 12:09 AM

“When the Romans were challenged by Christianity, Rome fell. The generation of Christians moved by their faith overwhelmed the regimented reserves of the Roman state.” – Buckley

When I read that I wondered what the hell was Buckley talking about? But you obviously had the same response. The Romans, as you note, converted to Christianity. Constantine legalized and supported Christianity in 312 AD and by the end of the century it was the state religion.

Rome was sacked in 410 AD by the Goths and Hippo fell to the Vandals in 430 AD. However, both were Christian, heretical Christians in the eye of the Orthodox, but Christians nevertheless. The Roman Empire continued to exist in the East until it was conquered by Islam in 1453 AD.

So is Buckley ready to surrender to Islam? He stood up to Communism but Islam apparently isn’t as bad. This sounds familiar.

Jason Pappas   ·  May 1, 2007 2:52 PM

I was opposed to the war, back when it was not fashionable to be opposed to it. I was also opposed to the decade of sanctions before that. If we wanted Saddam gone, we should have bumped him off in 1991.

The US violated the fundamental insight of Henry Kissinger -- that our strategic interest lay in both Iraq and Iran losing. By destroying the Iraqi government and then forcing the country into looted anarchy, we have utterly imbalanced the region. Sure, the neocons had a pretty vision of a possible future -- but that future did not come about.

Our last best hope for pulling anything positive out of this mess is Kurdistan. But that is absolutely hobbled by Turkey's (understandable) hatred toward any notion of an independent and wealthy Kurdistan. Meanwhile the rest of the country will either be a battleground or be in Iran's orbit.

I see no good coming of pulling out of Iraq. But I also see no good coming from keeping American troops there.

Fritz   ·  May 1, 2007 3:53 PM

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