It is important to remember that most of us (including most politicians) see Iraq through the Western Media, an overwhelmingly liberal conglomeration that is stridently anti-Bush and anti-Republican. This media has now stooped to unfettered airing of Fascist propaganda, consequences to the nation be damned, because they think it will hurt the GOP. And even without their political bent, when was the last time we heard a report on Iraq politics? Successes of any kind? Ba'athist death stats alongside the American death numbers? Most reporters never leave the green zone, and face abduction and beheadings if they do. No thinking person can or should take most news reports from Iraq simply at face value, or think they represent the whole of the situation in that country.
Articles like this one from Amir Taheri give me hope:
Iraq today is the central battlefield in the global war between two mutually exclusive visions of the future. Yet the jihadists now know they can't win on that battlefield. After three years of near-daily killings, often in the most horrible manner imaginable, they've failed to alter Iraq's political agenda. Nor have they won control of any territory or even broadened their constituency.All Americans must understand that the enemy intends to use our media and our perceived soft impatience against us. Declarations of defeat or calls to retreat behind our porous borders must be seen in the context of this Jihadist goal. Those Americans and other Westerners who make such proclamations do not understand the central strategy of attrition our enemy has employed since Osama was first emboldened by our flight from Somalia. Remember, this strategy worked against us in Vietnam, in Cuba, in Yemen, in Beirut, in Iran (until Reagan), in Somalia, and even in pre-9/11 Iraq. Either we left completely, or gave only token responses.
The jihadists have suffered thousands of casualties, with many more captured by Coalition forces and the new Iraqi army and police. Despite more than 120 suicide operations, and countless attacks on civilian targets, the jihadists have been on the defensive since they lost their chief base at Fallujah last year. Their strategic weakness: They can't translate their killings into political gains inside Iraq.
They kill teachers and children, but schools stay open. They kill doctors and patients, but hospitals still function. They kill civil servants, but the ministries are crawling back into operation. They kidnap and murder foreign businessmen, but more keep coming. They massacre volunteers for the new army and police, but the lines of those wishing to join grow longer.
They blow up pipelines and kill oil workers, but oil still flows. They kill judges and lawyers, but Iraq's new courts keep on working. They machine-gun buses carrying foreign pilgrims, but the pilgrims come back in growing numbers. They kill newspaper boys, but newspapers still get delivered every day.
Not since 1945 have we shown the collective will as a nation to truly defeat a world-wide enemy. Even when Reagan inspired us to victory in the Cold War, he did it with a reluctant Congress and a hostile press drug along behind. Some Democrats and that same press, bitter over the public's choosing of Reagan over them, are now seeking their revenge in what I charitably assume they must not know would be a devastating pyrrhic victory. They cannot see past Bush, and so they are blind to the greater needs of American security. And in part because Bush lacks so many of Reagan's gifts, millions of Americans are happy to follow down this unthinking and unthinkable path.
Is our enemy right? Have we given up?
America is the only nation with the power, strength, and influence to stop the millions and millions (and growing) adherents to the Jihadist Culture of Death, dedicated to world wide imposition of Sharia law. Europe is under assault, has already all but capitulated. Israel has lost their first war. The UN is in the pocket of the enemy, and Russia and China care nothing for American safety. We stand alone.
But just as we are the only nation who can win this clash of civilization against barbarism, this conflict is also ours - and ours alone - to lose. Far too many of us are bent on doing just that, even while blind to the peril they are putting us all in.
I am still optimistic that our great Republic and our Constitution have many more centuries of life, and that this grave threat shall be overcome by the forces of good. But I have for many years now given up the notion that victory is a foregone conclusion.
It's up to us. All of us. Up to CNN not to demoralize us with needless and newsless snuff films; up to Republicans to stop being stubborn and be more flexible and more ruthless; up to Democrats to shake of their hippy past and stop letting the enemy use them for their rhetoric, or to think more cargo inspections will keep us safe; up to our security agencies not to leak classified information to the press for any reason. We don't need to grow victory gardens or ration rubber, but we do need to stand up and say to the Islamo-Fascists with one voice that we will stay in Iraq because they are there, and will not leave until they are gone. And we will stay in Afghanistan because they are there. And we will stay on Iran's case because their belligerence is incompatible with Democracy's survival.
It's up to us. Can we do it?