Friday, January 20, 2006

Our War?

Well, here's Victor Davis Hanson's take:

On the principle of one-person one-vote, the United States has somehow enfranchised the hated Shia and Kurds, without demonizing the Sunnis. And the Sunnis will probably end up with political representation commensurate with their numbers, despite a horrific past association with Saddam Hussein and the blood of American soldiers on their hands.

And the response?

Shiites claim that we are caving in to the terrorist supporters of al Qaeda and the former Hussein regime. Sunnis counter that we are only empowering the surrogates of Iranian crazies.

The Iranians show their thanks for our support for their spiritual brethren in Iraq by humiliating European diplomats with promises to wipe out Israel.

In the larger Middle East, the democratic splash in the Iraqi pond is slowly rippling out, as voting proceeds in Egypt and the Gulf, Syria leaves Lebanon, and Moammar Gadhafi and Pakistan’s Dr. Khan cease their nuclear machinations. Hundreds of thousands of protesters hit the streets in Lebanon and Jordan—not to slur the United States, as predicted, for removing Saddam Hussein, but to damn Bashar Assad and al-Zarqawi as terrorist killers.

Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader, now calls for Western pressure to root out the Syrian Baathists.

You’d never know all this from the global media or state-run news services in Europe and the Middle East.

We have sent tens of millions of dollars in earthquake relief to Pakistan, even though for over four years it has given de facto sanctuary to the killers responsible for murdering three thousand Americans. In response, the Pakistani Street expects Americans to provide debt relief, send them aid, excuse their support for our enemies—and then goes wild should we ever cross the border to retaliate against al Qaeda terrorists in their midst who are plotting to trump 9/11.

Americans tried to remain idealistic on the principle that Iraqis, if freed and helped, could craft a workable democracy, and that such consensual governments would make the volatile Middle East safer, since elected and legitimate governments rarely attack their own kind.

In response, the supposedly idealistic Left charged that we were bellicose and imperialistic — as if being on the side of the purple-fingered Iraqi voter was not preferable to being on the side of the terrorist and insurrectionist, who masked his fascism with national rhetoric.

Summarize what the media, the Europeans, the Middle East, and the opposition at home say about Iraq, and the usual narrative is that an initial mistake was made far worse by ideologues, leading to a hopeless situation that only makes the U.S. appear foolish and impotent, while ruining the military, creating a police state at home, and emptying the treasury.

Yet these same critics surely don’t want Saddam Hussein back. They concede that after three successful elections, Iraq just might be the first truly democratic society in the history of the Middle East. And they privately acknowledge that the reputations of Osama bin Laden and Al Zarqawi are on the wane. How was that possible when almost everyone fouled up?