Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fear of Success

Eminent neo-conservative writer Norman Podhoretz has written an article that seeks to expose the truth about our situation in Iraq.

Reflecting on the current anti-war conundrum, Podhoretz recalls the quintessential 1776 Thomas Paine essay that became the first in the American Crisis series. It was written in a season of immense panic about the state of the war. We have a similar panic occurring today, but there is a stark difference. “In that early stage of the Revolutionary War, there was sound reason to fear that the British would succeed in routing Washington's forces. In Iraq today, however, and in the Middle East as a whole, a successful outcome is staring us in the face.”

Podhoretz is puzzled by the “increasingly frenzied” anti-war rhetoric. He documents how the MSM coverage of the war stands in profound contrast to the actual state of affairs. He notes the clever ploy of brazen hostility against the military under the guise of feigning concern for the lives of American soldiers. He discusses the antiwar rhetoric in a fair amount of detail. His writing is actually fairly entertaining as well as enlightening.

Podhoretz takes each of the most favored anti-war arguments one by one, and without the filter sensational emotionalism reasons through each one to show that each is in reality a paper tiger. He includes the multiple mistakes that have been made in Iraq, but concludes that by any historical standard, these “amount to chump change,” and have not substantially prevented us from making historically unprecedented progress.

Citing the continual positive feedback from multiple close-range observers outside of the MSM, Podhoretz says that our nation building is going rather swimmingly, despite “the persistence of major problems” and the fact “that we still have a long way to go before Iraq becomes secure, stable and democratic.”

The dichotomy between the way things really are and the “increasingly desperate” reporting of the MSM causes Podhoretz to assert that the antiwar crowd is actually fearful of American success in Iraq. He coins the phrase “the Vietnam syndrome” to put a name to the military-detesting “religion” of the Left. He says that success in Iraq could deal a fatal blow to this religion. He argues that the increasing panic on the Left is because they can see the writing on the wall, and they hate the fact that military actions they despise are delivering “better things … than are dreamed of in their philosophy.”

As I read the article, I was reminded of a discussion I heard between Michael Medved and an articulate antiwar activist. Mr. Medved pinned the activist down on every single of the antiwar crowd’s favorite talking points, demonstrating that there was essentially nothing behind them. The activist had no substantive answer for any of the (strongly ignored) evidences of success in Iraq. The activist finally fell back on an extremely bigoted argument that essentially stated that the people of the Middle East are irredeemable – that even if they do vote democratically, it will be bad because they will select leaders not bearing our government’s stamp of approval.

Podhoretz concludes by calling on Americans to “take pride in the nobility of what the United States, at whose birth Tom Paine assisted, is now, more than 200 years later, battling to achieve in Iraq and, in the fullness of time, in the entire region of which Iraq is so crucial a part.” I wholeheartedly agree.


Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled with this desire to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by Democrats among others. We are so close, why give up now? I personally believe that what will happen is one day we will wake up and realize that the war is over and we won. Basically the insurrection will have collapsed, something similar to how the intifada has in essence collapsed against Israel. The challenge of course is the fact we don't know when this will happen. It may happen shortly after the elections. (Though I think that is overly optimistic.) But if we persevere, we will triumph.

Scott Hinrichs said...

It also might not be completely clear when success is achieved, as has been the case in many wars. I like Podhoretz's argument that the reason for the desire to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is that success will invalidate one of the basic beliefs of the anti-military religion of the Left.