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December 06, 2005

Steyn Nails It

...on a number of topics.

Liberal Media:

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, came out with a big statement on Iraq last week. Did you hear about it? Probably not. Everyone was still raving about his Democrat colleague, Rep. Jack Murtha, whose carefully nuanced position on Iraq is: We're all doomed unless we pull out by next Tuesday! (I quote from memory.)

Inconsistency Among Democrats:
But Kerry drones that we need to "set benchmarks" for the "transfer of authority." Actually, the administration's been doing that for two years -- setting dates for the return of sovereignty, for electing a national assembly, for approving a constitution, etc, and meeting all of them. And all during those same two years Kerry and his fellow Democrats have huffed that these dates are far too premature, the Iraqis aren't in a position to take over, hold an election, whatever. The Defeaticrats were against the benchmarks before they were for them.

NewSpeak on the Iraq War:

These sad hollow men may yet get their way -- which is to say they may succeed in persuading the American people that a remarkable victory in the Middle East is in fact a humiliating defeat. It would be an incredible achievement. Peter Worthington, the Canadian columnist and veteran of World War II and Korea, likes to say that there's no such thing as an unpopular won war. The Democrat-media alliance are determined to make Iraq an exception to that rule.

Good News from Iraq:
In a week's time, Iraqis will participate in the most open political contest in the history of the Middle East. They're building the freest society in the region, and the only truly federal system. In three-quarters of the country, life has never been better. There's an economic boom in the Shia south and a tourist boom in the Kurdish north, and, while the only thing going boom in the Sunni Triangle are the suicide bombers, there were fewer of those in November than in the previous seven months.

And a View of History:
Islam and "the West" have a long history. And, without rehashing the last millennium and a half, the Muslim conquest of Europe and then the Crusades and the fall of Andalusia, if you take out a map of the world and look at the rise of the European empires you notice a curious thing: in conquering the world the imperial powers for the most part simply bypassed the Islamic world. They made Africa and South Asia and Latin America and everywhere else seats of European power, but they left the Middle East alone. And, even when they eventually got their hands on the region, after the First World War, they made no serious attempt to reform the neighborhood. We live with the consequences of that today.

So Bush has chosen to embark on a project every other great power of the last half-millennium has shrunk from: the transformation of the Middle East.

Great column, and worth the read. You won't get this side of the story from ABCCBSNBSCNN.

Posted by Doug at December 6, 2005 09:07 AM

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According to the Bush administration at some point:

Saddam is developing nuclear weapons.
Saddam has mobile biological weapons labs.
Our troops will be treated as liberators and showered with flowers.
The war will pay for itself with the profits Iraq makes from the sale of its oil.
The insurgency is in its last throes.
We don't torture.

All of the above statements were false. The people who sold us this war no longer have any credibility. Here are what more honest people are saying now, and their party affiliation is notable:

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel: "Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell: Dick Cheney and a handful of others hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world.

Bush's former Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill: Bush was planning to invade Iraq before 9/11, nearly as soon as he took office.

Looks like it's not just most dems and the press who see reality a little differently than you and Lieberman.

What about citizens of other Middle Eastern countries, where our grand ideas are supposed to be spreading like "dominoes", according to Paul Wolfowitz? From a 6-nation Zogby survey:

"More than two-thirds of respondents disagreed with the statement that the spread of democracy is the goal of the U.S. in the Middle East.

More than four-fifths believe the war in Iraq has brought less peace to the Middle East.

Nearly four-fifths believe the war in Iraq has increased terrorism.

Just fewer than 60 percent believe the war in Iraq has brought less democracy to the region.

Seventy-seven percent believe Iraqis are worse off since the war.

Majorities... ascribe to the U.S. negative motivations, such as securing oil resources, protecting Israel and weakening the Muslim world."

Oh, and as I keep reminding you, a large majority of Iraqi citizens want our troops out... and so does the Iraqi government!

So get off your high horse, Doug. Be thankful that your side has successfully distracted the public from holding the Bush administration accountable for sending us to war for the wrong reasons and then failing to plan for the aftermath.

Oh, and by the way, Murtha was a marine for 37 years. He has maintained close ties to high-ranking members of the armed services since he took public office. He knows what difficulties soldiers face. Don't you think it's a little arrogant to presume you know more about war than he does? Do you feel even a tinge of guilt about encouraging more young Americans to risk their lives while you sate your bloodlust comfortably from your armchair? Do you not see it is misleading to claim a reduction in suicide bombings represents progress when in the same month a near-record number of U.S. troops were killed by insurgents?

As to the "benchmarks" you refer to, they reveal scant evidence of real progress. For example, what practical sovereignty does the Iraqi leadership have? They control precious little.

I agree with you about one thing though: Bush is transforming the Middle East. Just not the way you think. And not cheaply either. Next year the cost of the Iraq debacle is predicted to escalate by another $100 billion of taxpayers' money. By that point it will have cost us over a quarter of a trillion dollars. Maybe you and your buddies can agree to pay for that in the future and my liberal friends and I will agree to pay for the social programs that you guys want to slash.

Posted by: dem at December 9, 2005 12:00 AM