Stop the taunting, says Hitchens
Maria sent me this article, Nowhere To Go: Stop the taunting, and let’s have a real debate about the Iraq war (emphasis mine)
But all right, let’s stay with withdrawal. Withdraw to where, exactly? When Jeanette Rankin was speaking so powerfully on Capitol Hill against U.S. entry into World War I, or Sen. W.E. Borah and Charles Lindbergh were making the same earnest case about the remoteness from American concern of the tussles in Central and Eastern Europe in 1936 and 1940, it was possible to believe in the difference between “over here” and “over there.” There is not now—as we have good reason to know from the London Underground to the Palestinian diaspora murdered in Amman to the no-go suburbs of France—any such distinction. Has the ludicrous and sinister President Jacques Chirac yet designed his “exit strategy” from the outskirts of Paris? Even Rep. Murtha glimpses his own double-standard futility, however dimly, when he calls for U.S. forces to be based just “over the horizon” in case of need. And what horizon, my dear congressman, might that be?
The atom bomb, observed Albert Einstein, “altered everything except the way we think.” A globe-spanning war, declared and prosecuted against all Americans, all apostates, all Christians, all secularists, all Jews, all Hindus, and most Shiites, is not to be fought by first ceding Iraq and then seeing what happens “over the horizon.” But to name the powerful enemies of jihad I have just mentioned is also to spell out some of the reasons why the barbarians will—and must—be defeated. If you prefer, of course, you can be bound in a nutshell and count yourself a king of infinite space and reduce this to the historic struggle between Lewis Libby and—was it Valerie Plame? The word “isolationist” at least used to describe something real, even “realistic.” The current exit babble is illusory and comprehends neither of the above.
Max Boot points out in today’s LA Times
- 47% of Iraqis polled said their country was headed in the right direction, as opposed to 37% who said they thought that it was going in the wrong direction. And 56% thought things would be better in six months.
- 64% of military officers are confident that we will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq
- to two successful elections this year, on Jan. 30 and Oct. 15, in which the majority of Iraqis braved insurgent threats to vote. The constitutional referendum in October was particularly significant because it marked the first wholesale engagement of Sunnis in the political process. Since then, Sunni political parties have made clear their determination to also participate in the Dec. 15 parliamentary election. This is big news. The most disaffected group in Iraq is starting to realize that it must achieve its objectives through ballots, not bullets. (note: The Husband had made that point last month)
- per capita income has doubled since 2003 and is now 30% higher than it was before the war
- the Iraqi economy is projected to grow at a whopping 16.8% next year
- Before 2003 there was not a single independent media outlet in Iraq. Today, Brookings reports, there are 44 commercial TV stations, 72 radio stations and more than 100 newspapers.
Iraq the model explains,
I say it again, those who claim they speak for all or most Iraqis and that troops withdrawal is a public demand should enter the election and wait for the results and when he wins, then he will have the right to say so because only then, he would be representing the people.
As Hitchens says,
How appalling it would be, at just the moment when “the Arab street” (another dispelled figment that its amen corner should disown) has begun to turn against al-Qaida and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, if those voters should detect an American impulse to fold or “withdraw.”
Which is exactly why we should stay the course, and win.
Update: The Anchoress posts on 200,000 people taking to the Arab streets.
Update 2 Victor Davis Hanson: those on the battlefield of Iraq have almost pulled off the unthinkable — the restructuring of the politics of the Middle East in less than three years.