Saturday, January 15, 2005

Pessimistic Confusion

At VDH Private Papers, Victor Davis Hanson details the inconsistencies and ever-changing platitudes of the critics of the Iraq War. After documenting a number of them, he notes:

There are many constants in all this pessimistic confusion — beside the fact that we are becoming a near hysterical society. First, our miraculous efforts in toppling the Taliban and Saddam have apparently made us forget war is always a litany of mistakes. No conflict is conducted according to either antebellum planning or can proceed with the benefit of hindsight. Iraq was not Yemen or Qatar, but rather the most wicked regime in the world, in the heart of the Arab world, full of oil, terrorists, and mass graves. There were no helpful neighbors to keep a lid on their own infiltrating jihadists. Instead we had to go into the heart of the caliphate, take out a mass murderer, restore civil society after 30 years of brutality, and ward off Sunni and Baathist fomenters in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria — all the while keeping out Iranian-Shiite agents bent on stopping democracy. The wonder is not that there is violence and gloom in Iraq, but that less than two years after Saddam was removed, elections are still on track.

VDH goes on to discuss the "follies" of WWII, which we now look at as a model of military success, but which--if judged by the standards being applied to Iraq-- was a debacle and a quagmire, especially the post-war period.

And yet our greatest generation thought by and large they had done pretty well. We in contrast would have given up in despair in 1942, New York Times columnists and NPR pundits pontificating "I told you so" as if we were better off sitting out the war all along.

How did we come to let our perspective be determined by 30 second soundbites? When did we begin to expect instantaneous gratification and lose interest if anything became difficult or too dangerous? When did we embrace hysteria as a model of coping with challenges? In short--when did we regress from adult to adolescent?

The "greatest generation" was great precisely because they were mature enough to understand that the really important things in life don't come easy. They take hard work and sacrifice. They take time and energy and committment. To rid the world of Hitler and his insanity required fully mature, grown-up people who could deal with crises and setbacks, and yet continue to fight for what was right, as long as necessary.

The war we are fighting now will require as much--if not more--dedication and maturity. Go ahead and read the whole article.

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