I confess that I don't blame people for being tired of the war. I was tired of the war before we invaded Iraq. (In fact, one of my early posts here at MSNBC -- now lost to this site's former archiving system, alas -- was entitled "Confessions of a Weary War-Blogger"). But people are usually tired of wars long before they're over. The phrase is "war is Hell," not "war is amusing."
But it's not just a question of tiredness. As Brendan Miniter notes in the Wall Street Journal, the latest calls for "timetables" have more to do with politics than with strategy:The last thing we need in Iraq is a timeline for withdrawal. Victory sets its own schedule, and it's not contingent on the U.S. election calendar. Arbitrarily forcing a timetable on the battlefield will only aid the enemy. Yet a growing number of politicians are now calling for just that--or, at least, a better (read more negative) official accounting of what's happening in Iraq. With polls showing less support for the war and pols parroting that public opinion, we're in danger of losing sight of how to defeat the enemy.
Sen. Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat, joined the parade over the weekend while also bluntly saying he's looking at a presidential bid in 2008--although he was careful to add that he thinks the next presidential election will turn on national security. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., normally a somewhat sensible Tennessee Democrat, has also joined the procession and hopes his call for a timeline will help win him the Senate seat Bill Frist is vacating. And it's not just Democrats.
Like too many people, these folks see the war as less important than their own immediate political objectives. Better to be President after losing a war than to suffer as a Senator in a nation that's winning, apparently.
Well, that's politics. We had the same thing from the Copperheads in the Civil War.
I know that I am certainly weary of the incessant gloom and doom that greets us every day about Iraq. It seems that people in the media cannot get through a single day without quoting someome from somewhere about how hopeless it is; how useless it it; or how evil it is--depending on whether they want to make us think (a) we'll never win against a determined "insurgency"; (b) even if we win, democracy will never catch on in the Middle East; and (c) even if we are winning, we shouldn't win because we're no better--in fact we're worse than the people we're fighting.
The news cycle seems to rotate among the three spins. The three spins are, in fact, being spun for a very simple reason, and Glenn gets to it at the end:
You'd think that the strategy of overthrowing dictators and encouraging democracy as a way of defeating terrorism would draw support from the left, since it's consistent with the "root causes" talk we heard right after 9/11. But you'd be wrong, and for one simple reason: Bush is doing it.
I'm just another weary war blogger. September 11th is what galvanized me. I have not lost sight of the purpose of winning in Afghanistan or Iraq; and I doubt that I will-but I am exhausted by the coverage of the war on terror. I am exhausted at the continued cluelessness of the Left, which is making winning all that much harder (and costing the lives of many people, I might add, as they continually give encouragement and hope to our enemies). But there are two things that console me.
There is no doubt in my mind that Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri and Zarqawi every one of them-- would have attacked us on American soil if there was any way they could have. By taking the war to them, we have bought some time here. I think our homeland security has improved significantly (considering that we've had to fight tooth and nail to get anything accomplished in the area), but I am realistic enough to know that not even the highest level of security can stop terrorism and fanaticism. And our enemies have both in ample amounts. But President Bush has changed the dynamics of the fight. We are not on the defensive, passively responding to the enemy; we have taken a proactive stance that offers us the long-term hope that we will prevail.
Second, I don't believe I have ever felt as proud of my country as I do now, watching the wave of freedom and democracy that is spreading all over the world. Emboldened by Bush's words and actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, people of many countries have hope for the first time that they will live to see freedom established in their own homelands. My heart swells with a never-before sense of wonder at the resiliency of the human spirit as it cries out for liberation from oppression.
Once more America is a beacon of freedom in the world. The fog-makers and emissaries of the dark in our own country are trying to dim that light; some even are trying to put it out--but they can't, because its bright, clear signal can still pierce their fog and reach the souls in the world who still have the eyes to see it.
So I will keep on blogging. Despite the Durbins and Boxers and Kennedys. In spite of the NY Times and CNN and CBS. In spite of Kos and Atrios and the DU. In spite of Krugman and Dowd and Moore and Penn etc. etc. and so on.
Because Bush is doing it.