Yesterday, I crisscrossed Baghdad, visiting communities on both banks of the Tigris and logging at least 25 miles on the streets. With the weekend curfew lifted, I saw traffic jams, booming business — and everyday life in abundance.
Yes, there were bombings yesterday. The terrorists won't give up on their dream of sectional strife, and know they can count on allies in the media as long as they keep the images of carnage coming. They'll keep on bombing. But Baghdad isn't London during the Blitz, and certainly not New York on 9/11.
It's more like a city suffering a minor, but deadly epidemic. As in an epidemic, no one knows who will be stricken. Rich or poor, soldier or civilian, Iraqi or foreigner. But life goes on. No one's fleeing the Black Death — or the plague of terror.
And the people here have been impressed that their government reacted effectively to last week's strife, that their soldiers and police brought order to the streets. The transition is working.
Most Iraqis want better government, better lives — and democracy. It is contagious, after all. Come on over. Talk to them. Watch them risk their lives every day to work with us or with their government to build their own future.
Oh, the attacks will continue. They're even predictable, if not always preventable. Driving through Baghdad's Kerada Peninsula District, my humvee passed long gas lines as people waited to fill their tanks in the wake of the curfew. I commented to the officer giving me a lift that the dense lines of cars and packed gas stations offered great targets to the terrorists. An hour later, one was hit with a car bomb.
The bombing made headlines (and a news photographer just happened to be on the scene). Here in Baghdad, it just made the average Iraqis hate the terrorists even more.
You are being lied to. By elements in the media determined that Iraq must fail. Just give 'em the Bronx cheer.
VDH on the mosque bombing:
But here at home you would have thought that our own capitol dome had exploded. Indeed, Americans more than the Iraqis needed such advice for calm to quiet our own frenzy. Almost before the golden shards of the mosque hit the pavement, pundits wrote off the war as lost--as we heard the tired metaphors of "final straw" and "camel's back" mindlessly repeated. The long-anticipated civil strife among Shiites and Sunnis, we were assured, was not merely imminent, but already well upon us. Then the great civil war sort of fizzled out; our own frenzy subsided; and now exhausted we await next week's new prescription of doom--apparently the hyped-up story of Arabs at our ports.
The prescription of doom that is whisked out on a daily basis these days by the news media is getting rather tiresome. I sense that they and their masters of the left are now desperate to make Iraq come out wrong and to the detriment of GW Bush.
The thing is, they may succeed in doing the latter, but as for the former, it won't happen. It won't happen for a very simple reason: there is no "wrong" for Iraq. The game has been set in motion and the direction it takes is no longer in the hands of the dealer. The hand will play out no matter what anyone says or how loudly anyone screams or tries to disrupt the process.
Iraq has always been somewhat of a game of chance--like Blackjack perhaps. With regard to what might happen over time there or anywhere, noone has ever had a crystal ball; all the hand-wringing and recriminations about not having a post-invasion "plan" notwithstanding. Bush and America stacked the deck in the last several years as much as it possibly could; and even now, we are still working hard to alter the odds to have an outcome that is something more in our favor in the long-run.
Here's an astonishing concept: the U.S. has already won the war in Iraq; just as we won in Afghanistan.
We won when the liberated people in these countries held their own elections and started to form a their own governments. We won, when we intervened in a cesspool and changed forever the dynamics of the Middle East. If those new democratic governments fail, it will not be a failure of the U.S.--though many would like to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and make it so. Public perception may be distorted--we areindeed being lied to--but the objective reality remains. And that reality is this: Since 9/11 the policies of the Bush Administration have changed the course of history.
It seems to me that we have had a massive asteroid of destruction headed for our planet for several decades. We have launched the defensive missle designed to cause at least a minimum of deflection in its course. It is possible that our calculations were not perfect; but if we have launched the counterstrike soon enough, all we need is the smallest angle of deflection to avoid destruction. The odds are likely better than even that our intervention now--no matter what local chaos might follow for a while-- will be enough to save us all down the road.
After all, you don't have to have a perfect "21" in Blackjack to win the pot. You can win with even a very low score if your opponent goes bust. And, in Iraq, Al Qaeda is going bust. The average Iraqi is learning to hate Al Qaeda's efforts to stack the deck. And although we are continuing to help and provide the fledgling democracy with whatever support we can, it is obvious that we are beginning to withdraw psychologically. We understand that we are not the only players and that winning from this point on does not lie in our hands alone anymore. America has unambiguously won the first several hands. Saddam's regime is gone. Saddam himself is on trial. A new democratic constitution has been written and a new government is in control. But the cards have been dealt yet again for the next hand; and, although a crucial bit of play it may be, it is not America who will hold or fold-- it is those who have been freed to determine their own destiny who will make the decision.
I don't care how much spin the left and the media put on it. They can spin until they are dizzy and blue in the face for all I care. I see with my own eyes that we have succeeded beyond our wildest imaginings. Where there was an oppressive regime and terror, we have created a chance for millions of people who had no chance whatsoever before. I daresay there is not a single person who was alive 15 years ago who could have imagined that both Afghanistan or Iraq would have held free and democratic election in the first five years of the new millennium.
We have brought forth two new nations, conceived in liberty; not quite yet dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, perhaps; but we need feel no shame for putting the proposition and the choices before them.
Can a free and united Iraq endure? I hope so, but I don't know for sure. But I do know that the answer does not lie in the 24-hour news cycle; nor does it lie the postmodern bush-hating marxist yearnings of the left either.
While the doomsayers are always inclined to see any chaos as the harbinger of doom; sometimes chaos is the natural side effect of the medicine. The correct prescription has always been Freedom ad lib; Sig: to be taken qd until all symptoms of tyranny diappear completely; Disp: prn refills.
UPDATE: Gateway Pundit looks at some of the lies Peters was talking about from just yesterday. Like I said, the left is absolutely desperate to manufacture a disaster. Life will go on.