Friday, November 23, 2007


In the movie 2010: The Year We Make Contact, (the sequel to 2001:A Space Odyssey), just before Jupiter expldes, becoming a new star making the moon Europa able to sustain life; an apparition of the astronaut Frank Bowman appears to Heywood Floyd, warning him that they must leave Jupiter within two days. Floyd asks what will happen at that time and Bowman replies, "Something wonderful."

He meant that the conditions for intelligent life to develop on Europa now exist.

Wretchard at The Belmont Club writes about the recent turn of events in Iraq, which has the left and the Democrats somewhat discombobulated :
The Times Online reports that large numbers of refugees are returning from Syria to Iraq. "The numbers are certainly large enough, as we report today, for a mass convoy to be planned next week as Iraqis who had opted for exile in Syria return to their homeland." Can Iraq be getting better?

Further, he notes that:
The current calm in Iraq represents not only a 'partial peace' but a huge victory. For the first time since Algeria at least, a Western army has defeated the combined efforts of a terrorist insurgency, a global radical Islamist attack and the intervention of two neighboring countries in less than five years. Al-Qaeda in Iraq made an explicit effort to precipitate a civil war in Iraq and failed. Syria backed the Sunni insurgency in its effort to restore dominance in Iraq and failed. Iran backed the Shi'ite militias, including the Special Groups and may be failing too....

Victory is far from completely achieved in Iraq, but most especially with respect to radical Islamism throughout the region and across the globe. We need to know what went right to figure out where to go from here.

But that understanding must begin with the realization, which the returnees from Baghdad may understand better than the pundits in Washington, that something very wonderful may have been achieved in Middle East.

When that concept finally penetrates the thick skulls of the political left and the leadership of the Democratic party, both of whom suffer from the bizarre delusion that they are the ones who keep and protect the flame of traditional liberal ideas such as freedom and democracy, I wonder what will happen?

Victor Davis Hanson has a thought or two about that. In his essay, "With Iraq Improving, Will Neocon Ideas Return?" Hanson states:
...for a variety of unforeseen reasons, the furor and partisan bad blood over Iraq are lessening here in the States. The debate over Iraq seems to be changing from "we can't win" to whether victory is worth the aggregate costs.

Expect this new battle to be more retrospective, as each side tries to inflate or deflate how much blood and treasure have been spent on the Iraq War - and whether the cost has led to greater American security both in and beyond Iraq.

As fear of defeat in Iraq recedes from the political landscape, look to a growing consensus elsewhere. "Neocon" - the term often used to describe "new" conservatives who today support fostering democracy in the Middle East - may still be a dirty word.

But if you take the anger about George Bush out of the equation, along with the Iraq war and the fear of any more invasions by the U.S., why not support democratic reform in the Middle East? We know the alternatives only play into the hands of terrorists.

That's why presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., recently said that America needed to support democracy and pressure Gen. Pervez Musharraf to restore elections in Pakistan.

Few Democrats or Republicans would disagree with his idealistic rhetoric. Although Obama wouldn't express the same support for the struggling Iraqi democracy, he sort of sounded like a softer neocon - more worried about the lack of freedom in Pakistan than the fact we might undermine a strongman with nukes and a restive population.

Indeed, if exporting democracy is such a discredited idealistic concept, they why worry about Pakistan with Musharraff consolidating his power? Hanson further argues that:
A year from now, neither George Bush nor a quieter Iraq will inflame Democrats. And without these familiar bogeymen, they will to have to state what they are for, rather than what they are against.

If Democrats keep Congress and win the presidency, they probably won't do things much differently in Afghanistan. America's role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also won't change much. And if the next president is a Republican, it's a safe bet he won't invade any new countries.

As the Democrats move closer to the controversial neoconservative position of actively supporting democratic reform in the Middle East, they will claim that their strong idealistic diplomacy is the proper corrective to the Bush administration's unilateral misadventures.

In other words, the Democrats will end up arguing that they were for neoconservatism before they were against it; that it was only the incompetent application of those idealistic principles that they were opposed to, not the idealism itself.

What Hanson calls the "soft neocons" are really the "utopian neocons", a fair-weather version of neoconservatism, which can only support freedom and democracy when there is no imperfection, no mess, and absolutely no sacrifice present in the process.

You can bet that the Democrats will appropriate neocon ideas the minute they believe those ideas are popular. Then they will proceed to distort them in the same manner they have distorted all the other great ideas of liberalism; and continue to believe that freedom is free and requires nothing but rhetoric to exist in the world.

The neoconservative philosophy has always understood that it takes more than rhetoric to counter the forces that would destroy western civilization; and that the pervasive nihilism of the postmodern infection that has spread throughout the once liberal left and which is now promulgated and promoted by the West's own intellectual elites, only facilitates tyranny.

Neoconservatism is the only intellectual remedy developed in the last five decades to nullify postmodern philosophy and rhetoric and stand up to the forces of de-civilization.

Something wonderful is happening in the Middle East amid all the violence, chaos and turmoil.

The conditions for freedom to develop in Iraq now exist.

UPDATE: Relevant commentary by Charles Krauthammer: "On Iraq, A State of Denial"

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