WF Buckley Counsels Defeat in Iraq
[T}the administration has, now, to cope with failure. It can defend itself historically, standing by the inherent reasonableness of the postulates. After all, they govern our policies in Latin America, in Africa and in much of Asia. The failure in Iraq does not force us to generalize that violence and anti-democratic movements always prevail. It does call on us to adjust to the question, What do we do when we see that the postulates do not prevail -- in the absence of interventionist measures (we used these against Hirohito and Hitler) that we simply are not prepared to take?

It is healthier for the disillusioned American to concede that in one theater in the Mideast, the postulates didn't work. The alternative would be to abandon the postulates. To do that would be to register a kind of philosophical despair. The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism.

Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.

He will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat.
Who's been defeated? Someone we know? Zarqawi? Saddam? The late, unlamentable Uday?

Oh. Us.

Mr. Buckley, you seem like a smart fella. Act like one. Get your head out of the sand and look around. In three short years we've removed a heinous dictator, whacked his evil spawn sons, put a nasty insurgency on the run, and helped a people fashion a state that has potential to grow into a real first -- an Arab democracy. You've fallen victim to the sort of shallow, day-by-day, short-term thinking that you normally lampoon.

We've done all this at the cost of 2,000 lives (every one of them blessed), money that in relative terms is somewhere between chump-change and modest, and at a political cost that both at home and abroad is near-zero. Why near-zero? Face it: were the French ever going to love us? Were the Germans ever going to follow us? Were the Spanish ever going to grow a spine when the chips were down? No. So the Europeans don't love us. How is that different than five years ago?

And at home, the Democrats have allowed the moonbat wing of their party to drive out millions of sensible voters. That would have happened regardless, because the moonbats have an agenda that is a mile long. Their agenda is one of control, and without a war in Iraq, they would have found other wedges to drive into our society. You've been fighting them a long time, Bill, you should know that.

Victory sometimes is dramatic: a surrender of a foreign power on one of our battleships anchored in the harbor of their captial city. Victory isn't always dramatic. This is one of those times. The destruction of the shrine in Samarra is a short-term setback. The long-term favors us in dozens of ways. We're going to see a decent Iraq out of this (or alternately, a decent Kurdistan and a cordoned-off lower Iraq). There are millions of Iraqis who want that, and as long as we keep someone from putting his boot on their necks in the next year or two, that's what they'll get.

We're winning, Bill. Look again.

Posted by: Nimble Spemble 2006-02-25