Common sense prevails:
Thursday, May 5, 2005
The Guardian's Max Hastings finds himself dragged by the facts, his fingernails leaving scratch trails in the dirt, to grudging and qualified admission of George Bush's success in the Middle East. His chief criticism of what the administration has accomplished seems to be that he doesn't like the "triumphalist mode" that the White House exudes. Some of what he writes follows:
Hastings is holding his nose as he gives credit where it's due, but he at least has the honesty to acknowledge that much of what Bush has accomplished, though halting and precarious, would never have been accomplished in any other way by any other nation and certainly not by the U.N:
Although the Bush team knows how to wage war they are inept at diplomacy and stand to lose all unless they become more sensitive to the feelings of others:
We're quite sure that Mr. Hastings is not pleased with President Bush's nomination of the decidedly insensitive and unsubtle John Bolton to be our representative at the U.N. We're confident that Mr. Bolton is emphatically not what Mr. Hastings had in mind, but we wonder whose diplomatic skills he thinks the Bush people should emulate. Those of the esteemed Kofi Annan? Bill Clinton? Jacques Chirac? Gerhard Schroeder? Vladimir Putin? These men are exemplars of the art of getting nothing done while simultaneously filling one's own wallet.
For our part, we think the administration's diplomacy is working just fine considering the difficulties it faces. Unlike the gentlemen listed above, the White House's diplomacy is based upon a realistic assessment of the people with whom we must deal. Some of them, to be sure, can be motivated by emoluments, others can be moved only by fear, still others are intransigently hostile and must be dealt with by force.
The enlightened ones in the salons of Europe believe all men are vulnerable to the blandishments of reason and self-interest. They're convinced that everyone can be seduced by economic bribes if the seducer is skillful enough. Lacking ideology and religious conviction themselves, they fail to understand the power these exert in the lives of others, and have been making this same error since at least the 1930's. They couldn't see the true nature of the Nazis or the communists in the 20th century, and they fail to see what makes the jihadis so implacable today. Their blindness would be the death of the West were it not for men like Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush who have a clearer vision, who recognize that men are often driven by imperatives other than simple greed, and have had the courage and steadfastness to do what needs to be done to preserve us from them.
Former New York Times reporter John McCandlish Phillips has a delightful piece in Wednesday's Washington Post in which he indicts a number of commentators, but particularly the Times' Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, and Paul Krugman for their super-heated anti-Christian rhetoric, their secularist paranoia, and their utter lack of historical understanding. He notes that there have been 13 opinion columns in the WaPo and the NYT in a one month stretch between March 24 and April 23 which have been of the "sky is falling and it's the Christians' fault" variety.
Phillips then closes with this:
It's an outstanding column and we invite our readers to read the whole thing.
Recent days have brought us two very significant developments in the war against al Qaida. The first was the interception of a letter written to al Zarqawi by a mid-level commander named al Qusaymi who paints a bleak picture of al Qaida's situation in Iraq.
Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail has some outstanding commentary on the letter. After analyzing its contents he concludes with this:
The other development is the capture announced yesterday of Abu Farj Farj al Liby, bin Laden's third in command. One wonders if his location wasn't gleaned from al Zarqawi's laptop. In any event, he himself should prove to be a treasure trove of information on the whereabouts and operations of other al Qaida bigwigs, perhaps of bin Laden himself and his second in command Ayman al Zarwahri.
Rolling up this terrorist organization is like rolling a snowball down a mountain. Pretty soon it gathers so much momentum that it becomes an avalanche. Each low-level prisoner has information that leads to others which in turn leads to others until top people are being smoked out. When the leadership is interrogated the information inflow takes a huge leap and the pace of shutting down terror operations accelerates even more.
One thing about all this that's important to remember. It's hard to imagine how any of it would have happened had we not invaded Iraq. When the administration told us that draining that swamp was essential to winning the war on terror, it was right. Had we not invaded Iraq, Saddam would bestride the Middle East like the mythical colossus, few if any of the terrorists who've been apprehended would today be in custody, Libya would still be producing nuclear weapons, Syria would still be in Lebanon, Pakistan would be an indifferent ally in the WOT, and the Arab world would be smelling the scent of victory over a decadent west which lacked the will to defend itself against the armies of Allah.
It's good to remind ourselves every now and then.