Thursday, August 21, 2003

Onward and upward

Is there a bigger blowhard in journalism than the National Review's Victor Davis Hanson? Since September 11th, VDH has written column after column about the Star Wars-like life-and-death struggle of the West against Evil and Terror. Today he seems to be egging the U.S. on into Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. He writes:

"Our astonishing defeats of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban cannot blind us to the reality — unchanging since 9/11 — that we are in a war to the end with those who wish to destroy Western society and all that it holds dear. Both tactically and strategically this is a conflict that our enemies cannot win — given their military inferiority and accompanying failure to offer an attractive alternative to the freedom and prosperity of the West.

This doom the nihilists grudgingly accept. Thus the past week in Afghanistan, in Baghdad, and in Jerusalem they have once more embraced the tactics of the bomb-laden truck and suicide belt to demoralize civil society and to win the only way they can — as was true in Beirut and Mogadishu — by eroding public support for the continuance of war. Otherwise, they will lose and the virus of reform and legality will only spread.

Because September 11 was a direct consequence of our early failures to confront our enemies, our general response to the latest challenges should be even greater defiance. It is time to bring to fruition the president's warning of nearly two years ago, that one is either with or against the terrorists. So Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, from which our enemies (many now in Iraq) operate, must either close their borders, turn over terrorists, and join the ranks of civilization — or chose the side of barbarism and accept the terrible consequences of such a fatal decision. And for the short term, we must continue on course-employing counterinsurgency tactics to go after the terrorists in the field, accelerating the transfer of governance to Iraqis to increase their visibility and responsibility in the conflict and restoring infrastructure to Afghanistan and Iraq."

Yes, VDH, perhaps we should simply garrison the entire Middle East? That sounds like a good idea. Three more wars might make it a little bit harder to continue "restoring infrastructure" to Afghanistan, wouldn't it? But if showering a country with cluster bombs and depleted uranium and then abandoning it to violent anarchy and grinding poverty is what counts for "restoring infrastructure" these days, then we're off to a bang-up start in Iraq. All we have to do now is leave and start our next "astonishing" war.

How long until that 2004 election?


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