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TO SOME EXTENT, it’s already worked. Look at what has happened to Al-Jazeera. Right after September 11 the network was an Al Qaeda propaganda machine, reprinting every rumor, reciting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, openly jeering at the United States. Go on their website today and it hardly differs from Fox News. Did you know that the Sunni Gulf States are planning their own “peaceful” nuclear initiative in response to the perceived threat from Iran? Did you know people are setting off roadside bombs in Algeria? It’s a perspective we don’t get from our media.
Neoconservatives still insist we can “win” in Iraq “if we choose to.” All we have to do is throw in another 50,000-to-300,000 more troops into the pot. John Podhoretz, brigadier general of the New York Post, had a simple solution last week — kill all the Sunni leaders, then kill all the Shi’ite leaders. After that maybe we can turn Iraq into a parking lot and solve the problem in midtown Manhattan.
Last week the Post completely lost it, depicting Baker and Hamilton on its front page as the “surrender monkeys.” Substituting policy objectives for terms like “victory” and “surrender” might help us get a grip. Let’s use the Vietnam example once more.
People still insist we “lost” the Vietnam War, but what were our objectives? At the time Communist China was an overwhelmingly formidable enemy, free institutions had never gained a foothold in Asia, and the entire region seemed destined to fall under rigid Communist dictatorships. What happened? Our military effort in Vietnam stalled Communism’s advance. Then Nixon’s brilliant stratagem reversed the momentum of the entire region. The calming of East-West relations opened the way for post-Mao reforms. China eventually joined the world economy. Vietnam was the last domino to fall and today it is embracing free enterprise and begging the West for trade. Who won that encounter?
Yet all this was achieved only after we abandoned a concept of “victory” that would probably have us still patrolling the Mekong Delta. In Vietnam we began with a few thousand military advisors and eventually invaded with an army of 500,000. In Iraq we are now proposing the opposite — an invasion pared down to a few thousand military advisers. Either way the outcome is the same. It’s very, very difficult to impose your will on an alien people for an indefinite period of time.
Right now President Bush needs to pull a Nixon. He needs to open up the Middle East peace process to all those tinhorn dictators in a way that leverages our success in bringing down Saddam against the dreary effort of nation-building that lies ahead. In two short years he might just be able to rescue the lives of hundreds of American soldiers, thousands of Iraqis citizens — and his own historical reputation as well.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?