Wednesday, November 26, 2003

DO NOT BE ALARMED. ALL IS WELL. Victor D. Hanson attempts to explain "What is going on here (Iraq)?" to the American People. "Almost everything," replies Hanson, though what he really means is, Goddamn Democrats, Goddamn allies, etc. Here's a prize passage:
Perhaps the next time a German official starts in on "the German way" or the "Bush as Hitler" metaphor, some dense American from the heartland quietly watching the emperor's parade will go agape at a naked royal and ask, "Excuse me, but why do we have thousands of troops in Germany when we have too few soldiers in Iraq?" In the new world I don't think we are ever going to go back to "Please don't insult us too much so we can continue to stay for another 60 years and spend billions to protect you." And that will be good for both us and the Germans — who, in fact, really are our friends.

I especially like the last bit -- the only proof that anyone, including editors, might have read this shit before it was printed.

Hanson's piece is meant to be reassuring, but since it consists mostly of sneers aimed at the many parties who have not supported our efforts in Iraq, he leaves a rather Nixonian impression of isolation and self-righteous brooding. Not the behavior of a winner at all. After calling Iraq "the greatest and riskiest endeavor in the last 50 years of American foreign policy," Hanson adds this disturbing clause: "Understandably, almost everyone is invested in its failure." Clearly, they're all out to get him/us.

But why would they be? And how came it so? In and among the vituperations, Hanson says something about how the old peace was a sham, because it did not last forever. I can't make head nor tail of it; if you figure it out tell me.

Clear as glass was John F. Burns on the Charlie Rose Show last night. I've long admired Burns, having first read him in a long, pellucid Times series on India some years back. Lately I'd assumed that, as people like Andrew Sullivan are always claiming Burns as one of theirs, that he had hitched, or Hitchensed, his wagon to the war train, and would be a good spokesman for that cause. So it was a shock to see last night how dour and unpromising his view of the situation was. He said he frankly didn't know how it would all come out; that the Coalition military had as much as told him that, yes, as they labored to root out the snipers and truck-bombers there would be civilian casualties, and this wouldn't do the "hearts and minds" part of the operation much good. He also said that he was beginning to see why some people were earlier asking about an exit strategy.

Burns did not, to the best of my recollection, devote any of his comments to clever insults about Germany, France, the Democratic Party, et alia. But, then, he's not trying to reassure anyone.

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