Saturday, August 11, 2007

LIMITED MODIFIED HANGOUT ROUTE. Before she gets to telling her heroic story of how Little Bill Frist operated on Little General Petraeus who would grow up to be thrice Lord Mayor of Baghdad Town, Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan makes a startling analogy:
Normal Americans just want Iraq handled. They want America to succeed: for the war to end in a way and time that prove if possible that the Iraq endeavor helped the world, or us, or didn't make things worse for the world, or us. My hunch: The American people have concluded the war was a mistake, but know from their own lives that mistakes can be salvaged, and sometimes turned to good.
I suspect that if said Americans had seen their entire state invaded and occupied, with thousands killed, streets impassable, water and electricity sporadic, and bombings and beheadings at regular intervals, they might decide that the required salvage job for this "mistake" would have to start with removal of the troops, and the importation of a federal relief agency that, they would fervently pray, was not FEMA.

At Time, Bill Kristol looks for silver linings: "It's true that Iraq is an unpopular war. But hostility to President George W. Bush, or to the war, hasn't spilled over onto the military." Consequently Kristol believes the brave men and women of the Iraqi occupation "will be major figures in American life for the next couple of decades," proving that "The Vietnam era is over. The post-9/11 era is well under way."

Though Kristol implies that the occupation is going well, none of the anecdotes he brings from Iraq are too convincing -- he sees, for example, a colonel "deftly manage the political-economic interactions with local shopkeepers and citizens," which might mean he told them not to worry about the blackout because when the goat milk spoiled they could sell it as cheese. But whether or not these young soldiers have made a real difference in Iraq, they have shown "community building" skills, "sophisticated political-military leadership," and the ability to "operate in a more fluid and volatile environment." Clearly Kristol is hoping that a nice class of future Republican candidates will emerge from the war, able to repeat before crowds of voters their qualifications as possessors of the abstract values Kristol sees in them. If they can get away with that, what they left behind in Iraq won't mean much to anyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment