On Progress In Iraq

Thursday, December 01, 2005
One of joys of reading blogs is the discovery of fresh thinking on complicated matters. Not infrequently in wandering about the blogosphere, one discovers a new bird in an obscure corner of the forest.

Today while reading the comments section on a post at Belmont Club, I encountered Evan, whose comment at 7:33 A.M. begins thus:

I suppose the battle of Iraq is won or lost to the extent to which it is not or is a contributor to the Islamic madness. There are several measures one could use, say five years after withdrawal: Is it serving as a jihadi incubator, as Afghanistan did (and the banlieues soon will)? Is it plagued by pathological conspiracy theories and hatred of the infidel, particularly Jews? Is consensual government holding? I am cautiously optimistic that these questions will be answered the way the civilized world wants them to be. There was this extraordinary scene recently, a day or so after the "dungeon" with 174 prisoners was revealed. A senior Iraqi minister had to sit there and explain this, and take hostile questions from both Iraqi and foreign reporters. He looked just like a harried press secretary in any Western government, a scene familiar to all of us. We take this for granted, but it would've been unimaginable in any Arab country two years ago. I hope that enough Iraqis have now crossed the mental bridge to normalcy - they are turning their backs on indispensable strongmen, on suicide bombing, and the other repellent aspects of so much of the Muslim world.

One has in this gem the outlines of a very reasonable "metric" for our success I have not before encountered, namely, the extent to which [Iraq] is not or is a contributor to the Islamic madness. And this is coupled with an astute perception and interpretation of an event, the discomfort of the senior Iraqi minister being made to squirm before a hostile press, I had not seen anyone else call our attention to. (Of course I don't read everything!)

So I wandered over to Evan's blog, The Future Uncertain, and was not disappointed by his most recent post, Economic Growth as a Moral Imperative, where I learned something new about child labor in the Third World, among other things.

But back to Iraq. President Bush's speech yesterday began what I hope will be a sustained corrective process, one directed at helping the American public see beyond the agenda of The New York Times. It is only two weeks to the parliamentary elections in Iraq; it is high time we begin to appreciate this for the watershed it is.


terrye said...


The truth is if Iraq can turn into Turkey I will be pleased. And I hope Bush keeps hammering away at these people.

I see Pelosi has joined the propud ranks of the cut and run brigade.

{Maybe Osama and Zwarhiri and Zarqawi know some of us better than we like to think.}

I was talking to a friend of mine who confessed that while he supported the president his greatest concern was that Arab society was beyond redemption. Hopeless.

I think this is something the NYT and their ilk did not really contemplate: that some people would not lose faith in America, but in the capacity of other cultures to function in the modern world. That drives people further to the right, not the left.

Anytime radical change takes place there will be unintended consequences, one of them will be a harried press secretary, another will be people expecting results. For the first time in the history of the region the power will rest in the hands of the governed. We hope.

Knucklehead said...


...a friend of mine who confessed that while he supported the president his greatest concern was that Arab society was beyond redemption. Hopeless.

I share your friend's concern. In my darkest moments I wish we'd just do the unavoidable nuking now and get on with the recovery. In my lightest moments I think they cannot be hopeless and they'll make it, slowly but surely.

I'd rather we try the optimistic path first and give them a chance to save themselves from obliteration and us from obliterating.

BTW, Jamie. Thank's for the pointer to Evan's site. Some interesting stuff there.

Rick Ballard said...

it is high time we begin to appreciate this

The problem does not lie with the we who contribute to or read this blog. (Except for those who continue to subscribe to the NYT or other seditious propaganda organs.)

The seditionist narrative framework was not strong enough to elect John Kerry. The President has and continues to steadfastly ignore it and to argue that he does it to his detriment is to deny political skills that are unparalleled - if one uses the measure of actual elections won rather than once again accept the seditionist template based upon polls purchased by outlets who bear him no good will.

Evan now has a spot on the blog roll - based upon his clear rejection of the loser's template. His piece on China is illustrative on several levels.

Jamie Irons said...


Of course, I was using "we" in the broadest possible connotation, to include even those blinkered fools (none of them found hereabouts) who don't yet "get it."


Jamie Irons

Buddy Larsen said...

Haven't been to Evan's yet, but have just discovered "Will to Exist" (via Instapundit) from a soldier in theater, "a deist transhumanist libertarian minarchist citizen soldier’s unofficial blog" which says to America, of Bush, "Please Listen!"

Rick Ballard said...


I had just read this post at ShrinkWrapped when your post came up. The desire to festoon lampposts on on W 43rd with editors from the NYT was tiptoeing through my mind. Upon reflection I find myself most humbly repentant for thinking of denigrating the lampposts.