Victor Hanson makes an interesting comparison to today and the Civil War:
But now Abizaid, Casey, Khalilzad, and Rumsfeld are all absent — or about to be — from direct involvement in the war. The supposed villain cast of Cobra II and Fiasco has exited, and the purported good guys have entered. David Petraeus will, de facto, be in charge, not just in the strictly military sense, but, given the press and politics of the war, spiritually as well — in the manner that Grant by late summer 1864 had become symbolic of the entire Union military effort that was his to win or lose. Many of those officers involved in the “revolt of the generals” have now largely supported the surge — something Democrats themselves had inadvertently apparently called for when they serially lamented there were too few troops to win in Iraq.
All the old targets of the Democrats are no more, and it will take time for them to re-adjust the crosshairs to aim at men and policies that they have heretofore viewed sympathetically.
Second, there is also a new twist to the Democratic criticism, evident in their increasing attacks on the Iraqi government in general and on Prime Minister Maliki in particular. The Michael Moore/Cindy Sheehan/Code Pink rants are no longer to be echoed by bellowing Sens. Durbin, Kennedy, or Kerry, saying in effect that American troops at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, or on patrol in Iraq are somehow akin to Hitler, Pol Pot, terrorists, or Saddam Hussein. Instead, in the new liberal brief, we are dying for incompetent Iraqi sectarians who can’t even conduct a decent execution.
That is, we are getting the Sen. Webb brand of critique of Iraq, given in terms of the national interest. Democrats seem to be saying that the Iraqis aren’t worth another American life, and that the hope of democracy over there was misplaced, making futile the rare opportunity offered by American blood and treasure.
It matters little whether this is factually correct; their only concern is the immediate political ramifications of such a “blame ’em” stance. In terms of the effect on military operations, Bush is, in a weird way, sometimes being attacked from his right by the Left — that the Iraqis are tying our hands, or not doing their own part, or incapable of enlightened government.
Not only will the administration bring pressure on Maliki by playing the sympathetic good cop to the Democrats’ bad, but also in the process it will ironically be given, for a time, more leeway to inflict damage on the jihadists. If the old liberal mantra was Abu Ghraib ad nauseam, the new one is that the treacherous Iraqis are releasing those killers that our brave soldiers arrest. While the Democrats may have meant to attack our present tactics in terms of naiveté and incompetence, the charge often translates as insufficient force applied — giving Bush a window to do more, not less.
There was another terrible suicide bomb attack in Baghdad, leaving 121 dead. A truck bomb, primitive and deadly. I do not know that there is anyway to stop all these attacks in Baghdad or Madrid or London, or Mumbai or Manilla or Egypt or Tel Aviv or New York city or Bangladesh or Bali or Pakistan or Kabul or Istanbul.
I can still recall seeing footage from the bomb attack of some time back in Istanbul, Turkey and there was a man in tattered suit wandering through the rubble with a bloody face saying over and over I am English and I am blind. I am English and I am blind. It broke my heart.
I don't think we can stop them all in Baghdad or anywhere else, but we can not allow ourselves to get to the place where these attacks are like car wrecks, just something we have to live with. We can not let ourselves live with this kind of evil as if it were nothing more than a bad accident, a moment of inattention or carelessness...when it in fact it is murder. Calculated, premeditated murder.
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