Fulcrum Ruminations

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack have an interesting piece titled "A War We Just Might Win" in the New York Times today. They're reporting on the situation in Iraq, and as suggested by my title, they've found a mix of conditions.

The good is that things in Iraq are going much better than is generally being reported here in the States (surprise, surprise). Here's a couple snippets to give you the gist of their position:

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

And a bit later in the article:

Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.

This of course as congressional Democrats are salivating at the prospect of forcing a cut-n-run.

The bad is that progress on the Iraqi political front remains maddeningly slow and elusive. A quote:

In the end, the situation in Iraq remains grave. In particular, we still face huge hurdles on the political front. Iraqi politicians of all stripes continue to dawdle and maneuver for position against one another when major steps towards reconciliation — or at least accommodation — are needed. This cannot continue indefinitely. Otherwise, once we begin to downsize, important communities may not feel committed to the status quo, and Iraqi security forces may splinter along ethnic and religious lines.

Or in other words, the political situation remains fluid and fragile. Again, this illustrates that a precipitous withdrawal would be about the very worst course of action we could take. We pull out before the Iraqi leadership has properly sorted itself out, everything crumbles. Not good.

The ugly in all this is here in America, where the majority of our media still persist in seeing nothing but chaos and ruin in Iraq and our own none-too-reliable political leadership continues to demonstrate that they're much more concerned with getting themselves re-elected or scoring political points than they are with prosecuting this effort to a successful conclusion.

The reality-impaired community will of course spin any positive developments as ephemeral at best and part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy at worst. But the bottom line is that the situation is improving and the only thing required for victory is patience on our part.

Update: Interesting. Pollack was on CNN with Wolf Blitzer yesterday afternoon. I didn't get to see the entire segment, but Pollack said that the title of the piece I reference above was not his or O'Hanlon's, but rather came from the Times' editorial staff. I wonder if the Times was trying to use the somewhat-positive tone of the piece to refute some of their cheerleader-of-defeat reputation in the conservative press.

Labels: , , ,

2 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Baxter said...

Every September, I recall that is more than half a century (62 years) since I landed at Nagasaki with the 2nd Marine Division in the original occupation of Japan following World War II. This time every year, I have watched and listened to the light-hearted "peaceniks" and their light-headed symbolism-without-substance of ringing bells, flying pigeons, floating candles, and sonorous chanting and I recall again that "Peace is not a cause - it is an effect."

In July, 1945, my fellow 8th RCT Marines [I was a BARman] and I returned to Saipan following the successful conclusion of the Battle of Okinawa. We were issued new equipment and replacements joined each outfit in preparation for our coming amphibious assault on the home islands of Japan.

B-29 bombing had leveled the major cities of Japan, including Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Yokosuka, and Tokyo.

We were informed we would land three Marine divisions and six Army divisions, perhaps abreast, with large reserves following us in. It was estimated that it would cost half a million casualties to subdue the Japanese homeland.

In August, the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima but the Japanese government refused to surrender. Three days later a second A-bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. The Imperial Japanese government finally surrendered.

Following the 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese admiral said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant..." Indeed, they had. Not surprisingly, the atomic bomb was produced by a free people functioning in a free environment. Not surprisingly because the creative process is a natural human choice-making process and inventiveness occurs most readily where choice-making opportunities abound. America!

Tamper with a giant, indeed! Tyrants, beware: Free men are nature's pit bulls of Liberty! The Japanese learned the hard way what tyrants of any generation should know: Never start a war with a free people - you never know what they may invent!

As a newly assigned member of a U.S. Marine intelligence section, I had a unique opportunity to visit many major cities of Japan, including Tokyo and Hiroshima, within weeks of their destruction. For a full year I observed the beaches, weapons, and troops we would have assaulted had the A-bombs not been dropped. Yes, it would have been very destructive for all, but especially for the people of Japan.

When we landed in Japan, for what came to be the finest and most humane occupation of a defeated enemy in recorded history, it was with great appreciation, thanksgiving, and praise for the atomic bomb team, including the aircrew of the Enola Gay. A half million American homes had been spared the Gold Star flag, including, I'm sure, my own.

Whenever I hear the apologists expressing guilt and shame for A-bombing and ending the war Japan had started (they ignore the cause-effect relation between Pearl Harbor and Nagasaki), I have noted that neither the effete critics nor the puff-adder politicians are among us in the assault landing-craft or the stinking rice paddies of their suggested alternative, "conventional" warfare. Stammering reluctance is obvious and continuous, but they do love to pontificate about the Rights that others, and the Bomb, have bought and preserved for them.

The vanities of ignorance and camouflaged cowardice abound as license for the assertion of virtuous "rights" purchased by the blood of others - those others who have borne the burden and physical expense of Rights whining apologists so casually and self-righteously claim.

At best, these fakers manifest a profound and cryptic ignorance of causal relations, myopic perception, and dull I.Q. At worst, there is a word and description in The Constitution defining those who love the enemy more than they love their own countrymen and their own posterity. Every Yankee Doodle Dandy knows what that word is.

In 1945, America was the only nation in the world with the Bomb and it behaved responsibly and respectfully. It remained so until two among us betrayed it to the Kremlin. Still, this American weapon system has been the prime deterrent to earth's latest model world- tyranny: Seventy years of Soviet collectivist definition, coercion, and domination of individual human beings.

The message is this: Trust Freedom. Remember, tyrants never learn. The restriction of Freedom is the limitation of human choice, and choice is the fulcrum-point of the creative process in human affairs. As earth's choicemaker, it is our human identity on nature's beautiful blue planet and the natural premise of man's free institutions, environments, and respectful relations with one another. Made in the image of our Creator, free men choose, create, and progress - or die.

Free men should not fear the moon-god-crowd oppressor nor choose any of his ways. Recall with a confident Job and a victorious David, "Know ye not you are in league with the stones of the field?"

Semper Fidelis
Jim Baxter
Sgt. USMC
WW II and Korean War

Job 5:23 Proverbs 3:31 I Samuel 17:40
http://www.choicemaker.net/

VOTE HUCK ! He's m'man! jfb

9:36 PM  
Blogger Lanz said...

Thank you for your perspective, and your service.

3:05 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home