Written by one of our regular commenters Helian, the following is a scathing assessment of the Western world today. Has the cult of defeatism and hysteria surrounding the war in Iraq proven America's enemies right?
"Occasionally, one should step back from ideological truisms, and take a cold, objective look at recent history to try to learn something from it. To begin, it would seem that our enemies were right. At this stage in their history, the American people really are gutless, lacking in will, and can be relied on to throw in the towel as soon as they are called on to make sacrifices in blood and treasure to defeat their enemies. We see the Andrew Sullivans, the Greg Djerejians, et. al., those who once shouted so loudly for war, now so invested in the cult of defeat that they will insist on it regardless of the facts on the ground. They have been chanting the "incompetence" mantra so long that, unless things are done precisely as these brilliant armchair generals recommend, whether it be chimerical schemes for sending over vast reinforcements, or whatever, they will bitterly and fanatically refuse to admit that the Iraq adventure can end in anything but defeat. The broad mass of the American people lack any perception of the significance of the struggle, and will gladly listen to those who glibly transmute abject defeat into "realism." Let's face it, my friends. There is a certain resemblance to Vietnam here. After all, some of us were there. Once again we see the same cowardly defeatism fobbed off as a noble cause. Once again we see anyone who dare to suggest that the situation doesn't really call for abject surrender shouted down as an imbecile and a viewer of the world through rose-colored glasses.
One can do one's best to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, my friends, but these are the facts. What lessons should we learn from them? Perhaps, next time, we should read more closely General Powell's doctrine regarding exit strategies. Perhaps, next time, we should not even think of relying on the courage, will, or determination of the American people. In fact, "these colors do run." Just watch. Perhaps, next time, we should not even think of launching our military on another "nation building" adventure. We must come to grips with our limitations.
What can one say? It's just a good thing that the ideology that rushed in to fill the vacuum left by the demise of Communism was a backward, medieval throwback nourished by the good, old, religious fanaticism that, at least, anyone with some residual grey matter will treat with the contempt it deserves. Communism was a much worthier and dangerous foe. Don't believe me? Just read any political rag from the mid-30's, and see how many of the Andrew Sullivan's and Greg Djerejians of that day were listening to the Siren song of the Brave New World. They aren't nearly as likely to conclude that obscurantist religious fanaticism is the only way out of the "dead end" into which our evil capitalist system has led us. True, many of our modern "progressives" are twisting, turning, and contorting themselves ever so comically to find some way, any way, to justify their sympathy with this new "vanguard of the revolutionary masses," but it just won't play in Peoria, my friends.
In a word, it's a good thing that our foe is so abject, because we are doing our level best to hand them victory. We invite them into our societies in the name of "religious freedom," and "multi-culturism." If anyone has a problem with this, they are immediately shouted down as "Islamophobic." No doubt these people would have slept with Typhoid Mary, too, rather than be guilty of the sin of "discriminating" against her. After all, she was guilty of no sin for being the carrier of a fatal disease.
We will continue to progress, either rationally or catastrophically. Nature doesn't really care. The result will be the same. Humanity has survived the Christian theocracy of Innocent III in the past. It will also survive the Islamic theocracies of the present. The number of people who die in the process will be, as far as nature is concerned, a mere incident. Perhaps we shouldn't take it all so seriously.
This commentary is filled with so many insights that it is hard to know where to begin. We hope our readers sound off in the comments section. This is a discussion that we all need to have. Note: In case you didn't notice from the commentary, Helian is a Vietnam veteran.
UPDATE: One of our readers asks us how we can win and whether it is still worth it. Our response:
Not knowing exactly how to resolve the Iraq conflict is not a justification for irresponsible withdrawal. Our enemies win by not losing. Insurgencies typically last a decade.
I think we win this conflict by learning from our mistakes, coming up with and adapting new strategies, and muddling through. There are numerous indications that we are learning to fight an insurgency slowly but surely. It won't be pretty and there will not be a decisive moment of victory. The fact is, however, that if Iraq is what you would call a "civil war" now, it can only get worse if the US leaves the country at the mercy of the warring factions and Iran, Syria and Al-Qaeda. And then the question becomes: How bad will that bloodbath be? How much of the region will it engulf? (Right now the violence is largely confined to within 30 miles of Baghdad.) Who will be left in control of the vast oil wealth? (To fund God knows what.)
Again, just because we don't see a clear path to immediate victory and just because Iraq is a bloody, frustrating place and just because we as a society have short attention spans and just because the coalition has made a multitude of mistakes (along with doing many good things - and can you name a war in which there have been no mistakes?), doesn't mean that we have to throw our hands in the air and declare defeat and do a Vietnam-embassy-rooftop-type withdrawal.
Should the US choose to prematurely withdraw, we will have proven Osama bin Laden correct: The US is a paper tiger that will cut-and-run if you only bloody its nose and wait it out. Again, the better alternative is to continue to slog through and make the best of a difficult situation. That hardly sounds attractive in a society used to instant gratification, but it is a hell of a lot better than the alternatives. As one of the Generals on "Meet the Press" said yesterday, we simply cannot sell the people of Iraq down the river as we did the Vietnamese. There is simply too much at stake and, compared to other wars, the loses in men and money are relatively low. The long-term costs of premature withdrawal will be far higher in terms of lives, security and treasure. On that you can bet."
If that answer isn't compelling enough, go re-read these pieces.