Monday, November 22, 2004

A Desperate Tug At the Brake Cord

By ministers of Arab dictatorships that do not want a successful election to take place in Iraq.

Had a laugh today?

In Syria, the state-owned daily Ath-Thawra said that the Sharm el-Sheikh conference represented "the best chance for the international parties to affirm the importance of the United Nations and neighbouring countries" in organizing the elections.

But it also warned: "The elections must take place on all Iraqi territory and not on 75 percent of the country as the United States hints at due to the insecurity in regions where resistance actions are taking place."

Elections in Syria are currently held in whatever room Assad is sitting in when he decides to remain El Supremo. They're pretty big rooms, but are probably too small to measure as a percentage of the national territory.

As we hammer out victory in Fallujah--and we must be winning since NBA fights are bigger news--the sob sisters of the Left are rushing to declare that wars are won when feelings change.
Jackson Diehl's piece is a good summary of the feeling.

But that still leaves the question of whether the hard-hitting combat tactics employed in Fallujah, including the liberal use of heavy artillery and 500-pound bombs, will in the end prove to have done more harm than good. Yes, the Marines and Army were able to rout the dug-in insurgents in relatively short order, with relatively few U.S. casualties, thereby achieving a textbook victory according to traditional U.S. doctrine. But what of the aftermath? Will others -- Fallujans, Iraqis, other Arabs, the world -- judge that the U.S. attack involved "excessive force"? And if so, will we still have won?

It's not enough that the Americans are satisfied, or that Falluja somehow looks over its ruin and shrugs, or that the rest of Iraq is happy that we broke that den of vipers, or even the rest of the Arab world accepts Falluja--if the "world", if France or Germany opposes the US, the Iraqis, and the Arabs, then maybe it wasn't worth it.

[Bombardment anecdotes] prompted some acerbic commentary from the veteran Israeli journalist Zeev Schiff, a sympathetic observer who has covered his own country's wars for decades. After resorting to warplanes and artillery in urban areas, he wrote in the daily Haaretz, Americans should at least find it more difficult to issue reports lambasting Russian military offensives in Chechnya or Israel's in the Gaza Strip.

I wasn't aware Americans had done so. But then I don't regularly read the Washington Post.

Alternatively, U.S. commanders could learn something from the Israelis, who, Schiff says, found out the hard way that "this is not World War II" and that "the legitimization of international public opinion" is needed to fight terrorists successfully.

And Israeli journalists could learn something from watching A&E, if they compare the superficial damage in Fallujah to WWII. "The legitimization of international public opinion" is a pyrite idol. America prefers the legitimization of doing the right thing, globally popular or not.

No comments: