Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Why Iraq is Good Enough...

Jonah Goldberg is willing to concede (at least) ten cricisms about Iraq. He ends up with more than ten, but they are valid criticisms, many of which have been heard from pundits for weeks.
In fact, it's pretty easy to pass ten. In other words, I don't think things are going swimmingly in Iraq. In fact, I don't know anyone who does.

Now, none of this is to say that there aren't good responses to many of the points above. Very quickly (indeed, with a brevity that makes a mockery of thoughtfulness and thoroughness)

He goes on to address most of the criticism list, which is a valuable exercise, considering how often we hear these critiques.

Here are two example of critiques (C) and his responses(R)(they are number 1 and 8 from his list, respectively):
C:Iraq is a mess.

R:Iraq would be a mess today no matter what steps Bush took. It would be a different mess, but a mess nonetheless. Picking an arbitrary date and saying "It's a mess now, therefore it wasn't worth it" is silly, and could be done to every major enterprise ever undertaken, from the building of the pyramids to putting men on the moon.
C:The war has cost us dearly in the eyes of many nations around the world.

R: Many of the nations that hate us for Iraq hated us anyway. The myth — oft-repeated by Jim Carville and others — that America was beloved by the world until the Iraq war or George Bush is hogwash. Anti-Americanism — in France, in Greece, throughout the third world — has been raging for a long time and actually increased with the defeat of Communism and on Bill Clinton's watch. That's not to say it was Clinton's fault in any significant way. It was merely a fact of life. Iraq is an excuse for America-bashing among nations that clearly couldn't be counted on no matter who was in the Oval Office.

Jonah then goes on to contast this war with the Cold War, calling it "the complete and total opposite." And he's right in all of this. Iraq isn't great, what war ever is "great." We look at wars as a success only after victory is had, and then only marginally so. President Bush is fighting this war with victory in mind. Kerry is not. Or, as Jonah ends his article:
So sure, Bush hasn't done everything right — never mind perfectly — in Iraq. Churchill didn't conduct World War II perfectly every time either. Dunkirk wasn't the sort of thing that happens when the war goes swimmingly. But Bush gets all of this. John Kerry doesn't, in my opinion. Or, to be more accurate, John Kerry "gets" everything and therefore nothing. If the choice were between Bush and a better commander-in-chief, I might not vote for Bush. But that's not the choice, now is it?