Friday, August 11, 2006

The Democrat spin

OK, let me see if I can get this straight.

I can understand, as a matter of absolute possible principle,¹ that one could make the argument that the war in Iraq is distracting and tying down US forces from pursuing the "real war on terror" against Al Qaeda or other Islamist groups; "Germany must not fight a two-front war"; military assets are never limitless, etc.

If the Democratic Party has an official line on the war -- that is it (along with "Iraq is a Jihad recruiting poster"). Sure enough, it was trotted out almost immediately on Thursday by Dems in their reaction to the terror arrests in Britain and Pakistan.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid:
As a result of mismanagement and the wrong funding priorities, we are not as safe as we should be and we still have not implemented the bipartisan 9-11 Commission’s recommendations to secure our ports, airports, and chemical plants. The Iraq war has diverted our focus and more than $300 billion in resources from the war on terrorism and has created a rallying cry for international terrorists. This latest plot demonstrates the need for the Bush administration and the Congress to change course in Iraq and ensure that we are taking all the steps necessary to protect Americans at home and across the world.
Ohio US Senate candidate Sherrod Brown:
Today's failed attacks underscore the need to refocus our resources on fighting the war on terror. Iraq has diverted billions of dollars from our defense budget and drained our military's capacity. Our success in the war on terror depends on having the available manpower and resources to hunt down terrorist networks around the world.
Connecticut US Senate candidate Ned Lamont in the Stamford Advocate:
“I just think that this Bush administration confuses a comprehensive attack on the terrorists with the invasion of Iraq,” Lamont said in a telephone interview yesterday. “I think the invasion of Iraq was a terrible distraction.”
OK ... Bush launched a war that's tied us down -- to avenge his daddy, because he's stupid, to get Halliburton profits, because the Learned Neocon Elders of Likud told him. Whatever narrative floats your boat -- it doesn't matter for this purpose.

But. Didn't. The. Arrests. Happen. ???

And aren't we in Iraq -- shedding blood for Halliburton, avenging Bush-41, doing the Joooooz's bidding, whatever -- and are thus tied down. While. The. Arrests. Happened. Turns out that the West can walk in Iraq, and chew Homefront-Counterterrorism Gum at the same time.

These arrests prove it. The Democrats' primary narrative on the Iraq War is false.
¹ I am not saying I buy this argument as applied to the status quo, mind you. People have been known to walk and chew gum; certain powers have even had the capacity to fight two wars successfully. All I'm saying is it's not an a priori stupid claim that could never be correct.


Piraeus said...

I was on the road all day the day this broke and was listening to NPR (insert Victor insult here). They had Tim "A Member of the 9/11 Commission" Roemer" on to tell us why catching terrorists was not good news. The interview went something like this:

NRP: Mr. Roemer, the President says we are safer today than we were on 9/11. What do you say?

TR: I say we aren't safe enough

Uh okay. Did someone say we are perfectly safe now? But even forgetting that the thing that kept going through my head was indeed, "But. Didn't. The. Arrests. Happen. ???" For Roemer is it not enough for Bush to thwart terrorist plots he must actually stop the terrorists from even thinking of the attacks to begin with.

Scott said...

This line of reasoning is akin to the war in Vietnam, where a high number of enemy kills per day was trotted out as a reason why we were winning the war. In reality, the battle for "hearts in minds" was the more important fight, since there was a seemingly limitless supply of idealistic young Vietnamese signing up to fight Americans.

New terror arrests and foiled terror plots are naturally good news, but that doesn't mean we are winning or that we are safe. On the contrary.

The problem is that terrorist cells are becoming more rather than less common, and the war in Iraq is their best propaganda tool. There is nothing wrong with the Democrats pointing this out--indeed it is essential that Americans hear it.

Anonymous said...

In reality, the battle for "hearts in minds" was the more important fight ...

Before Vietnam, nobody fought a war on that assumption -- that the goal of force was to persuade into love. It's noteworthy that Vietnam was a politics-induced defeat, and that Iraq is following the same path (followed, if the Dems are to be believed).

The template is wrong. War is not about "winning hearts and minds." It simply cannot do that, and trying to do it only guarantees your self-demoralization, other-contempt, and eventual defeat.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that terrorist cells are becoming more rather than less common, and the war in Iraq is their best propaganda tool.

Please. Our support for the Jewish pigs and dogs, the arrogance of our not bowing before The Prophet (PBUH), the humiliation of the loss of Al-Andalus, etc. give those inclined to jihad plenty of warrant.

I mean, you must know that the largest uses of the US military in the gap between Kuwait and September 11 were to protect Muslims from Christians (Yugoslavia) and a selfless humanitarian mission to aid Muslim famine victims (Somalia). Did that win us any love? No ... both actions have been spun in the Arab press as Western imperialism and collusion with Serbia to cleanse Europe of Muslims (no really).

In that same period, the Jihadis had enough "recruiting posters" for Khobar Towers, the USS Cole, the East African embassies, the first WTC attack, Kasi at CIA headquarters, the Luxor tourists, the foiled Pacific airliners plot, plus September 11 itself, etc., all without even the invasion of Afghanistan to use as a "recruiting poster" (which they did, and which is just as bad from a Muslim religious POV as Iraq).

Methinks you care too much about winning love from those who hate us.

Scott said...

Times change. The fact that nations no longer simply exterminate other nations but actually try to win their support for hegemony is a good development, not a bad one. It reflects a higher level of civilization that mankind should be proud of. We lost in Vietnam because it was impossible to break the back of the enemy without invading the North and risking nuclear war. Our only chance was to persuade the South Vietnamese to support the South Vietnam government, and that was a failure.

As for the Arabs, you know as well as I do what their greivances were. The sacntions on Iraq, our troop presence and support for the Saudi regime, and our support for Israel. Take away those things and 9/11 doesn't happen.

Public relations is the core of the war we are fighting--we are trying to convince the Arab world to join modernity and reject the Islamists. That Bush and co. don't understand this at all (importing Karen Hughes as a goodwill ambassador--are you kiddding?) is why it's going so poorly.