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The Plague of Success by Victor Davis Hanson.

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If you mods get on me for copyright infringement I'm going to site this in MLA format at the bottom for you ok?

The Plague of Success
The paradox of ever-increasing expectations.


After September 11 national-security-minded Democratic politicians fell over each other, voting for all sorts of tough measures. They passed the Patriot Act, approved the war in Afghanistan, voted to authorize the removal of Saddam Hussein, and nodded when they were briefed about Guantanamo or wiretap intercepts of suspect phone calls to and from the Middle East.

After the anthrax scare, the arrests of dozens of terrorist cells, and a flurry of al Qaeda fatwas, most Americans thought another attack was imminent — and wanted their politicians to think the same. Today's sourpuss, Senator Harry Reid, once was smiling at a photo-op at the signing of the Patriot Act to record to his constituents that he was darn serious about terrorism. So we have forgotten that most of us after 9/11 would never have imagined that the United States would remain untouched for over four years after that awful cloud of ash settled over the crater at the World Trade Center.

Now the horror of 9/11 and the sight of the doomed diving into the street fade. Gone mostly are the flags on the cars, and the orange and red alerts. The Democrats and the Left, in their amnesia, and as beneficiaries of the very policies they suddenly abhor, now mention al Qaeda very little and Islamic fascism hardly at all.

Apparently due to the success of George Bush at keeping the United States secure, he, not Osama bin Laden, can now more often be the target of a relieved Left — deserving of assassination in an Alfred Knopf novel, an overseer of Nazi policies according to a U.S. senator, a buffoon, and rogue in the award-winning film of Michael Moore. Yes, because we did so well against the real enemies, we soon had the leisure to invent new imaginary ones in Bush/Cheney, Halliburton, the Patriot Act, John Ashcroft, and Scooter Libby.

Afghanistan in October, 2001, conjured up almost immediately warnings of quagmire, expanding Holy War at Ramadan, unreliable allies, a trigger-happy nuclear Pakistan on the border, American corpses to join British and Russian bones in the high desert — not a seven-week victory and a subsequent democracy in Kabul of all places.

Nothing in our era would have seemed more unlikely than democrats dethroning the Taliban and al Qaeda — hitherto missile-proof in their much ballyhooed cave complexes that maps in Newsweek assured us rivaled Norad's subterranean fortress. The prior, now-sanctified Clinton doctrine of standoff bombing ensured that there would be no American fatalities and almost nothing ever accomplished — the perfect strategy for the focus-group/straw-poll era of the 1990s.

Are we then basking in the unbelievable notion that the most diabolical government of the late 20th century is gone from Afghanistan, and in its place are schools, roads, and voting machines? Hardly, since the bar has been astronomically raised since Tora Bora. After all, the Afghan parliament is still squabbling and a long way from the city councils of Cambridge, La Jolla, or Nantucket — or maybe not.

The same paradox of success is true of Iraq. Before we went in, analysts and opponents forecasted burning oil wells, millions of refugees streaming into Jordan and the Gulf kingdoms, with thousands of Americans killed just taking Baghdad alone. Middle Eastern potentates warned us of chemical rockets that would shower our troops in Kuwait. On the eve of the war, had anyone predicted that Saddam would be toppled in three weeks, and two-and-a-half-years later, 11 million Iraqis would turn out to vote in their third election — at a cost of some 2100 war dead — he would have been dismissed as unhinged.

But that is exactly what has happened. And the reaction? Democratic firebrands are now talking of impeachment.

What explains this paradox of public disappointment over things that turn out better than anticipated? Why are we like children who damn their parents for not providing yet another new toy when the present one is neither paid for nor yet out of the wrapper?

One cause is the demise of history. The past is either not taught enough, or presented wrongly as a therapeutic exercise to excise our purported sins.

Either way the result is the same: a historically ignorant populace who knows nothing about past American wars and their disappointments — and has absolutely no frame of reference to make sense of the present other than its own mercurial emotional state in any given news cycle.

Few Americans remember that nearly 750 Americans were killed in a single day in a training exercise for D-Day, or that during the bloody American retreat back from the Yalu River in late 1950 thousands of our frozen dead were sent back stacked in trucks like firewood. Our grandparents in the recent past endured things that would make the present ordeal in Iraq seem almost pedestrian — and did all that with the result that a free Germany could now release terrorists or prosperous South Korean youth could damn the United States between their video games.

Instead, we of the present think that we have reinvented the rules of war and peace anew. After Grenada, Panama, Gulf War I, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and the three-week war to remove Saddam, we decreed from on high that there simply were to be no fatalities in the American way of war. If there were, someone was to be blamed, censured, or impeached — right now!

Second, there is a sort of arrogant smugness that has taken hold in the West at large. Read the papers about an average day in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Detroit, or even in smaller places like Fresno. The headlines are mostly the story of mayhem — murder, rape, arson, and theft. Yet, we think Afghanistan is failing or Iraq hopeless when we watch similar violence on television, as if they do such things and we surely do not. We denigrate the Iraqis' trial of Saddam Hussein — as if the Milosevic legal circus or our own O.J. trial were models of jurisprudence. Still, who would have thought that poor Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a mass-murdering half-brother of Saddam Hussein, would complain that Iraqi television delayed lived feeds of his daily outbursts by whimpering, "If the sound is cut off once again, then I don't know about my comrades but I personally won't attend again. This is unjust and undemocratic."

A greater percentage of Iraqis participated in their elections after two years of consensual government than did Americans after nearly 230 years of practice. It is chic now to deprecate the Iraqi security forces, but they are doing a lot more to kill jihadists than the French or Germans who often either wire terrorists money, sell them weapons, or let them go. For what it's worth, I'd prefer to have one Jalal Talabani or Iyad Allawi on our side than ten Jacques Chiracs or Gerhard Schroeders.

Third, our affluent society is at a complete disconnect with hard physical work and appreciation of how tenuous life was for 2,500 years of civilization. Those in our media circus who deliver our truth can't weld, fix a car, shoot a gun, or do much of anything other than run around looking for scoops about how incompetent things are done daily in Iraq under the most trying of circumstances. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that our technologies and wealth give us a pass on the old obstacles of time and space — as if Iraq 7,000 miles away is no more distant than Washington is from New York. Perhaps soldiers on patrol who go for 20 hours without sleep with 70 pounds on their back are merely like journalists pulling an all-nighter to file a story. Perhaps the next scandal will be the absence of high-definition television in Iraq — and who plotted to keep flat screens out of Baghdad.

The result of this juvenile boredom with good news and success? Few stop to reflect how different a Pakistan is as a neutral rather than as the embryo of the Taliban, or a Libya without a nuclear-weapons program, or a Lebanon with Syrians in it, or an Iraq without Saddam and Afghanistan without Mullah Omar. That someone — mostly soldiers in the field and diplomats under the most trying of circumstances — accomplished all that is either unknown or forgotten as we ready ourselves for the next scandal.

Precisely because we are winning this war and have changed the contour of the Middle East, we expect even more — and ever more quickly, without cost in lives or treasure. So rather than stopping to praise and commemorate those who gave us our success, we can only rush ahead to destroy those who do not give us even more.

Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author, most recently, of A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War

Hanson, Victor. "The Plague of Success." National Review 29 Dec 2005, http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200512290821.asp
 

Kandahar

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It's not a matter of expecting too much progress in Iraq. We aren't making any. See my post on the other thread you made.

We simply don't have the time or resources to wait around in Iraq for the insurgency to magically go away, when Iran is building nuclear weapons.
 
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Kandahar said:
It's not a matter of expecting too much progress in Iraq. We aren't making any. See my post on the other thread you made.

We simply don't have the time or resources to wait around in Iraq for the insurgency to magically go away, when Iran is building nuclear weapons.
We aren't making any progress read the other article I posted and tell me again how we're not making any progress. Seriously, what more does it take to convince you that we're winning? What more could possibly be done to qualify as the American's winning and the insurgency losing?
 

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Kandahar said:
It's not a matter of expecting too much progress in Iraq. We aren't making any. See my post on the other thread you made.
What exactly would just a sign of progress be to you?
 

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Stinger said:
What exactly would just a sign of progress be to you?
For the insurgency to become merely a nuisance, so that Bush is able to grow a spine and deal with Iran before they get nukes. Does anyone seriously believe that Iran would be this belligerent if we WEREN'T bogged down in Iraq?

If Iran acquires nukes, it will be because of the mess in Iraq. This president's "success" in Iraq will be responsible for the start of nothing less than a new Cold War (or a nuclear war) between the West and the Islamic world.
 
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Kandahar said:
For the insurgency to become merely a nuisance, so that Bush is able to grow a spine and deal with Iran before they get nukes. Does anyone seriously believe that Iran would be this belligerent if we WEREN'T bogged down in Iraq?

If Iran acquires nukes, it will be because of the mess in Iraq. This president's "success" in Iraq will be responsible for the start of nothing less than a new Cold War (or a nuclear war) between the West and the Islamic world.
So if Iran acquires nukes it will be Bush's fault and not the fault of the Iranians themselves or how about the impotence of the U.N.? God is there anything that happens in this world that Bush isn't responsible for?
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
So if Iran acquires nukes it will be Bush's fault and not the fault of the Iranians themselves or how about the impotence of the U.N.?
It'll be the fault of the Iranians themselves, but it'll also be the fault of George Bush for not stopping them. Just like crime is the criminal's fault, but it can also be the fault of spineless law enforcement.

As for the UN, I can't really blame them for being impotent. There are two dictatorships with veto power, and no one (other than Germany) truly cares what the UN says about anything.

Trajan Octavian Titus said:
God is there anything that happens in this world that Bush isn't responsible for?
He's only responsible for things that he should act on and doesn't. Stopping Iran from getting nukes is pretty high on that list.
 
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Kandahar said:
It'll be the fault of the Iranians themselves, but it'll also be the fault of George Bush for not stopping them. Just like crime is the criminal's fault, but it can also be the fault of spineless law enforcement.

As for the UN, I can't really blame them for being impotent. There are two dictatorships with veto power, and no one (other than Germany) truly cares what the UN says about anything.



He's only responsible for things that he should act on and doesn't. Stopping Iran from getting nukes is pretty high on that list.
So what do you suggest... war? So that in two months when the going gets a little rough and we haven't found nuclear war heads and ICBM's the left starts up with their montra: "Bush lied kids died!" And start demanding that we cut and run. We stopped Saddam from getting WMDs no one ever has denied that he had weapons programs it's the stockpiles that are unaccounted for and look where it's gotten the President. Now you want us to go into Iran and start this game all over again.
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
So what do you suggest... war?
Yes. Duhh.

Trajan Octavian Titus said:
So that in two months when the going gets a little rough and we haven't found nuclear war heads and ICBM's the left starts up with their montra: "Bush lied kids died!"
Let them scream their heads off for all I care. I'm more concerned about the security of the United States and our allies, and the president should be too.

Trajan Octavian Titus said:
And start demanding that we cut and run.
A cut-and-run strategy would probably be the most effective for dealing with Iran. After we overthrow the government, thus ensuring the end of their nuclear program, I certainly have no interest in leaving American troops there to fight an insurgency or help them establish a democracy.

Trajan Octavian Titus said:
We stopped Saddam from getting WMDs no one ever has denied that he had weapons programs it's the stockpiles that are unaccounted for and look where it's gotten the President.
Yeah, making **** up is bad for credibility. That doesn't change the fact that Iran has an active nuclear program.

Trajan Octavian Titus said:
Now you want us to go into Iran and start this game all over again.
So what's your solution? Let Iran get nukes?
 
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Kandahar said:
Yes. Duhh.



Let them scream their heads off for all I care. I'm more concerned about the security of the United States and our allies, and the president should be too.
You'll be one of them when we don't find a nuclear warhead on a ICBM pointed at the U.S. you'll be crying: "false intel, Bush lied, off with his head."
A cut-and-run strategy would probably be the most effective for dealing with Iran. After we overthrow the government, thus ensuring the end of their nuclear program, I certainly have no interest in leaving American troops there to fight an insurgency or help them establish a democracy.
So you want us to overthrow the Iranian regime and then leave a stateless nation as a haven for AlQaeda and terrorists? That's exactly what O.B.L. wants. Good plan. :roll:
Yeah, making **** up is bad for credibility. That doesn't change the fact that Iran has an active nuclear program.
And Iraq had a WMD program that could have been put right back into operations within two weeks after the weapons inspectors left.
So what's your solution? Let Iran get nukes?
No I want to take out Iran but I don't think the Democrats that are calling for it are really behind it 100% they're just using Iran as a way to blame Bush for something else in a round about way. I think if Bush does deploy the troops you'll be hearing the same cut and run montra as they did with Iraq. Don't forget the Dems were 100% for the war in Iraq until the going got a little rough.
 

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A cut-and-run strategy would probably be the most effective for dealing with Iran. After we overthrow the government, thus ensuring the end of their nuclear program, I certainly have no interest in leaving American troops there to fight an insurgency or help them establish a democracy.
Sorry, but that's just ignorant.
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
You'll be one of them when we don't find a nuclear warhead on a ICBM pointed at the U.S. you'll be crying: "false intel, Bush lied, off with his head."
Umm no, ass.

There's no serious dispute that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Compare that to pre-war Iraq, when people from all over the world were expressing great skepticism at the claims Iraq was pursuing nuclear weapons.

Trajan Octavian Titus said:
So you want us to overthrow the Iranian regime and then leave a stateless nation as a haven for AlQaeda and terrorists? That's exactly what O.B.L. wants. Good plan. :roll:
Let's see here...

Option A: A country with terrorist camps, controlled by mad mullahs with nuclear weapons that routinely supply these terrorists with weapons
Option B: A country with terrorist camps, occupied by American troops that are routinely attacked, kidnapped, and killed by these terrorists
Option C: A country with terrorist camps.

Which seems best to you? I prefer Option C.

Trajan Octavian Titus said:
And Iraq had a WMD program that could have been put right back into operations within two weeks after the weapons inspectors left.
Once again: Was Saddam Hussein 1-3 years from getting a nuclear bomb, and was Saddam Hussein a religious nut who believed it was his duty to bring about the apocalypse? No.

Trajan Octavian Titus said:
No I want to take out Iran but I don't think the Democrats that are calling for it are really behind it 100% they're just using Iran as a way to blame Bush for something else in a round about way. I think if Bush does deploy the troops you'll be hearing the same cut and run montra as they did with Iraq. Don't forget the Dems were 100% for the war in Iraq until the going got a little rough.
So what in the world are you disputing that I have written about Iran?
 

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Kandahar said:
For the insurgency to become merely a nuisance,
Well that is about what they are. But THAT is the ONLY thing that would be a sign of progress throughout this whole thing? The elections are not? The constitution is not? The growing Iraqi forces are not?

so that Bush is able to grow a spine and deal with Iran before they get nukes.
Well wait a minute we are doing this in conjunction with the great governments or Europe, in fact THEY are the point men on this, remember the same governments the left says we should have listened to and deffered to over Iraq. Now we should act unilaterally against Iran? We should "bully" the Europeans?

Does anyone seriously believe that Iran would be this belligerent if we WEREN'T bogged down in Iraq?
Yes.

If Iran acquires nukes, it will be because of the mess in Iraq.
No it will be because the want them, have always wanted them, and tried to get them long before we were in Iraq.

This president's "success" in Iraq will be responsible for the start of nothing less than a new Cold War (or a nuclear war) between the West and the Islamic world.
So if we leave Iraq Iran will give up it's quest, which began long before were there, for nuclear arms? Absurd.

Had we not gone into Iraq and removed Saddam he would be well on HIS way to a nuclear weapon (if not having completed it) and you're saying in the face of this Iran would NOT have created their own? Folly.
 

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Stinger said:
Well that is about what they are. But THAT is the ONLY thing that would be a sign of progress throughout this whole thing? The elections are not? The constitution is not? The growing Iraqi forces are not?
Not really, no. I'm interested in American security, not elections or constitutions in Iraq. And the Iraqi forces are only growing because we disbanded the entire army.

If the insurgency is just a nuisance, why don't we withdraw our troops and let the Iraqi government deal with the nuisance?

Stinger said:
Well wait a minute we are doing this in conjunction with the great governments or Europe, in fact THEY are the point men on this, remember the same governments the left says we should have listened to and deffered to over Iraq. Now we should act unilaterally against Iran? We should "bully" the Europeans?
What you imagine some people believed about unilateralism in Iraq, is of little relevance to the reality of the situation facing us regarding Iran.

Stinger said:
Ridiculous. Iran is pushing for nukes now because they believe we're too weak to stop them. And if George Bush's actions are any indication, they're probably right.

Stinger said:
No it will be because the want them, have always wanted them, and tried to get them long before we were in Iraq.
But why is George Bush being such a ***** in stopping them, if not because of Iraq?

Stinger said:
So if we leave Iraq Iran will give up it's quest, which began long before were there, for nuclear arms? Absurd.
Not voluntarily. But we'll stop them.

Stinger said:
Had we not gone into Iraq and removed Saddam he would be well on HIS way to a nuclear weapon (if not having completed it) and you're saying in the face of this Iran would NOT have created their own? Folly.
That's ridiculous. Saddam was nowhere CLOSE to a nuclear bomb. Even if he wanted one it would've taken him at least ten years with no outside interference.

You guys would do a lot better in these debates over geopolitical strategy if you stopped lying, yes?
 
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