Saturday, May 27, 2006


Here's Victor David Hansen:

[W]hat did 2,400 brave and now deceased Americans really sacrifice for in Iraq, along with thousands more who were wounded? And what were billions in treasure spent on? And what about the hundreds of collective years of service offered by our soldiers?
Our soldiers fought for the chance of a democracy; that fact is uncontestable. Before they came to Iraq, there was a fascist dictatorship. Now, after three elections, there is an indigenous democratic government for the first time in the history of the Middle East. True, thousands of Iraqis have died publicly in the resulting sectarian mess; but thousands were dying silently each year under Saddam — with no hope that their sacrifice would ever result in the first steps that we have already long passed.

Our soldiers also removed a great threat to the United States. Again, the crisis brewing over Iran reminds us of what Iraq would have reemerged as. Like Iran, Saddam reaped petroprofits, sponsored terror, and sought weapons of mass destruction. But unlike Iran, he had already attacked four of his neighbors, gassed thousands of his own, and violated every agreement he had ever signed. There would have been no nascent new democracy in Iran that might some day have undermined Saddam, and, again unlike Iran, no internal dissident movement that might have come to power through a revolution or peaceful evolution.
After Iraq, the reputation of bin Laden and radical Islam has not been enhanced as alleged, but has plummeted. For all the propaganda on al Jazeera, the chattering classes in the Arab coffeehouses still watch Americans fighting to give Arabs the vote, and radical Islamists in turn beheading men and women to stop it.

These are significant matters. We've lost 2,400 soldiers in this conflict; we'll lose more. The people of Iraq have lost many thousands to suicide bombers and other forms of terrorist attack, as well as to the horrible vagaries of combat in an urban zone, and they too will lose more - ask Israel - yet they continue to campaign and vote and start businesses and create newspapers and buy appliances and open clinics and exhibit an optimism missing from their nation for decades.

So in addition to the gratitude we formally offer the fallen soldiers of our history on Memorial Day, I want to add this remembrance of the accomplishments of the fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the hundred-thousand-plus fighting and building in theater and the hundreds-of-thousands-plus in supporting roles:

What you have done is near to a miracle, and you've done it essentially under radio silence, uphill through molasses, ignoring the "support" that calls for you to leave your job unfinished and the "respect" that decries you as ignorant children. Thank you for your service; thank you for your sacrifices; thank you for your Churchillian commitment.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Preaching to the choir

I've come across this essay several times in the past couple of days - I think Instapundit had it, and I know Jeff Goldstein over at PW did, and I just saw that Pejman at the mellifluous A Chequer-Board of Nights and Days does as well. The terrible misfortune of it all is that not a mind will be changed. Those whose minds are made up won't even read it, much less be influenced by it, because Opinion Journal is after all a mouthpiece for the Administration. But still...

Iraqis can participate in three historic elections, pass the most liberal constitution in the Arab world, and form a unity government despite terrorist attacks and provocations. Yet for some critics of the president, these are minor matters. Like swallows to Capistrano, they keep returning to the same allegations--the president misled the country in order to justify the Iraq war; his administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments; Saddam Hussein turned out to be no threat since he didn't possess weapons of mass destruction; and helping democracy take root in the Middle East was a postwar rationalization. The problem with these charges is that they are false and can be shown to be so--and yet people continue to believe, and spread, them.

Of course Mr. Wehner proceeds to demonstrate the falseness of the charges, so that all of us who do read OJ can nod our heads vigorously. But in a week in which a skinny wide-eyed kid claims to be a Ranger (and Special Forces to boot) and proceeds to "admit" to military atrocities rivalling WWII propaganda (on both sides!) about what the enemy would do to "our" women and children if they could, it's got to be worth something to stand up for the verifiable.

In case any benighted soul reading this thinks Jesse MacBeth has a shred of credibility left after his pathetic impersonation attempt, click the link, click the link; he's at best delusional, and at worst malevolent.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Iraqi cabinet is formed

Tip o' the hat to Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom for alerting me to this... ahem...


I have to say that the Iraqis have a positive talent for doing noteworthy things that don't coincide with the Western news cycle. I'd like to refer the interested to Gateway Pundit's roundup of the story, which includes the headline that "A Sunni representative tried to stop the proceedings but he was voted down" - which, gosh, is one heck of a sight better than being gunned down, you know?

Still light blogging; I'm in the process of preparing to go back to work. I don't mean "go back to work" as in, "I was on my lunch hour but I'm going back to work now," but rather "I was staying home with kids for some five years but I'm going back to work now." It's... distracting, to say the least, which bodes well for my work but not so well for my blog. I hope to achieve balance. Someday.