No, no, no….
The problems in Iraq, in the radical Middle East at large—with democratization, with nuclearization, with Islamism—are not, repeat not, a lack of dialogue with Syria and Iran.
We know what both rogue states wish and it is our exit from the Middle East and thus a free hand to undermine the newly established democracies of Lebanon and Iraq—in the manner that all autocracies must destroy their antitheses.
They both sponsor and harbor terrorists for a reason—to undermine anything Western: a Western-leaning Lebanese democracy, a Western-style democracy in Iraq, a Westernized Israel, or soldiers of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Syria, as we see once again with the killing of Pierre Gemayel, is practicing serial murdering in Lebanon. I was on the Hugh Hewitt show last night, and he was right to make the point that Syria is like the Nazi regime of the late 1930s that sent its agents into Eastern Europe and Austria to assassinate and undermine republican leaders, to pave the way for the ‘necessary’ and ‘welcome’ entrance of the order-bringing Wehrmacht into a ‘brother’ state.
Iran is a rogue nation that seeks bombs to use them against the region’s only viable democracy in Israel. Neither Damascus nor Teheran can tolerate a democratic Iraq—no more than the Soviet Union would have allowed the Baltic Republics to have pro-Western democracies or Nazi Germany wished to be a partner in peace with republican Czechoslovakia.
Yes, yes, we need perhaps to have a national “dialogue”, but not over talking to Iran and Syria—but instead whether we wish to continue to fight and win this war.
Tell us it ain’t so?
As I understood the President, whether in his ‘Axis of Evil’ speech or his ‘with us or against us’ construct, the United States is no longer seeking Clintonian short-term, stop-gap palliatives of cruise missiles and federal indictments. Instead we are at war with both terrorists in the field, and the regimes that sponsor, pay, and host them. In such an existential struggle, democracy is as destabilizing to them as jihadism is to us, and so we promote it whenever we can as the right and smart thing to do—especially given the hysterical hatred toward it voiced by bin Laden and Dr. Zawahiri.
And for all the conundrum, the war against the jihadists is still going well. Iran and Syria are striking out because they feel surrounded—democratic Turkey on one side, Israel on the other, with nearby democracies struggling to become established in Kurdistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Al Qaeda is being dismantled, and a Europe galvanizing against Islamic fascism. Even the impotent UN is beginning to stir against Iran and Syria. If we can stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq, we can bring enormous pressure on both these two rogue nations. So why give up now—which is what talking to these amoral governments constitutes, given our previous rhetoric and vow to quit the appeasement?
But why would either Damascus or Teheran wish to talk? The answer is plain. The former wants to profess to cool it a bit in destabilizing Iraq in exchange for us turning a blind eye in Lebanon; the latter wants to act like stopping the sending of agents of our destruction into Iraq in exchange for cooling our rhetoric about their bomb. What we would be doing in essence by “dialoguing” is saying to both the democracies in Lebanon and Israel, “Sorry, but we have to find a way out of Iraq, and these fascists will promise to turn away from us if they can turn on you.”
All this is dressed up with realist “maturity” and “concern” but it would be consistent with those who brought us Iran-Contra, aid to both Iran and Iraq in their war, stopping before Baghdad, hugs with the House of Saud that paid money to those who killed Americans, and on and on. If Syria and Iran can be assured of a truce, that we won’t destabilize them at home or stop their adventurism abroad, then they might let us save face in Iraq. That they would ever honor such a deal is absurd, that we would ever believe they would is worse than absurd.
For five long years many of us have praised this administration’s constancy and idealism, in removing the Taliban and Saddam, and then staying on to do the hard, the easily caricatured work of democratization. The liberal hawks have long bailed. The paleos have turned venomous in their criticism. Many of the neo-cons have sought escape by blaming the flawed occupation for ruining their supposedly perfect three-week take-down of Saddam. But there are millions of us still out there who, Jacksonian in spirit, close ranks and will support our troops wherever they are. But we simply cannot ask Americans to die in Anbar province while talking to the Iranians and Syrians who are doing their best through surrogates in killing them.
.... [break for rant about bad apologies]
Which brings us to the concluding thought.
Most in the West profess, albeit secretly, that these particular, regional and perceived Middle East grievances really are connected. We nod in approval to each pundit and expert as they deceive us by convoluted exegeses—the West Bank is not Lebanon that is not the Taliban that is not Iraq that is not the Iranian bomb-making that is not Wahhabism, that is not…
But inside perhaps we know that they are really akin to the generic hatred that our fathers battled in Nazism, Italian fascism, and Japanese militarism—disjointed, often unconnected ideologies of evil that, nevertheless, found their common purpose—surely enough to go to war together—in hating liberal Western society.
And we all know, for all our self-doubt and self-loathing, that the West really is strong, at least strong enough to smash jihadists and their patrons.
So apparently we are in another Phony War circa October 1939 to May 1940, awaiting the provocation—another 9/11? A nuclear strike on Israel? A full-fledged brazen Syrian invasion of Lebanon? A terrorist killing of the Pope or mass murder in Paris or Berlin?— that sets us off.
And we know that like a Nazi Germany that invaded Russia and declared war on the United States, or a Japan that bombed Pearl Harbor and hoped for our instant surrender, that these jihadists have not a clue about the danger they are courting, apparently thinking that most Americans care only about Mark Foley’s email or Britni Spears’ divorce.
But tragically time will tell for these naïve and self-destructive killers. Their clock is ticking…
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Say It Again, VDH
Sometimes, it's not enough to refer to VDH; one must quote him at length to put the underline under the row of exclamation marks...