"If Iraq had nothing to do with al Qaeda, why did al Qaeda feel the need to attack Spain, one of America's coalition partners? I mean why not blow up 200 people in Minsk? Or Bogata? Supporters of the war say the reason al Qaeda is trying — and, alas, succeeding — to tear apart the Coalition is that they cannot afford to see democracy win in Iraq. A stable and prospering Iraq will transform the Middle East, over time, into a region where the bloody fanaticism of bin Laden has no appeal."
        - Jonah Goldberg, "National Review"

Words matter. Words convey moral clarity. Without moral clarity, we will not succeed in Iraq. That is why the terms the press uses to cover this conflict are so vital. For example, take the word 'guerillas'. As you noted, mainstream media sources like the New York Times often use the terms 'insurgents' or 'guerillas' to describe the Sunni Triangle gunmen, as if these murderous thugs represented a traditional national liberation movement. But when the Times reports on similar groups of masked reactionary killers operating in Latin American countries, they utilize the phrase 'paramilitary death squads'. Same murderers, different designations. Yet of the two, 'insurgents' — and especially 'guerillas' — has a claim on our sympathies that 'paramilitaries' lacks. This is not semantics: imagine if the media routinely called the Sunni Triangle gunmen 'right wing paramilitary death squads'. Not only would the description be more accurate, but it would offer the American public a clear idea of the enemy in Iraq. And that, in turn, would bolster public attitudes toward the war. Supporters of the conflict in Iraq bear much blame for allowing the terminology — and, by extension, the narrativ e— of events to slip from our grasp and into the hands of the anti-war camp. Words and ideas matter. Instead of saying that the Coalition 'invaded' Iraq and 'occupies' it today, we could more precisely claim that the allies liberated the country and are currently reconstructing it. More than cosmetic changes, these definitions reflect the nobility of our effort in Iraq, and steal rhetorical ammunition from the left... Anyone who cares about success in our struggle against Islamofascism, or upholds principles of moral clarity and lucid thought,  should combat such Orwellian distortions of our language.
        - Steven Vincent, interview given before assassination in Iraq, "Front Page Magazine"

The media seem to have come up with a formula that would make any war in history unwinnable and unbearable: They simply emphasize the enemy's victories and our losses. Losses suffered by the enemy are not news, no matter how large, how persistent, or how clearly they indicate the enemy's declining strength.
        - Thomas Sowell

Iraqification - WMDs - Iraq War - Islamic Fundamentalism


"We are not going to kill our our way out of all the problems in Iraq."
        - General Petraeus

The war in Iraq is no longer even a war in a traditional sense. In July, four times as many Americans were murdered in the city of Chicago in peacetime than were killed in Iraq at war in the same period. The cost of deploying American troops in Iraq is nearing the expense to station them elsewhere abroad. As Iraqis continue to take over additional provinces, the American presence will shrink further.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review" (Oct'08)

Defeatism Defeated: If victory in Iraq was oversold at the outset, there are now signs that defeat is likewise being oversold today. One of the earliest signs of this was that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that he could not wait for General David Petraeus' September report on conditions in Iraq but tried to get an immediate Congressional mandate to pull the troops out... Senator Reid had to pre-empt defeat before General Petraeus could report progress... Victory is not even defined the same way in Iraq as it was in World War II. American troops do not need to stay in Iraq until the last vestige of terrorism has been wiped out. The point when it is safe to begin pulling out is the point when the Iraqi military and police forces are strong enough to continue the fight against the terrorists on their own.
        - Thomas Sowell

It is only now — after the Sunnis have fought, lost, and learned the futility of continued resistance — that there a better chance for a lasting stability. It is impossible to imagine that the Southern Plantationists in 1860 would have been willing to reconcile with the North, or that Germans would have come to their senses and rejected Hitler in 1939. If the old dictum remains valid, that a war’s reconstruction and reconciliation come after, not before, the defeat of an enemy, then it may well be that the Sunnis had to learn the hard truth, the hard way, about the perversity of al Qaeda, the military superiority of the United States, and the permanence of the Iraqi constitutional government.
        -  Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

They leave Iraq a far better place than they found it.
        - Con Coughlin, as British troops prepare to leave Iraq, "The Telegraph"

Our mission was to provide security for the Iraqi people, and in that the US and Maliki’s government have recently had marked success and we have failed. The fault does not lie with our fighters. They have been extremely brave and as effective as their orders and their equipment would allow. It raises questions about the stamina of our nation and the resolve of our political class. It is an uncomfortable conclusion that Britain, with nuclear weapons, cruise missiles, aircraft carriers and the latest generation of fighter-bombers, is incapable of securing a medium-size conurbation. Making Basra safe was an essential part of the overall strategy; having committed ourselves to our allies we let them down... The British media and public have shown scant regard for our failure to protect Iraqis, so the British nation, not just its government, has attracted distrust. We should reflect on what sort of country we have become. We may enjoy patronising Americans but they demonstrate a fibre that we now lack.
        - Michael Portillo, former Tory minister, "The Times"

"Day after day, hour after hour, they keep the pressure on the enemy that would do our citizens harm. They've overthrown two of the most brutal tyrannies of the world, and liberated more than 50 million citizens. In Iraq, our troops are taking the fight to the extremists and radicals and murderers all throughout the country... Like our enemies in the past, they kill Americans because we stand in their way of imposing this ideology across a vital region of the world. This enemy is dangerous; this enemy is determined; and this enemy will be defeated... One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like ‘boat people’, ‘re-education camps’, and ‘killing fields’..."
        - George W. Bush, praising the US military's conduct in the war on terror

If we were to leave Iraq and it descended into a genocidal bloodletting, would the George Clooneys of the world favor a new intervention on humanitarian grounds?
        - Rich Lowry, "National Review"

More than half the exchanges I have about Iraq are concerned with the sheer fact of how messed up it is. I try politely to point out that this is a non sequitur. The messed-up-ness of the country is part of the original justification for taking action, as I attempted to say before April 2003. Unless perhaps you think that we should have intervened in some other country that was not near terminally ruined and not on the verge of civil war and of intervention from outside neighbors. A Somalia on the Tigris. A Rwanda astride the sea lanes of the Gulf. A Bosnia in Mesopotamia. Every picture of today's chaos and violence serves to remind me of how much worse things would have been had Iraq been left to rot and crash.
        - Christoper Hitchens, "MSN Slate"

If Saddam Hussein's regime had been permitted to run its course and to devolve (if one can use such a mild expression) into the successorship of Udai and Qusai, the resulting detonation would have been even more vicious. And into the power vacuum would have stepped not only Saudi Arabia and Iran, each with its preferred confessional faction, but also Turkey, in pursuit of hegemony in Kurdistan. In other words, the alternative was never between a tranquil if despotic Iraq and a destabilizing foreign intervention, but it was, rather, a race to see which kind of intervention there would be. The international community in its wisdom decided to delay the issue until the alternatives were even fewer, but it is idle to pretend that Iraq was going to remain either unified or uninvaded after the destruction of its fabric as a state by three decades of fascism and war, including 12 years of demoralizing sanctions. Iraq has only three alternatives before it. The first is dictatorship by one faction or sect over all the others: a solution that has been exhausted by horrific failure. The second is partition, which would certainly involve direct intervention by all its neighbors to secure privileges for their own proxies and would therefore run the permanent risk of civil war. And the third is federalism, where each group would admit that it was not strong enough to dictate terms to the others and would agree to settle differences by democratic means. Quixotic though the third solution may seem, it is the only alternative to the most gruesome mayhem—more gruesome than anything we have seen so far. It is to the credit of the United States that it has at least continued to hold up this outcome as a possibility—a possibility that would not be thinkable if the field were left to the rival influences of Tehran and Riyadh.
        - Christopher Hitchens, "Slate"

When people say that they want to end the war in Iraq, I always want to ask them which war they mean. There are currently at least three wars, along with several subconflicts, being fought on Iraqi soil. The first, tragically, is the battle for mastery between Sunni and Shiite. The second is the campaign to isolate and defeat al-Qaida in Mesopotamia. The third is the struggle of Iraq's Kurdish minority to defend and consolidate its regional government in the north.
        - Christopher Hitchens, "There are Three Wars, We're Winning Two", "Slate Magazine"

Would more U.S. troops alter Iraq's homicidal dynamic? Not really, given that, on the question of sectarian rage, America is now largely beside the point. True, U.S. troops can be — and have been — a vital buffer between Iraq's warring sects. But they cannot reprogram their coarsened and brittle cultures. Even if America had arrived in Iraq with a detailed post-war plan, twice the number of troops, and all the counterinsurgency expertise in the world, my guess is that we would have found ourselves in exactly the same spot. The Iraqis, after all, still would have had the final say.
        - Lawrence Kaplan, "The New Republic"

If only Iraq had — were capable of — a normal civil war. Its civil war — fueled by religion and tribal rivalries and leavened by rampant criminality and depravity for its own sake — does not offer a clear binary choice between regionally based sides that would allow U.S. forces to pick one and help it win.
        - George F Will, "Washigton Post"

Despite having 140,000 troops in Iraq, our military is still forced to play a game of whack-a-mole with the insurgency and militias, because it cannot dominate the country enough to secure every city and hamlet. The U.S. military constitutes a thin green line capable of containing the insurgency when deployed, but it cannot be everywhere.
        - Philip Carter, "Slate"

As the United States begins to acknowledge the magnitude of its defeat in Iraq, the conflict looks more than ever like a speed-chess replay of Vietnam. A tragedy that took a dozen years to unfold in Southeast Asia has played out in less than four in Mesopotamia. Once again, an intervention that sprang largely from idealistic, anti-totalitarian motives has gone awry because of an administration's deceptions, incomprehension, and incompetence. Once again, the domino theory at the heart of the case has been disproved. And once again, we find ourselves looking for a way out that won't compound the catastrophe. As in the final stages of the Vietnam War, we face the question: If we have lost, why are we still there? One answer is that George Bush is a stubborn man—even this week, he was insisting we won't withdraw "until the mission is complete"—an apparent synonym for "when hell freezes over." A better answer is that we're staying to prevent genocide. Without a military force separating Sunnis and Shiites, the present savagery could go Cambodian, with remaining secular democrats as the first victims. A power vacuum could provide a new operational base for al-Qaida and severe sectarian violence (call it what you prefer) could spiral into all-out civil war and regional conflict. As awful as it is now, Iraq would surely get much, much worse if we yanked our troops.
        - Jacob Weisberg, "Slate"

Like the old saw about Eskimos having a hundred words for snow, it seemed that anyplace the United States sends troops creates a new word for Vietnam... You get the sense that Earth could be invaded by Klingons and some editorialist would hear 'echoes of Vietnam' amidst their disruptor blasts.
        - Jonah Goldberg, "USA Today"

The New Republic's editors seem to have mistaken Vietnam movies for real life.
        - Peggy Noonan, on the fake Iraq War diairies scandal, "Wall Street Journal"

The war in Iraq, as President Bush has thus far insisted on defining and fighting it, ends up being for Iran an all-gain, no-pain proxy war — a war in which Iran can insure our eventual defeat in Iraq, without paying any real price for it, by continuing to refuel both the insurgency and the civil war there for as long as it takes to get us to give up. How this is done is no secret: Iran sends a never-ending supply of money, men, and weapons to Sunni as well as Shia terrorists inside Iraq, and gives them all a safe-haven network of extra-territorial training and supply bases — some on Iranian soil, others just across the border in Syria. From this perspective, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to send greatly increased numbers of U.S. troops to Iraq. We would still be fighting a basically defensive war, and doing it in a way that would greatly increase the cost to us, in money and perhaps in blood as well, without dealing with the most intractable of the many problems we face in Iraq: the Iranian offensive. From this perspective, it makes much more sense to send American planes, warships, and missiles to strike Iran hard enough to cripple its regime’s ability to make war on us — in Iraq or anywhere else —
with either the conventional weapons they already have or the nuclear weapons they are racing to
        - Barbara Lerner, "National Review"

In Iraq the media have adopted the strange practice of not naming the perpetrators of killings — unless the perpetrators might happen to be Americans. As the scholar Michael Rubin has pointed out, the use of the passive voice in the media has become routine. For example, a recent McClatchy story read: "Nearly 2,700 Iraqi civilians were killed in the city in September."
"Well, who killed them?" Rubin asks. "Baathist insurgents or Iranian-backed militias? If the public read that Iranian-backed militias killed nearly 2700 civilians, we might be less willing to reward their murderers." Another example, this one from the New York Times: "Most of the 500 municipal workers who have been killed here since 2005 have been trash collectors." Rubin notes: "Again, someone did the killing. Why hide it? It's important to know what we are up against." Not identifying the killers makes it hard for people to direct outrage against them — and easy to direct it against Americans.
        - Clifford D. May, "National Review"


"If we don't fight the terrorists over there, we'll have to fight them over here."
        - George W. Bush, from a 2005 speech on importance of Iraq

"Extinguish the flames of the sectarian treachery. Every drop of blood shed is a waste."
        - Joint appeal from both Shia and Sunni communities for peace

The problem in Iraq — as in other situations around the world — is that a few thousand can control the news, control the atmosphere, in a sense control the country. But when something like this happens, we shouldn't forget the millions who want to live decently — the millions we saw braving dangers to go to the polls last year. Three times. Will the terrorists be allowed to steal the country from these millions?
        - Jay Nordlinger, after another atrocity in Iraq, "National Review"

Every now and then, we should remind ourselves what Iraqi politicians risk. I myself was reminded when I saw a headline not long ago: "Iraq Governor Killed by Bomb." Actually, two of them were killed, within about a week: Mohammed Ali al-Hassani and Khalil Jalil Hamza... If you’re an American politician, what’s your biggest concern? Your reelection? That the guy next to you has an office bigger by seven inches?
        - Jay Nordlinger, "National Review"

I thought of something, the other day: A few years ago, I was present when a young person was asked, “What do you think about the Iraq War?” And he said, sort of clearing his throat, “Well, I want us to win.” And then he went on with a fuller answer... A question might be put to Senator Obama: Do you want us to win? Or, like Howard Dean and many others — on both left and right — do you think winning is impossible, or meaningless? Furthermore, you say you want to end the war: Is there a difference between ending it and losing it?
        - Jay Nordlinger, "National Review" (May'08)

"There's a false notion that we all ought to recover from everything... There's something to be said for remembering and not healing."
        - An interview with an Iraq War veteran, "Operation Homecoming"

The appetite for putting Mr Blair in the dock for having the temerity to remove a dictator still seems inexhaustible. Previous generations would be mystified. From our bombardment of the Danish fleet in 1806 to Churchill’s sinking of the French Navy at Mers el-Kebir in 1940, British Prime Ministers have been more than ready to take pre-emptive action to avert potential threats. But rather than reflect on that lesson, those who shape our culture would rather vilify politicians who are prepared to take risks for our freedoms. And hours are devoted to discussing the rights and wrongs of Saddam Hussein’s death, while scarcely a moment is found to honour the memory of all those he slaughtered before he was toppled. It’s an attitude that is beyond satire.
        - Michael Gove, "The Times"

Iraq is the excuse du jour for jihadists. But the important factor is that these are young men looking for an excuse. If you live your life calculating that it’s a mistake to do anything that might prompt murderers and savages to act like murderers and savages, you’ve basically decided to live under their thumb and surrender your civilization in the process... Germany, recall, proudly opposed the Iraq war — but still narrowly missed a Spain-style terrorist attack on its rail system this summer.
        - Jonah Goldberg, "National Review"

When the Founders of our nation said "all men" they had in mind Christian Anglo-Saxon men. Our leaders, though, want to bring the whole world under the scope of those grand Lockeian principles. George W. Bush believes that, to borrow and adjust a line from the colonel in Full Metal Jacket: "Inside every Middle East Muslim there is an American trying to get out". The effort to stabilize Iraq, and the reluctance to just leave the Iraqis to fight each other among the rubble, followed inevitably from that belief, which is, according to me, a false belief.
        - John Derbyshire, "National Review"

Like Chomsky, I was opposed to what I believed was an illegal war in Iraq. In my travels in that country, I, too, have been troubled by the consequences of occupation. Where I differ from him, however, is that I reject Chomsky's view that American misdeeds are printed through history like the lettering in a stick of rock. Instead, the conclusions I have drawn from more than a decade of reporting wars on the ground is that motivations are complex, messy and contradictory, that the best intentions can spawn the worst outcomes and, occasionally, vice versa... The faults of the Bush administration will not be changed by books such as Failed States. They will be swept away by ordinary, decent Americans in the world's greatest — if flawed and selfish — democracy going to the polls.
        - Peter Beaumont, reviewing Chomsky's "Failed States" in "The Observer"

This generation of Democratic opposition, in a foolish and short-sighted manner, has turned an American struggle into George Bush’s futile war, it will either have to abandon the democracy in Iraq or recant and assure the rest of us that its past hateful and extremist rhetoric was just politics. Who knows — perhaps President Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Wesley Clark, and Attorney General John Edwards may soon appear on television extending support for democrats in Baghdad or deploring unlawful disclosures that emboldened terrorists plotting to blow up Washington.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

What happened to the human shields? I didn't think it was wise or principled of certain activists to go to Baghdad in 2003 and swear to put themselves between Iraqi civilians and undue harm. But would not now be the ideal time for those who hate war to go to Iraq and stand outside the mosques, hospitals, schools, and women's centers that are daily subjected to murderous assaults? This would write an imperishable page in the history of American dissent.
        - Christopher Hitchens, "Slate Magazine" (Jun'06)

The terrorists have an invaluable ally in the global media, whose "if it bleeds, it leads" brand of journalism always favors the severed head in the street over the completion of yet another Iraqi school. One of the great lapses in world journalism is investigating what happened to the 100,000 criminals let out by Saddam Hussein on the eve of the war. Thus the terrorists have succeeded in making all the daily mayhem of a major city appear to be political violence — even though much of the problem is the theft, rape, and murder committed by criminals who have had a holiday since Saddam freed them.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

Twenty-five members of the Baader-Meinhof group wanted to overthrow German capitalism. Well 25 people is not a great democratic caucus, so therefore they resorted obviously to extreme political violence. I wanted to look at these particular groups in various historical contexts and to look at the mindset of why people join them, how the dynamics of the group operate psychologically — that terrorism can become almost a way of life — and particularly to focus on the thing that everybody seems to slightly neglect, which is that the main thing they do is to kill people... I think it’s quite important to establish that and also maybe to say look, there are some terrorists that you can negotiate with... there are demands you can make which at least might diminish the support they might have within given communities, and there are other people whose objectives are completely insane. I mean, we’re not going to abolish Western civilisation on behalf of the jihadists... The point of the book is that there has been so much public discussion about what the West did right and did wrong in Iraq and we can all legitimately have arguments about that, but the danger of that is that you move away from the fact that the terrorists are the problem.
        - Michael Burleigh, discussing "Climate of Fear", "The Spectator"

Which of these two do we Americans know anything about? Is it the daily minutiae of an empty-headed blond, Paris Hilton, or the enlightened action of a Marine colonel, Sean McFarland, in Iraq, who helped turn once murderous Sunni insurgents into fellow enemies of al Qaeda — in a war that might well change the future of millions in the region and of Americans here at home? In this time of war, our news channels tell us more than we wish about O.J.’s latest rampage in Vegas. But they give us almost nothing about Colonels Rick Gibbs, or David Sutherland, or JB Burton, or Paul Funk, or Michael Kershaw — or dozens more like Cols JR McMaster and Chris Gibson, who are daily trying to incorporate former enemies in the so-called Triangle of Death into coalition forces to stabilize Iraq... We should know the names of the Iraqis and Americans who brought this change about, in the manner we knew of Bastogne and Iwo Jima... A Society that does not fathom who keeps them safe in order that it might stare at Oprah and fixate on Brad and Angelina, eventually will be a society not kept safe either to so stare or fixate.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "Reconsider What's Newsworthy", "National Review"

The White House once thought a flashy carrier landing was the ceremony for success in Iraq. But the true indication of progress may be when the president's speeches on the subject are just as boring as the State of the Union.
        - John Dickerson, "Slate Magazine"

"The Leader of the Opposition's constant companion is the white flag."
        - Alexander Downer, Australian Foreign Minister, defending Australia's presence in Iraq

The Iraq war is unpopular in Australia, as it is in America and in Britain. But the Aussie government is happy for the opposition to bring up the subject as often as they want because Downer and his prime minister understand very clearly that wanting to "cut and run" is even more unpopular. So in the broader narrative it's a political plus for them: Unlike Bush and Blair, they've succeeded in making the issue not whether the nation should have gone to war but whether the nation should lose the war.
        - Mark Steyn, "Chicago sun Times"

Originally, these fellows were blowing up infidels. And from that point of view, that makes a lot of sense. Then they found it harder to blow up infidels, and they started blowing up their brother Muslims: Shiia and Kurds, and Muslims in other countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. And again, you could say well, these fellows, they're blowing up Shiia and Kurds, and if they want to have an Iraqi civil war, then blowing up Shiites is the way to go. Now, they're blowing up their brother Sunnis in Muslim weddings in Jordanian hotels. And this is a pathetic... where's the strategy in that?
        - Mark Steyn, in conversation with Hugh Hewitt on "Radio Blogger"

The Iraqi insurrection broke out not so much because we had 200,000 rather than 400,000 troops in country; but rather because a three-week strike that decapitated the Baathist elite, despite its showy “shock and awe” pyrotechnics, was never intended, World War II-like, to crush the enemy and force terms on a shell-shocked, defeated, and humiliated populace. Many of our challenges, then, are not the war in Iraq per se, but the entire paradox of postmodern war in general in a globally televised world. Past history suggests that military efficacy is not so much always a question of the number of troops — but rather of how they are used. Each month, fewer Americans are dying in Iraq, while more Iraqis are fighting the terrorists — as it becomes clear to them that some enormous occupation force is not on its own going to save the Iraqis’ democracy for them. Nothing in this war is much different from those of the past. We have fought suicide bombers in the Pacific. Intelligence failures doomed tens of thousands — not 2,300 — at the Bulge and Okinawa. We pacified the Philippines through counterinsurgency fighting. Ever since 9/11 we have been in a long, multifaceted, and much-misunderstood war against jihadists and their autocratic enablers from Manhattan to Kabul, from Baghdad to the Hindu Kush, from London and Madrid to Bali and the Philippines. For now, Iraq has become the nexus of that struggle, in the heart of the ancient caliphate, rather than the front once again in Washington and New York. Whose vision of the future wins depends on who keeps his nerve — or to paraphrase the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo, “Hard pounding, gentlemen; but we will see who can pound the longest.”
        - Victor Davis Hanson, summing up the situation in March 2006, "National Review"

Opinion polls show that ordinary Iraqis are looking forward optimistically to a democratic future. Are Iraqis sorry Saddam was overthrown? Harold Pinter, please note: 80 per cent of people in the mainly Kurdish provinces and 58 per cent of people in the mainly Shi'ite provinces think the United States was "right to invade Iraq"; 70 per cent of all Iraqis approve of the new constitution and almost as many expect life to be better a year from now. Yes, two thirds want the Americans to go home. But most Americans feel the same way.
        - Niall Ferguson, "The Telegraph"

Bush lied, people dyed. Their fingers. That's what this is about: Millions of Kurds, Shia and Sunnis beaming as they emerge from polling stations and hold up their purple fingers after the freest, fairest election ever held in the Arab world. "Liberal" in the American sense is a dirty word because it's come to stand for a shriveled parochial obsolescent irrelevance. The best way to reclaim "liberal" for the angels is to get on the right side of history — the side the Iraqi people are on. The word "liberal" has no meaning if those who wear the label refuse to celebrate the birth of a new democracy after 40 years of tyranny.
        - Mark Steyn, "The Chicago Sun Times"

Remember that Dr. Zawahiri lists both Afghanistan (his former headquarters) and Iraq in the same breath as reasons for his attacks to come. We in our civil discord tend to distinguish the two theaters; al Qaeda in its unity does not. So as we try to assess the causes of Islamists’ venom toward the West, it seems wiser to listen to what they say rather than what we say they say. If we would do that, we would conclude that the hatred of radical Islam is fed by envy, frustration, and pride — and thus existential: They despise Americans for who we are. That’s why al Qaeda must constantly find new grievances, whether the West Bank, Israel itself, Jews, oil prices, troops in Saudi Arabia, Oil-for-Food, Afghanistan, or Iraq.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

Our media cannot even call terrorists terrorists, but instead give these cutthroats the bland name, "insurgents." You might think that these were like the underground fighters in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. The most obvious difference is that the underground in Europe did not go around targeting innocent civilians. As for the Nazis, they tried to deny the atrocities they committed. But today the "insurgents" in Iraq are proud of their barbarism, videotape it, and publicize it — often with the help of the Western media.
Real insurgents want to get the occupying power out of their country. But the fastest way to get Americans out of Iraq would be to do the opposite of what these "insurgents" are doing. Just by letting peace and order return, those who want to see American troops gone would speed their departure. The United States has voluntarily pulled out of conquered territory all around the world, including neighboring Kuwait during the first Gulf war. But the real goal of the guerrillas and terrorists is to prevent democracy from arising in the Middle East.
        - Thomas Sowell, "Fourth Estate or Fifth Column"

Our dilemma is that we have not sought to defeat and humiliate the enemy as much as wean a people from the thrall of Islamic autocracy. That is our challenge, and explains our exasperating strategy of half-measures and apologies — and the inability to articulate exactly whom we are fighting and why. Imagine that a weak Hitler in the mid-1930s never planned conventional war with the democracies. Instead, he stealthily would fund and train thousands of SS fanatics on neutral ground to permeate European society, convinced of its decadence and the need to return to a mythical time when a purer Aryan Volk reigned supreme. Such terrorists would bomb, assassinate, promulgate fascistic hatred in the media, and whine about Versailles, hoping insidiously to gain concessions from wearied liberal societies that would make ever more excuses as they looked inward and blamed themselves for the presence of such inexplicable evil. All the while, Nazi Germany would deny any connections to these “indigenous movements” and “deplore” such “terrorism,” even as the German people got a certain buzz from seeing the victors of World War I squirm in their discomfort.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "Our Strange War", in "National Review"

That elections are a better thing than tyranny seems a truth so obvious as not to be worth stating. Yet such were the passions aroused by the Iraq war that many Western observers now find themselves hoping, disgracefully, that that country's first free poll will fail. Left-wing commentators, in Britain as in much of Europe, have focused disproportionately on the difficulties that any state must undergo during a transition process. To many of them, every terrorist bomb, every murdered election official, every sign of heightened military alertness - even the loss of a British aircraft - makes a nonsense of Iraq's democratic aspirations. Yesterday's high turnout, in defiance of the gunmen, should be celebrated. Compare yesterday's reports with those by the same commentators during South Africa's first democratic election. No one argued that the backlash by a handful of black homeland chieftains and Boer irreconcilables made South Africa unfit for democracy.
Looking to hang their doubts on something specific, the cynics focus on the ejection of the Sunni Arabs from their traditionally dominant position, and the prospect of a permanent Shia majority... no one contended that the likelihood of a permanent ANC majority - or, to make the analogy more precise, a permanent black majority - invalidated the concept of South African democracy. No one wrote sympathetic pieces about the plight of the Afrikaners as they lost their hegemony. No democratic election is flawless. It is human nature that the loser in any system should blame the system rather than himself, but, yesterday, Iraq became the most democratic country in the Arab world. What a pity that so many writers who, in other circumstances, are optimists about human progress, should shut their eyes to what is happening.
        - Editorial in Britain's "Daily Telegraph": "Iraq confounds the prophets of doom"

That is, as it happens, precisely what the Bush Administration has in mind: to chase the terrorists around the world, unleashing democracy in one God-forsaken corner after another, until the entire swamp of Middle Eastern tyranny has been drained and there is nowhere left for an al-Qa'eda murderer to hang his explosive belt.
        - Janet Daley, "Daily Telegraph"

The second Yalta fallacy was that multilateral bodies can generate common purpose among nations with conflicting interests. By including both the United States and the Soviet Union this time, they thought, the United Nations would succeed where the League of Nations had failed. Instead, the U.N. would prove to be just another theater for superpower conflict over the decades — and by including two of Stalin's puppet Soviet republics as members, Yalta fatally blurred the distinction between democratic and despotic regimes as legitimate voices of the "world community."
        - Arthur Herman, "Bush is Undoing Yalta", "National Review"

One of my favourite cinematic moments is the scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian when Reg, aka John Cleese, the leader of the People's Front of Judea, is trying to whip up anti-Roman sentiment among his team of slightly hesitant commandos. "What have the Romans ever done for us?" he asks.
I can't help but think of that scene as I watch the contortions of the anti-American hordes in Britain, Europe and even in the US itself in response to the remarkable events that are unfolding in the real Middle East today. Little more than three years after US forces, backed by their faithful British allies, set foot in Afghanistan, the entire historical dynamic of this blighted region has already shifted.
Confronted with this awkward turn of events, Reg's angry successors are asking their cohorts: "What have the Americans ever done for us?"
"All right, all right. But apart from liberating 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan, undermining dictatorships throughout the Arab world, spreading freedom and self-determination in the broader Middle East and moving the Palestinians and the Israelis towards a real chance of ending their centuries-long war, what have the Americans ever done for us?"
        - Gerard Baker, from an article in "The Irish Independent"

I just don't happen to buy the notion that torture is a routine policy of the U.S. government in Iraq or elsewhere. And I also don't buy the notion that just because Human Rights Watch reports it, it's true. "Human Rights Watch reveals human rights abuse" is as compelling as "Greenpeace announces environmental crisis." There are billions of dollars at stake in the crisis industry and millions of uh...what's the polite word here? NPR listeners sending in their green. None of them is going to dig very deep when they read, "Greenpeace lauds environmental progress."
        - Denis Boyles, "National Review"

I measure everything these days by a simple test: is it likely to get people killed? In the last three weeks of Mr Bigley's life, the actions of various parties – including, but not limited to, Fleet Street, the governments of Britain and Ireland, and UK Muslim lobby groups – made it more likely that more Britons and other infidels will be kidnapped and beheaded. That is shameful.
        - Mark Steyn, "The Telegraph"

"I was a celebrity now. Great, get me out of here."
        - Rory Carroll, Irish journalist kidnapped (and freed) in Iraq

There is no secret way to pacify Iraq other than to kill the killers, humiliate their cause through defeat, and give the credit of the victory, along with material aid and the promise of autonomous freedom, to moderate Iraqis.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

The next time someone demands a timetable for the war in Iraq, ask them to name just one war — anywhere — that had such a thing.
        - Thomas Sowell

Is it credible to argue, as John Kerry does, that the diversion of American manpower and materials to oust Saddam in Iraq significantly weakened our ability to pursue al Qaeda in Afghanistan — and also to argue, as Kerry does, that the diversion of al Qaeda manpower and materials to Iraq to combat American forces did not significantly weaken the terrorists' ability to strike the United States? Isn't Kerry arguing, in effect, that the United States military, with its resources of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of billions of dollars, cannot effectively sustain two campaigns, but al Qaeda, with far fewer soldiers and far, far less money, can?
       - Mark Goldblatt, "National Review"

Suppose, for a moment, that we in Britain faced a fascist insurgency, which kidnapped a few Jews and black people. Should we negotiate for their lives by releasing Neo-Nazi bombers and racist murderers? Or would we calculate how many more Jews and black people would, as a result, wind up in cellars with knives to their throats?
        - David Aaronovitch, "We must stop bolstering the beheaders", "The Guardian"

"It is the Iraqis who are hit by these attacks on the Americans, they are the ones who get killed. To injure one American you have to kill seven Iraqis. The people who are killing Iraqis want instability so they can do whatever they want."
        - Samir Edwar, Baghdad resident, interviewed in "The Times"

"This isn't an estimate. It's a dart board."
        - Fred Kaplan, on claims of 100,000 civilians deaths in Iraq, "MSN Slate"

We assumed "war on terror" was a polite evasion, the compassionate conservative's preferred euphemism for what was really going on - a war against militant Islam, which, had you designated it as such, would have been harder to square with all those White House Ramadan photo-ops. But here's the interesting thing. Pace the historian, it seems you can wage war against a phenomenon. If the "war on terror" is aimed primarily at al-Qaeda and those of similar ideological bent, it seems to have had the happy side-benefit of discombobulating various non-Islamic terrorists from Colombia to Sri Lanka.
        - Mark Steyn, writing in "National Review"

"The UN (oil-for-food) voucher programme provided Saddam with a useful method of rewarding countries, organisations and individuals willing to co-operate with Iraq to subvert UN sanctions."
        - quote from the "Iraq Survey Group" report

Comedy is a subversive, revolutionary act; it challenges comfortable orthodoxies - if it's not breaking taboos, then it's not doing anything. Nothing should be beyond the remit of satire, and, since death in our culture is the ultimate taboo, then comedy has to be about laughing in the face of that too. Of course, Ken Bigley was the wrong target to pick on; and that moment, as his fate still hung in the balance before his brutal killing, was definitely the wrong time. If he really wants to do some chancy comedy, Billy Connolly should try mocking the Islamic militants who use Allah as an excuse for cutting the heads off ordinary workers in Iraq and posting videos of the deed on the internet. But we'll not hold our breath, eh, Billy? Safety first and all that.
        - Eilis O'Hanlon, "Make Fun of Terrorists, You Smug Coward", Ireland's "Sunday Independent"

Just remember: Bin Laden was not lost in the wastes of Afghanistan; he was lost in the wasted years of the 1990s.
        - David Frum, "National Review"

Almost no one compares the present disturbing costs to previous American sacrifices at the Argonne, Guadalcanal, or the Bulge, much less preventable American miscalculations at Pearl Harbor, the Kasserine Pass, Schwienfurt, and the Yalu River, all of which sent thousands of Americans to their deaths but nevertheless did not lead to strategic defeat. In our present folly, if we are not perfect, then we are failures: war being not the age-old tragic choice between bad and worse alternatives, but a therapeutic alternative of either achieving instant utopia at little cost or calling it quits forever.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

Bush went to war against Saddam not only to avenge September 11 and to show the world that absolutely nobody messes with Uncle Sam, but because he has a messianic conviction that the American Way (descended, of course, from the British Way) is always and everywhere the Best Way. Democracy and free enterprise, he believes, are universally applicable - and any nation that lives under those twin gods is a nation blessed.
        - Tom Utley, "Going into Iraq was wrong, but pulling out now would be worse", "Telegraph"

Bush "lied" because he believed the same intelligence John Kerry believed. No one bothers to ask how it could be possible that Bush lied. How could he have known there were no WMDs? I mean, knowing as he did that there were no WMDs in Iraq, how could he invade the country and think no one would notice? And if he's capable of lying to send Americans to their deaths for some nebulous petro-oedipal conspiracy no intelligent person has bothered to make even credible, why on earth didn't he just plant some WMDs on the victim after the fact? If you're willing to kill Americans for a lie, surely you'd be willing to plant some anthrax to keep your job.
         - Jonah Goldberg, "Shame, Shame, Shame", "National Review"

"Politics and preparing for a presidential election is one thing, but comparing the Bush Administration's fight against al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein with the policies of Adolf Hitler is shameful, beyond the pale and has no place in the legitimate discourse of American politics. Adolf Hitler was responsible for the greatest crime in the history of mankind - the Holocaust. To compare Hitler to an American President is not only ludicrous, but defames the Holocaust."
        - Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean of The Simon Wiesenthal Center

We are now 16 months into the Iraq war. At a similar stage in earlier American wars, how were our forces faring? Well, at about this point in the French and Indian Wars George Washington had been defeated and forced to surrender at Fort Necessity and then disastrously beaten in a fight where his unit of 1,400 men took 900 casualties and ended up running away. Washington's next experience of war, in the American Revolution, began with equal tribulation. Sixteen months into his command, the American army was suffering through a series of traumatic defeats. They'd lost every single battle since the Declaration of Independence, and had depleted 90 percent of their military strength in heavy fighting. Sixteen months into the Civil War, a permanent breakaway of the southern states looked like imminent reality. Sixteen months into U.S. involvement in World War II, the Japanese had taken control of all of the Pacific and Southeast Asia.
        - Karl Zinsmeister,  "16 Months In Perspective", "National Review"

If they gave Hussein a trial akin to the ones he used to preside over, then Hussein would have been forced to watch while his daughters were raped, which was a favourite tactic of his. Or maybe his captors would have set fire to his beard, which was another treatment he used on some Islamic clerics. Or maybe he would have been subjected to the kind of abuses his people practised in Abu Ghraib. Back in the day, Hussein's people in Abu Ghraib inflicted far worse tortures on their guests than the American GIs were guilty of recently. Genital mutilation, removal of the eye lids, caustic soda enemas and common or garden beatings were just some of the items on the menu, and his top torturers were encouraged to improvise and express themselves. But these are the kind of awkward details that get in the way when you are trying to convince your readers that Saddam is being treated as badly by his captors as he used to treat his own people.
        - Ian O'Doherty, "Give Him A Taste of His Own Medicine", "The Irish Independent"

The actions of depraved members of a disapproving society — deeply shamed by people such as the Abu Ghraib abusers and their weird sadism — don’t have the same implications as similar actions carried out as a matter of policy by elite members of a depraved society. What had happened at Abu Ghraib in Saddam’s day — real electrodes, not dummy ones — was specifically ordered. The regime existed because of such terrors, not despite them.
        - David Aaronovitch, "The Times"

In places in Iraq, the enemy was never defeated: he walked away. Thus Baathists were embarrassed but not humiliated, and there is a difference. Embarrassed enemies (like the German imperial army of 1918 or the North Koreans in 1953) claim that they were never defeated but lost only due to treachery and collaboration. We all know the mess that follows. In contrast, those humiliated know that they were not only crushed, but that further resistance brings on their own annihilation — such as the Confederacy of 1865 or the Wehrmacht in 1945. It would have been far easier to deal with those who needed to be dealt with in Fallujah in April 2003 than it was in April 2004.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "Hedging on Iraq", "National Review"

This is a world, after all, in which one Filipino captive on TV can adjudicate the policy of an entire country, while one day of bombing in Madrid can alter an election. We are now centuries away from Londoners getting through the Blitz or Americans enduring Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

We’re not going to get an intelligence service that takes risks until its leaders know that the public will accept that risks sometimes go wrong, sometimes badly wrong. Accepts – and forgives.
        - David Frum, "A Better Class Of Customer", "National Review"

A mess was left behind. But it's a mess without a military to fight aggressive wars; a mess without the facilities to develop dangerous weapons; a mess that cannot systematically kill, torture, and oppress millions of its citizens. It's a mess with a message — don't mess with us.
        - PJ O'Rourke, "Peace Kills"

Iraq is a disaster compared with what? Compared with Saddam and sanctions or Saddam and cyanide?
        - David Aaronovitch, "The Times"

The (British) Government sent the Army to war, but without remotely preparing for its conclusion. The burlesque notion of invading a country without preparing for the subsequent occupation was given an Ealing Comedy touch in the British sector, where the Army still used the rules of engagement that had been created for Northern Ireland. This means that soldiers are trained to return fire at gunmen firing at them, but not at gunmen who have not yet fired at them, or who are changing position, or escaping after ambushing them. This mixing of the rules was made more by glorious by the legal advice that military operations in Iraq are governed by the European Human Rights Act. In effect, this meant that fedayeen fighters would become honorary Europeans whenever they tried to kill a British soldier, or even themselves.
        - Kevin Myers, in Britain's "Sunday Telegraph"

"There is the question of oil. This appears on placards as though the world’s governments ought not to concern themselves about the world’s supply of energy. That is impossible. All the major global economic equations include oil, whether one is talking about the development of China, the US deficit, the level of interest rates, the prospect for inflation, the level of unemployment or the survival of the European Union itself, with its expensive welfare systems. In the 1970s, almost every democratic government in the world was turned out of office by a global inflation based on the oil market. Unfortunately, a high proportion of the world’s oil supply and even higher proportion of reserves exists in countries which run along a single political faultline. This faultline stretches from the Islamic oil states of Central Asia through Iran, through the Middle Eastern oil states, including Iraq and Saudi Arabia, to Nigeria. Any major political disruption along that line is a threat to the whole global economy, equally a threat to the new industries of Shanghai or to the income of an old-age pensioner in Edinburgh."
        - William Rees-Mogg, "Why We Must Not Quit Now", "The Times"

The outrage about the nondisclosures in the Downing Street memos has led Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina to demand that we tell the al-Qaida forces in Iraq exactly when we intend to give up. Jones is the right-wing bigmouth who once wanted to rename French fries "freedom fries." He was a moral and political cretin when he did that and, not to my surprise, he has been unable to stop being a moral and political cretin since.
        - Christopher Hitchens, "MSN Slate"


"As we now know, Dr Kelly was in favour of the war. Not only that, but his most significant point of disagreement with the Government is that it was (officially) opposed to regime change, while he thought it absolutely necessary. In that respect at least, he was more hawkish than Blair, Jack Straw and Colin Powell. He had more faith in the existence of WMD than half the cabinet on either side of the Atlantic. Yet a man who believed there was no option other than war has been enthusiastically adopted by the anti-war crowd as an emblem of their cause."
        - Mark Steyn, "The Daily Telegraph"

"When it comes to a war - it applied both in the Falklands and in Iraq - the BBC takes a pride in being what it calls 'even-handed', which means inventing moral equivalence between the forces of our country and those of aggressive dictatorships. None of these attitudes is unique to the BBC, but what is unique is the BBC's power to impose them."
        - Charles Moore, "The Daily Telegraph"

"It must be remembered that British intelligence was attempting to penetrate the mentality of a man and a regime which were not wholly rational. It now seems probable that most of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed in the early 1990s, either by the first UN inspection team (UNSCOM) or as a precautionary measure on Saddam's own orders. Saddam was, however, unwilling to admit to such a loss of power, because of the prestige his possession of WMD brought him in the region. His policy of disposing of his WMD while refusing to admit the disposal was completely illogical...
It is supremely ironic that the BBC is demanding such a semantic argument, when the trouble it has got itself into was caused precisely by its failure to undertake any sort of editing at all of an unscripted text by a reporter with a less than perfect reputation for reliability."
        - John Keegan, "The Daily Telegraph"

"A policeman shoots a robber who has killed in the past and who brandshes what seems to be a gun. The gun turns out to be a cellphone. The policeman expects a thorough investigation (and ought to cooperate). In the end, if he is exonerated, it is not because he made no mistake but because his mistake was justified. Reasonable people, facing uncertainty, would have thought they saw a gun. George W. Bush and the CIA thought they saw a gun."
        - Jon Rauch, "The War in Iraq Was the Right Mistake to Make", "The Atlantic"

"When the planes flew into the World Trade Center, that was iron-clad proof. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, that was iron-clad proof. We cannot wait for iron-clad proof in a nuclear age.
The Manhattan Project that created the first atomic bomb was based on intelligence reports that Hitler's atomic bomb project was farther along than it turned out to be. Should we have waited and risked having Hitler get the first atomic bomb?"
        - Thomas Sowell, "Weapons of Political Distruction", "Jewish World Review"

"When we look at the frame of reference that Saddam saw around him—and he saw U.N. sanctions, he saw forces around him, he saw diplomatic isolation after 9/11, he saw his revenue streams dropping—he chose at that point in time to allow U.N. inspectors in. As an analyst, I look at that and say, 'Well, were those conditions sustainable?' And I find it hard to conclude that those conditions were stable or sustainable. So, while Saddam chose not to have weapons at that point in time, the conditions which caused him to make that decision were, A, not sustainable; B, extremely expensive, not just for the international community, but for the Iraqis themselves. Over the last decade, observing what happened to the civilian infrastructure of Iraq under the sanctions is stark. I mean, here is a country with enormous talent. The people are educated, Westward- leaning for the most part. They had a great education system. And watching that decay under sanctions was not a pleasant experience. There was an enormous price for that. Those are some of the factors. You know, others will look at the data and draw their conclusions. But my opinion is that the conditions were not sustainable over any lengthy period of time.
...If Saddam was going to accept inspectors coming in, he wanted to get something for it. He wanted to get sanctions lifted. And he kept trying to bargain or barter, and he had not realized the nature of the ground shift in the international community. That was Saddam’s intelligence failure. He did not understand very quickly the radical change of the international landscape. One can understand that to a certain extent because in the period leading up to 9/11 there was a great deal of sympathy for his regime... The ministers around Saddam and Saddam himself expressed the opinion that sanctions were about to end through erosion, through their own collapse."
        - Charles Duelfer, of the Iraq Survey Group, testimonyto US Senate

The unprecedented number of troops who are returning from Iraq with missing limbs has given the US Paralympic Team an unexpected recruitment boost and the chance to become 'unbeatable' at the next Games in Beijing in 2008. More than 60 potential recruits have already been identified in sports as varied as powerlifting, archery and table tennis.
        - The Times


"Argument preceded the war. It threatens to persist. Yet argument, however well founded, should not cloud the coalition's military achievement. The Iraq war was a brilliant operation. The Anglo-American forces were outnumbered two to one. The country they attacked is one of the most inaccessible in the world. Its interior presents a formidable array of obstacles to invasion, notably the great rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates and their tributaries. Any invasion of Iraq is more likely to fail than to succeed... in 22 days the regime of Saddam Hussein was overthrown, his army driven out of existence and the whole territory of Iraq, a country the size of California, occupied by the Anglo-American coalition force.
The world is a better place without Saddam and those who argue about legalities must justify their quibbles in the court of human conscience."
        - John Keegan, "Brilliant Coalition Operation", "The Daily Telegraph"

"Britain and the United States have got into a difficult situation in Iraq and the entire Western media are reacting as if an unprecedented disaster is about to overwhelm their armed forces and governments... the Second World War, which has largely formed Western attitudes to war termination, ended neatly for simple reasons: both the Germans and Japanese had had the stuffing knocked out of them... because we in the Atlantic region remember 1945 as the year of victory over our deadliest enemies, we usually forget that the Second World War did not end neatly in other parts of the world."
        - John Keegan, "Most Conflicts End in Chaos", "The Daily Telegraph"

"The exposure of the United Nations "oil for food" scandal serves as a useful reminder of the general rule that the less accountable an organisation is, the more corruptible it is likely to be. In practice, democratic accountability can be effective only at the national level. All power tends to corrupt, but supranational power corrupts endemically. The UN is a perfect example. So, too, is the European Union."
        - Daily Telegraph editorial

"We've all seen countless WWII movies about how soldiers out of uniform can be shot as spies under the Geneva Convention. Well, all of al Qaeda's soldiers are spies. Osama bin Laden blows up passenger trains and hijacks civilian aircraft. His henchmen don't wear uniforms, and they don't abide by any of the rules governing professional armies. The liberal punditocracy seems to think it's an obvious fact that the Geneva Convention should apply to the war on terrorism, even though the plain text of the Geneva Convention applies as much to the war on terror as it does to the battle between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. If the barbarians get all of the benefits of the Geneva Convention without obeying any of its rules, then it becomes not merely quaint, not merely worthless, but instead a useful tool for those who wish to overthrow all it stands for."
        - Jonah Goldberg,  "Barbarians at the Geneva Gates", "National Review"

"Americans believe that freedom and consensual government — far from being the exclusive domain of the West — are ideals central to the human condition and the shared aspirations of all born into this world. That is the great hope we embrace now in Iraq.
In Germany, Japan, Italy, South Korea, Panama, Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraq Americans have died to eradicate totalitarianism and autocracy and sought to leave liberal societies in their place."
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

"My distinguished former colleague, the dean of Canadian columnists David Warren, brilliantly characterised what’s going on in Iraq as 'carefully hung flypaper'. In other words, the US occupation of Iraq is bringing Saudis and other Islamonutters out of the surrounding swamps — and that’s a good thing. If they’re really so eager to strike at the Great Satan, better they attack its soldiers in Iraq than its commuters on the Golden Gate Bridge... Would you rather 'Muslim militants' attempted to blow up civilians in Boston and Dallas or instead tried to take on the world’s best-armed soldiers in Tikrit and Ramadi? It’s not a tough call. "
        - Mark Steyn, "The Spectator"

"The BBC asked the Iraqi people last week what they thought and guess what? Some 70% of Iraqis are pleased with the ways things have gone, 85% want democracy and only 15% want the Coalition troops out immediately. Polls are notoriously hard to trust at the best of times; but can you imagine the trumpeting of the anti-war brigade if the results had been the reverse?"
        - Ian O Doherty, "The Irish Independent", March 2004

"Many Iraqis are voting with their feet. The UN High Commission for Refugees, which was expecting about two million new refugees to flee from the war last year, instead found no takers. All the traffic’s the other way, and the UN is now closing down its camps around Iraq’s borders owing to lack of business. The other day, the UN’s Ashrafi Camp in Iran, after 30 years as the largest Iraqi refugee facility, threw in the towel when the last refugee went home. Despite being advised by UNHCR that it was unsafe to do so, a million Iraqis are said to have gone back. Not bad for a country which in Saddam’s day was the fifth-largest exporter of refugees."
        - Mark Steyn, "Iraq Has Never Had It So Good", "The Spectator", March 2004

The BBC News Online has informed its staff that they must not refer to Saddam as a "dictator." The designation "deposed former President" is preferred because Saddam had been supported in a national referendum in which he received 100 percent of the vote. By this standard, Hitler - who actually won a real election - should be referred to as the "deceased German chancellor" since he wasn't even deposed.
        - Jonah Goldberg, "Sympathy for the Devil" in "National Review"

"If you go to Afghanistan, the Soviet Union had 300,000 troops in Afghanistan and they couldn't do the job. We have 10,000 in there and it's making steady progress. Why? Because we don't want to occupy a country. The Soviets wanted to own Afghanistan. We don't want to own Afghanistan. We don't want to own Iraq. We want to help them get on their feet and then move out."
        - Donald Rumsfeld, US Defence Secretary

"Because of your efforts, we now have a government in Iraq that will not invade other countries, will not fire missiles at its neighbors, will not seek weapons of mass destruction, will not harbor terrorists, will not slaughter its own people, will not behead people, and you can be enormously proud of the contribution you're making to that important progress."
        - Donald Rumsfeld, speech to troops serving in Iraq

"The spread of freedom is the best security for the free. It is our last line of defense and our first line of attack. And just as the terrorist seeks to divide humanity in hate, so we have to unify around an idea. And that idea is liberty. We must find the strength to fight for this idea and the compassion to make it universal. Abraham Lincoln said, 'Those that deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.' And it is this sense of justice that makes moral the love of liberty.
Can we be sure that terrorism and WMD will join together? If we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that, at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering. That is something I am confident history will forgive. But if our critics are wrong and we do not act, then we will have hesitated in face of this menace, when we should have given leadership. That is something history will not forgive."
        - Tony Blair, address to joint session of US Congress, 17.07.03

"I think we were bamboozled by the Prime Minister into doing the right thing."
        - Michael Portillo, Conservative MP, on BBC TV

"People who like conspiracy theories say the war in Iraq was really about oil. Well, if America is anxious to secure the energy supplies that make life possible in the modern world, that is not an unworthy aim. In fact, America was not especially interested in Iraq’s oil because we can just about do without it. It was concerned to have troops in the Middle East who could move to protect oilfields and pipelines elsewhere. But keeping forces in Saudi Arabia, the land of the holy places, was proving offensive to Muslim sensitivities. We Europeans, who showed little gratitude to America for decades of protection against the Soviet Union, have also shown Olympian disdain for what is in effect an American investment in keeping our schools and hospitals heated and lit."
        - Michael Portillo, writing in Britain's "Sunday Telegraph"

"Never have so many been so wrong about so much."
        - Donald Rumsfeld, US Defence Secretary, criticising the critics

"The only way we ever found him is finally somebody put enough pressure on enough people to find out that somebody had an idea where somebody might know somebody who might know somebody who would know where he might have been."
        - Donald Rumsfeld, explaining how Saddam was tracked down

"Even though Saddam Hussein's regime has been toppled, there are still pockets of resistance, not only in Iraq but in Paris, Berkeley, and in the editorial offices of the New York Times. These die-hards may hold out for years."
        - Thomas Sowell, "Jewish World Review"

"Yesterday’s Stop the War protest in London must rank as one of the silliest rallies in modern times."
       - Sunday Times editorial, April 13, after Baghdad had fallen

"When historians look back on these times, the big picture they will see is the destruction of a recklessly dangerous dictatorship that has been a menace to its neighbors and a murderous scourge to its own people. When Normandy was invaded, everyone understood that the big picture was the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe, not how many innocent French civilians were killed - though there were thousands - or how many American soldiers died from being bombed accidentally by American planes, though there were about as many killed this way in one incident in Normandy as have died in combat during the entire war in Iraq."
        - Thomas Sowell , "Jewish World Review"

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiams, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, and the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
        - Theodore Roosevelt, former US President

"For all the casual slurs about 'cultural imperialism', British imperialists were more interested in other cultures than anybody before or since, and, if they hadn't dug it up and taken care of it, we'd know hardly anything about the ancient world.
What's important about a nation's past is not what it keeps walled up in the museum but what it keeps outside, living and breathing as every citizen's inheritance."
        - Mark Steyn, "The National Post"

"The context of this week's events is that many thousands of British people intend to converge on central London to protest against the overthrow of one of the most cruel and murderous dictators of the 20th century... the two leaders they most scorn are the latest in the long line of Anglo-American statesmen whose willingness to use force to defeat evil secured them their right to make bloody fools of themselves in Lincoln's Inn Fields and through the streets of London to Grosvenor Square."
        - David Frum, writing for "The Daily Telegraph" during President Bush's state visit

"Today you arrive in my country for the first state visit by an American president for many decades, and I bid you welcome. You will find yourself assailed on every hand by some pretty pretentious characters collectively known as the British left. They traditionally believe they have a monopoly on morality and that your recent actions preclude you from the club. You opposed and destroyed the world's most blood-encrusted dictator. This is quite unforgivable.
I beg you to take no notice. The British left intermittently erupts like a pustule upon the buttock of a rather good country. Seventy years ago it opposed mobilisation against Adolf Hitler and worshipped the other genocide, Josef Stalin. It has marched for Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Andropov. It has slobbered over Ceausescu and Mugabe. It has demonstrated against everything and everyone American for a century. Broadly speaking, it hates your country first, mine second.
Eleven years ago something dreadful happened. Maggie was ousted, Ronald retired, the Berlin wall fell and Gorby abolished communism. All the left's idols fell and its demons retired. For a decade there was nothing really to hate. But thank the Lord for his limitless mercy. Now they can applaud Saddam, Bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il... and hate a God-fearing Texan. So hallelujah and have a good time."
        - Frederick Forsyth's open letter to President Bush, "The Guardian"

"Looking for exact professed cooperation between an Islamic fascist and the rogue regime that finds such anti-Western violence useful is like proving that Mussolini, Tojo, and Hitler all coordinated their attacks and worked in some conspiratorial fashion - when in fact Japan had no knowledge of the invasion of Russia, and Hitler had no warning of Pearl Harbor or Mussolini's invasion of Greece. In fact, it didn't matter that they were united only by a loose and shared hatred of Western liberalism and emboldened by a decade of democratic appeasement.
There is no mythical pipeline in Afghanistan; Halliburton executives are not lounging around the pool in Baghdad chomping on cigars and quaffing cocktails; and in this age of sky-high gas prices there is no sinister cabal that has hijacked Iraq oil. Sharon is not getting daily intelligence briefings about Iraq. The war is what it always was - a terrible struggle against an evil and determined enemy, a Minotaur of sorts that harvested Americans in increments for decades before mass murdering 3,000 more on September 11."
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

"For the past two years we have lamented the rise of a supposedly new doctrine of preemption — or whether the United States should hit inveterate enemies while they are still vulnerable and have not yet finalized their plans to strike America... Then came these 9/11 hearings in the midst of war, and a most surprising new thesis was advanced: About-face critics alleged that the Bush administration, in its initial dozen weeks of governance, had not properly digested intelligence data, steeled its will — and, yes, preempted the terrorists by sending American troops far abroad to kill them before they could kill us. Apparently, the notoriously preemptory Mr. Bush was now to be condemned as not preemptory enough."
        - Victor Davis Hanson, on the crazy hypocrisy of the 9/11 hearings, "National Review"


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