"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
# THE SURGE
"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)
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
- 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
- Jacob Weisberg, "Slate"
Like the old saw about
Eskimos having a hundred words for snow, it seemed that anyplace the United
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"
# IRAQIFICATION - THE HANDOVER AND BEYOND
"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"
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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"
# DEATH OF A WEAPONS INSPECTOR - SOME OF OUR WMDs ARE MISSING
"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
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
- The Times
# AFTER THE BATTLE (FOR BAGHDAD)
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
- 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"
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- Victor Davis Hanson, on the crazy hypocrisy of the 9/11 hearings, "National Review"
# MORE RESOURCES
>> Quotes by Mark Steyn
on The War on Terror
>> Quotes relating to Invasion and 'Open Warfare' phase of Iraq campaign
>> Quotes relating to September 11 attacks and Afghanistan campaign
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