Reading through the conventional, warmed-over “wisdom” of the Beltway’s media elite, the pack mentality shines through. They are, as a whole, fundamentally uninterested in whether President Bush’s strategic understanding of the centrality of the battle for Iraq within the war with Islamic extremism is correct. Rather, they are intent on figuring out if the Democrats can muster enough votes to cut off funding for the war in a replay of the end of Vietnam. Thus they have converted the crucial debate of our time into a sequel about domestic politics. It is a template with which they are familiar and which their limited experience equips them to discuss. I am reminded of my question to Dennis Kucinich that stumped him: Was he aware of the Quds forces? It isn’t just Congressman Kucinich who has failed to do minimal homework. It is also most of the media elite.
President Bush and the serious participants in this debate know that if the United States withdraws from Iraq, both al Qaeda and radical Shia elements will quickly dominate different regions of the country, and begin to clash not only among themselves, but with Saudi Arabia, Jordon, and, of course, Israel. The serious party also knows that retreat in Iraq means an even more emboldened Iran and an even more aggressive reach for nukes by Ahmadinejad.
The appeasement party in the U.S. is nevertheless in full throated opposition to anything resembling resolve in Iraq. Some GOP senators have joined them, and whether Mitch McConnell can rally the 40 votes he needs (not 41, as Senator Johnson’s illness will prevent him for many months at least from casting vote 60 to end debate) remains to be seen. Senator Lieberman is the only Democrat to thus far announce that he understands the stakes and the strategic situation. Perhaps some others will join him.
The consequences of an American defeat in Iraq are almost impossible to total, but the immediate aftermath would be a killing spree of the sort that could come to rival Cambodia’s after we bugged out of Southeast Asia. Pol Pot imposed a “political settlement” in the ’70s, just as Stalin, Mao, Saddam and all the other great killers of the last century did.
People opposing victory and demanding retreat are endorsing the aftermath –obvious and inevitable– that would follow. That aftermath’s violence would not be limited to the Middle East. It would travel, and soon. That’s the bottom line, and that’s what the debate should be about.
MSM’s refusal to ask such questions of the leading proponents of defeat underscores just how far “journalism” has fallen.