Yesterday I pointed to Victor Davis Hanson’s penetrating description of the divide in America over the war and the direction it takes. VDH had penned a descriptive piece on Friday about Majority Opinion and the Minority Brief, which accurately set out the basic worldviews of the appeasement caucus and the victory caucus.
HH: [T]he appeasement party does believe that, but, Victor Davis Hanson, do they really believe it? Or is it convenient to believe?
VDH: That’s a good question, Hugh. I think what they believe it, as long as they feel that it’s convenient, and it’s okay to believe that, but the power, economic, military and cultural of the United States as such, that it gives them the leeway or the opportunity to believe that. But deep down inside, they always count on the fact that if we have another 9/11, or if we have a grave attack by one of these Islamicists on our interest overseas, that we still have the power, despite their constant criticism, to protect their insular lives. That’s what’s so strange about it all.
HH: It’s also, Victor Davis Hanson, it seems to me a set up for that when that next attack comes, an argument not that the minority brief was correct, but that they waited too long to impose the majority opinion, and as you say, “Anti-Americanism in the Middle East and Europe is largely a phenomenon of George Bush’s idiosyncratic manners, and his once thought advocacy of preemption and unilateralism.” In other words, they will blame the minority briefers for the attack that comes.
VDH: Oh, yes. That’s absolutely…they’ll believe it, because they feel that we have led them into the quagmire in Iraq. Remember this is a view…they’re talking about a country that once fought Italy, Japan and Germany all at once, defeated them, and then turned around and started the Cold War…I mean, the Cold War resistance of the Soviet Union, and they’re saying that this same country, now twice the size, with much more material and military wealth, can’t fight in Afghanistan and Iraq at once. That’s sort of the poverty of their imagination, that we’ve taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan, got bogged down in Iraq, and now we’re helpless. We need Jim Baker to come in, we need Syria to come in, we need Iran to come in to help us. It’s absurd, but it seems to be the prevailing opinion now.
When the next attack on America comes, if it comes after retreat in Iraq, it will clearly be because we did not pursue victory there and around the world. But the appeasement caucus will blame not the retreat but the going to war in the first place. That is the inevitable debate, and it will take place after America suffers its next 9/11, a future 9/11 that will grow in likelihood if the U.S. does not remain determined to achieve victory in Iraq and relentless in its pressure on Iran and Syria.