November 21, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Jeff Goldstein

On Saturday, I was chatting with an Administration friend about Friday's slug-fest in the House of Representatives and the attempts by the Donks to turn the whole debate to the standard "How Dare You Question My Patriotism?" meme. (My friend was not at all pleased by the way the House handled the matter, BTW.)

Well, it looks like the White House itself is pushing back against that tactic, judging by Dick Cheney's speech today, as well as others given by him and Dubya in the past few days. Goldstein, quoting large chunks of the speech, perfectly sums up the emerging (I hope) Administration stance:

Clearly, the important administration arguments are beginning to coalesce: 1) Criticism of the war is not by itself unpatriotic 2) Similarly, answering anti-war critics is not challenging their patriotism 3) But opportunistic and cynical anti-war critics who are trying to walk back their own votes and level spurious charges at the Administration (they lied to take is into war) are themselves lying 4) These lies are hurting the country and the troops. 5) The burden of proof, in a post 911 world, was on Saddam Hussein to prove he’d disarmed; we could not wait for the threat to become imminent before acting 6) The cause the troops are fighting for is just and right 7) Iraq is moving toward freedom; and things on the ground are improving daily, regardless of what the MSM and prominent Dems would have us believe.

These points, taken together, form an easy, concise, and—most importantly—a factually correct counter-narrative to the Dem / MSM narrative that has preached confusion, failure, quagmire, American criminality (torture, WP), and the relentlessness of an insurgency whose battleground savvy and knowledge of the Arab world are thwarting the plans of our confused military leaders and civilian war commanders. Oh. But we LOVE THE TROOPS!

I think the narrative is a good one, but it needs to be repeated as loud and as often as the one the Dems have been peddling.

Amen, brutha. And what is equally important is that all of these points be repeated. I grow concerned sometimes that pro-war advocates get so defensive over the issue of pre-war intelligence that they fall into "Yeah, we screwed up but at least we screwed up honestly" mode, conceding the high ground about the fundamental question of whether we should have invaded to begin with. This is wrong. It is also infuriating. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of - what we are doing in Iraq is right and good and something to be proud of. I, for one, refuse to fall back to a position of feeling compelled to apologize for the decision to go in. And I sincerely hope the White House feels the same way.

UPDATE: Oh, and I'd add one more point to the list - Withdrawal without victory now would be catastrophic under any set of criteria one can possibly think of.

Posted by Robert at November 21, 2005 04:05 PM | TrackBack

I would argue that even if all the assertions of the administration were true, (and I still don't believe even they thought so) so what? Let's say that Saddam had WMD including nukes (we will ignore the complete nonsense of manless drones spraying germs on US cities that the Air Force laughed at). How was this an imminent threat to the US? How does it justify war? We had complete control of Iraqi airspace, we had more than enough military presence in the region and firepower in reserve that Saddam was completely contained. Was he going to threaten his neighbors? Why would he risk massive US retaliation? It is silly to think that Saddam was going to give terrorists weapons, what would they trade for them? If immediate threat was the issue, why wasn’t N. Korea attacked instead? Or the PRC? Pro-war arguments based on immediate threats that were made by Dems or Repubs were equally ridiculous. Democratization of the region was an afterthought once the original arguments for war were discredited (and even if true, again why Iraq). The only reason for war that holds any water is military control of the richest oil region in the world. Yet this is universally ignored even though nearly every individual in the administration is connected to big oil (they named a tanker after Condoleeza for god’s sake). If Dems are willing now to admit they were wrong (even if it is for politically expedient reasons), all I have to say is about time. I accept this is not going to be well received in Llamaland, but there are a lot of reasons to oppose this war and desire it ended ASAP, and many are not based in histrionics or knee-jerk reactions.

Posted by: LB buddy at November 21, 2005 04:54 PM

Well, where to start...

In the twelve years between the conclusion of Desert Storm (1991), and the start of Iraqi Freedom (2003) there was an Armistice (cessation of hostilities) as opposed to a Peace Treaty. Among others, Saddam had to account for ALL of his chemical, nuclear and bio weapons, components, by submitting to UN international inspections of key sites. Almost from the beginning, Saddam's regime sought to thwart or other wise obstruct, those inspections and by the late 1990s, had thrown the inspectors out, suffering very little in real consequences.

The economic sanctions of the period were being actively undermined by the UN, and our own allies (France and Germany). Indeed, the same allies were lobbying to have the sanctions lifted. The British and American planes, enforcing the no-fly zones were frequently targeted by Iraqi air defenses, first with radar, then with missile or anti-aircraft artillary shots. Containment, cited in the prevous post was collapsing. Saddam was not being "kept in his box" (Secretary Albright's assessment of the time) on the contrary, was on he verge of getting out of it.

Factor into the mixture Iraqi's desire to "renew" commercial relationships with certain African nations, whose only export is uranium (Niger); an increasing belligerent Saddam (threatening to submerge his neighbors (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Israel) in a "sea of fire", and nervous neighbors. Then add intell assessments from the previous administration, allied intell and anyone else with a fuctioning intelligence agency, says Saddam is racing to develop WMDs.

Now toss into this witch's brew 9/11. Saddam's direct connection, I will allow, seems tenuous at best, but 9/11 triggered the sea change in the President's security policies. The President is now confronted with the urgency to act before the threat becomes imminent ("I will not stand by while dangers gather" speech at one of the service academies), aka before the booby trapped birds are in the air. Remember the "Connect the Dots" crap coming from the current administration's harpies after 9/11?

Lb buddy poses why not attack North Korea or PRC? Well, it seem to me, you would want to put your forces where the liklihood for success is the highest. The chances for success are the greatest in Iraq, given the geography, presence and experience of American and allied forces, friendly countries to provide.

So, lets connect the dots...

We have a threat emerging on the horizon (Iraq), lead by a dictator who is actively undermining the sanctions, shooting at allied planes, threatening his neighbors, tried to kill an American President (Bush the Elder in Kuwait), of whom everyone says is developing WMDs (including Bill Clinton and most of the Democrat leadership), the soft touch Clinton policies don't work. So, the Bush administration get tough, and Saddam continues his jerking around the weapons inspectors.

Long story made short, Bush the Younger shows he does not bluff, and Saddam is cooling his heels in a nice safe place, awaiting the justice he so long denied his own country. Iraq has held two set of national elections, with a third on the horizon.

American forces are largely camped in temporary quarters, and actively training the Iraq army and police forces, which are operating with increasing success, because (a)Iraq is their country and the insurgents are largely foreigners, (b) they know the local areas and terrain (c)they are better trained.

So, it seems we are gaining on the political front (the two soon to be three elections), and the military front(increased capability of the Iraqi military and police). Will it be easy, no. Will it be worth it - yes. No American President, Democrat or Republican, will have to wonder if Saddam has WMDs.

On the 'Big Oil' point, If the war was fought for 'Big Oil', then why am I still spending more than $2 / gallon for gasoline? Seem to me we should send the 82nd Airborne to ANWR for the cheap oil....

Posted by: KMR at November 21, 2005 09:24 PM