Friday, August 18, 2006

A Different Kind Of Disapproval

In yesterday's New York Sun, Jim Geraghty, the former "master of the Kerry Spot," suggests that public disatisfaction with the state of the war, both in Iraq and more generally, isn't what the Ned Lamont groupies are just positive it must be:

Are the American people frustrated and tired by televised images of carnage in Iraq enough to prefer the Democratic approach [of talk now, retreat later, and surrender always]?

One might be inclined to say yes, judging from recent polls. But these polls may be misread. A significant chunk of the American people are Jacksonian — as in "Andrew Jackson" at their core — rarely interested in international affairs and seeking to avoid foreign entanglements … until a threat to one's "own" arises.

Jacksonians have no appetite for nation-building, no patience for the long and difficult struggle from dictatorship to a free society. They simply don't care about Sunni vs. Shia vs. Kurd vs. Turk, as long as they keep their petty grievances and ancient disputes far from us.

But as soon as foreign populations do turn that rage against us — say, when al-Qaeda and its ilk plot to bomb airliners crossing the Atlantic, or Iran and Syria assist Iraqi insurgents targeting our troops — then Jacksonians demand a scorched-earth response. They seek leaders willing to strike down upon our enemies with great vengeance and furious anger.

At their core, no matter how tired the American people are about Iraq, they're not of a passive character. They know men like Kim Jong Il, Mr. Ahmedinejad, Mr. Assad, and Mr. Nasrallah are bad news. They know they're not to be trusted. And they know they're not to be negotiated with.

In my mind, it's all about what approach is most likely to produce lasting peace, and for whom. Twenty-seven years of unremitting hostility and assymmetrical warfare make it beyond obvious that the Islamic Republic of Iran will never make peace with us, and their open and recalcitrant pursuit of nuclear weapons and Middle East (and eventually global) hegemony, and continuing to serve as Terrorism Central, establish equally as clearly that we can no longer ignore the burgeoning threat they pose as being something "way over there" that "doesn't concern us." Since they won't give us peace and are determined to give us war instead, the only way to peace for ourselves is to accept this reality and resolve to destroy the source of the conflict that is being inflicted upon us, as quickly and efficiently as humanly possible.

The bottom line is that war with Iran is inevitable. Indeed, it is ongoing, and it is our failure to engage the mullahs in the conflict they so eagerly seek, rather than with endlessly spineless "diplomacy" that they cynically ridicule and bottomless concessions that they opportunistically pocket, that has raised the threat to crisis level. It is precisely our short-sighted refusal to see this handwriting on the wall that has brought us to the doorstep of the worst-case scenario we wanted to avoid.

That is why the American people are disillusioned about the war and President Bush's handling of it. 9/11 finally woke us up to the Islamic threat and we charged off to wreak Jacksonian vengeance upon our enemies. But after Saddam's statue fell twenty months later, the Great Crusade For Democracy ground to a halt in mid-stream, the job half-finished. The terror masters in Tehran and Damascus remained to be toppled, and we left them alone instead. Not unlike if, after we and the Brits routed the Afrika Corps in early 1943, we had called a halt and begged Adolph Hitler for a truce in order to spare ourselves the burden of opening a second front in - and therefore disturbing the "peace" of - Europe. Indeed, Hitler nursed delusions from that point to his ignominous end in his Berlin bunker that the Western powers would do precisely that.

Unfortunately for him he came along sixty years too soon.

This is why Rich Lowry, of all people, is starting to echo Ted Kennedy about Iraq being "Bush's Vietnam." Not because he's turned against the war, but because he's tired of waiting for Bush to win it. And you all know how I feel about the matter.

I guess by the standard of the Left and Democrats in general, I've jumped onto their "anti-war" bandwagon of retreat and defeat. Which should tell you all you need to know about the efficacy of that standard, and the viability of their dreams of returning to power in eighty-one days.