Saturday, June 03, 2006

READS ON HADITHA AND THE WAR

RealClearPolitics.com links to two good reads and one must read on the war and purported war crimes issues.

On the subject of those purported crimes: Having the luxury of not having to judge, I won’t. I think it’s wise to wait until the people who have to judge get done and see what they find…

First, a must read by Frank Schaeffer from The Washington Post:

“What's Lost in the Hue and Cry Over Haditha”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/02/AR2006060201327.html

Submitted with the strongest possible recommendation but no comments…

Then, from an almost Olympian height of arrogance, William Kristol of The Weekly Standard brings us this piece:

“Haditha Handwringing”

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/287wfyfv.asp

You get a real opportunity to see an issue upon which almost everyone will agree – that proven war crimes must be prosecuted – viewed through the eyes of an absolute dogmatist. First Kristol sets up his strawman, in the person of Peter Beinart from The New Republic. Beinart opines:

“Americans can be as barbaric as anyone. What makes us an exceptional nation with the capacity to lead and inspire the world is our very recognition of that fact. We are capable of Hadithas and My Lais, so is everyone. But few societies are capable of acknowledging what happened, bringing the killers to justice, and instituting changes that make it less likely to happen again. That's how we show we are different from the jihadists. We don't just assert it. We prove it. That's the liberal version of American exceptionalism, and it's what we need right now in response to this horror.”

Kristol opines “No, it isn't. The last thing we need in response to Haditha is hand-wringing liberalism.”…

He then offers us a profoundly different view of “what makes us an exceptional Nation:”

“What makes us exceptional is that we stand for liberty, and that we are willing to fight for liberty. We don't need to "prove" we are different from the jihadists by bringing our own soldiers, if they have done something wrong, to justice. Of course we must and will do this. But our doing this "proves" nothing. Even if there were ten Hadithas, we would still not have to "prove" that we are "different from the jihadists." The idea would be offensive if it were not ludicrous.”

I think that just speaks volumes about the fundamental difference between the dogmatic left and the dogmatic right:

The dogmatic left believes we are better because we realize that to “be better” we have to prove it and are constantly trying to do so. Our self-defined need to lead by example, always wanting to be the “good guy,” makes us better…

The dogmatic right believes we are better… We have a better idea and its superiority is so self-evident that there is something wrong with anyone who questions that core premise – and we will fight those people. We not only have nothing to prove but “the idea would be offensive if it were not ludicrous.”

We must constantly prove ourselves vs. it’s an offense to suggest we have anything to prove at all. That’s quite a gulf…

Later in the article Kristol goes into what’s gone wrong in Iraq and what we must do to win. Read it yourself; I think the old war horse believes we can certainly win in Iraq but very likely won’t, and certainly won’t if we keep on the way we are going now…


Last, there’s this by Victor Davis Hanson:

“The American Way of War
And the constraints on American power.”

http://victorhanson.com/articles/hanson060206.html

It’s all been said before but he re-says it well. Please note, the author considers the war in Iraq and any proposed war in Iran to be inherently very different propositions...

I think he’s right. And I think that’s a small piece of a big problem we have in Iraq: Until we reach an accommodation with Iran – or clean their clock – we won’t be able to leave Iraq. If we do, the Iranians will be in Iraq so fast their forward echelons will be strewing the road ahead with flowers for our departure…

It’s going to be a long war – or a humiliating one.


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