Success In Iraq



When one listens closely to the rancor of some of our friends in the media and elsewhere for George W. Bush, the vitriolic denunciations of his policies, and, particularly, the war he has waged in Iraq, one can detect the beating pulse of the what really underlies their bitterness. It is, in a word, fear. In the hallowed halls of our universities, in the sacrosanct chambers of the UN, in the offices of various international organizations and charities, in the parlors of Europe, and, of course, in the newsrooms, and on the campaign trail, the criticisms and negative reporting pour forth without remorse. Stories of looting, bombs, firefights, American deaths, and power shortages abound, giving the impression that Iraq is on the throes of chaos and calamity. The Democratic Presidential candidates, always ready to lend a hand, never miss a chance to denounce Bush's "failed policy" or to tell us how he "lied to the American people," or to speak of "quagmire." Then there are the absurdly premature calls for a "return of the soldiers," and a timetable for "getting out," as if creating a stable democracy in an Arab nation after more than three decades of Stalinist rule, were a minor task; as if Germany and Japan did not take years to rebuild and hold elections after WW II...

But while circumstances in Iraq remain dangerous, there is much good taking place there that is seldom, if ever, reported. For example, one rarely hears how much better life is for the overwhelming majority of Iraqis, and how thankful most of them are for what the US has done. We are told precious little of the schools, universities, and hospitals that have reopened, or the thousands of small businesses that have started since liberation. Little is mentioned of the newly trained Iraqi security forces, the recently appointed cabinet, the municipal councils that have formed in most towns, the court system, or the vast improvements in infrastructure taking place throughout the country. Despite the pitfalls, the process of liberating Iraq and transforming it into a functioning democracy seems to be apace, well ahead of the progress made at similar points in conquered Germany and Japan. The bold decision to confront terror in the lands where terror originates - rather than in our own streets and cities - appears to have been the correct one and will hopefully bear fruit. In place of a rotten, brutal regime there may be another democratic nation in the Middle East besides Israel - a state based on human rights and the rule of law; a model for the region and the whole Muslim world - and bordering Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia - the chief sponsors of global terror today (who no doubt are paying close attention). The plan, albeit risky, was far sighted, the undertaking courageous - which makes it all so irksome for the America-last crowd.

The great fear of many Bush critics, and the Left in general, is not the prospect of American failure in Iraq but unprecedented success. Ever quick to condemn the missteps or lapses of such a project, they naively unmask their deeper impulses, which is to see the whole enterprise collapse miserably. Because they are informed primarily by a delusional perspective that sees American conspiracy behind every world affliction, they view the promise of American success in so affirmative a venture as positively frightening. Had the US faltered in Iraq (as they predicted ad nauseam), if Hussein forces, or the fedayeen and other assorted terrorists had actually forced our troops to withdraw, many of them - as some have openly conceded - would have been delighted. Their hypocrisy is nothing if it is not appalling. They would trade the happiness and freedom of millions of people, for the chance to say they were right. The irony for many on the Left is that while they purport to champion such progressive values as freedom and democracy, their far greater imperative is to vigorously thwart the one nation (and its allies) that actually does something about it.

The unfortunate truth (for them), however, is that despite their nattering and negativism, the Bush plan will probably succeed. The measured use of American power, coupled with judicious helpings of hope and optimism will leave the world a better place. It will also place the malcontents and their dreary creed, as Reagan said in another context, on "...the ash heap of history." Their greatest fear is not failure but success, and that, thank goodness, appears likely...


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