As America’s civilian and military high command comes unglued, American actions in Iraq grow more inchoate. The Marines did what needed to be done in Fallujah, turning the place over to one of Saddam’s generals who might be able to run it, mainly because he comes from the tribe that has always run it. The pathetic CPA, aka the Emerald City, bleated that they had not “vetted” him and named another Iraqi general in his place, forgetting that anyone the Americans “vet” is thereby labeled “collaborator.” We continue to encircle Najaf, which is dumb, and the Iraqi resistance has again cut the road from Baghdad to the airport, which is dangerous. One suspects that a fly on the wall in meetings in the White House or in Baghdad’s Green Zone thinks it has wandered into a low-budget production of Marat-Sade.
But what of the world beyond Iraq? That is where one sees the full effect of Iraq’s factory of WMDs–Wars of Mass Destruction. The State Department has just told all Americans to leave Saudi Arabia, while they can still get out alive. Over a hundred people are dead in Thailand, where local Islamics are waging a new jihad. Moslems and Christians are going at it again in Indonesia and Nigeria. The Israelis, beaten in Gaza as they were beaten in Lebanon, find it impossible to move either forward or back. Pakistan, whose army got it’s a– handed to it by tribesmen on the old Northwest Frontier, is turning a deaf ear to increasingly desperate demands from America’s generals in Afghanistan for “tough action.” President Mubarak of Egypt warns from his tottering throne that America has never been so hated in the Middle East as it is now.
Each day’s newspapers make the same point: in the misnamed “War on Terrorism,” America is losing and losing badly. Osama & Company are having a banner year. The reason is not any brilliance on their part, but gross buffoonery on ours. Specifically, the invasion and occupation of Iraq by America have created the greatest recruiting drive in history–for the other side.
Not content with so modest an achievement, the Bush administration has tossed its (expensive) cigar into the powder magazine by embracing Israel the way Russia once embraced Serbia. Not only did Bush endorse Mr. Sharon’s de facto annexation of much of the West Bank, when Sharon’s own party voted against him on Gaza and thus gave Bush a way out, he reiterated his support of Likud and its policies. Apparently, not even the gods’ rarest gift, a golden bridge across which to retreat from a blunder, is of interest to an administration that has sealed itself off from reality.
It is however, somewhat unfair to blame the whole bloody mess on George II. The entire Establishment is in this together. All Mr. Kerry can do is say “stay the course;” Congress is silent on the whole business; few in the media have the courage to state the obvious, which is that we need to bring the troops home, now. Only old Ralph Nader, playing the crocodile to Kerry’s Captain Hook, has the guts to call for an American withdrawal from Iraq. In an election where the choice may be between Tweedledumb and Tweedlephony, Ralph is starting to look pretty good, even to Russell Kirk conservatives like myself.
When the full scope of America’s defeat in the Wars of Mass Destruction ignited by Iraq becomes apparent, the political result is likely to go far beyond any election, especially an election in America’s one-party Republicrat state (you get two candidates, but they both represent the same thing.) We are likely to see that interesting time known by historians as “change of dynasty,” where a defective and corrupt Establishment is all swept away.
Now that could be fun to watch.
WILLIAM S. LIND is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation