BREAKING NEWS is a troublesome thing for a columnist. As of this writing, coalition forces report blasting to smithereens a commercial compound where Hussein and his wretched offspring, Qusai and Odai, were said to be meeting, but it’s unclear whether the miscreants have been sent to meet their maker.
By the time this piece is posted, the justification for the war—Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction—may already be verified, and its victory already obtained. Then again, maybe not.
Being an optimist, I’ll assume the positive. Because even if WMDs have not been found and Iraqi leadership has not been decapitated (either literally or figuratively), both happy events are all but inevitable. Should the eventual course of history prove me wrong, I’ll gladly admit as much.
Any chance the war’s left-wing critics are willing to do the same?
It’s doubtful. If the past is any indication, no one on the left is likely to own up to being so horrendously wrong about Operation Iraqi Freedom. That’s why it’s up those of us who have supported the war all along to point it out for them. After all, in the war’s early days, they were more than eager to point the finger at us.
So, let the recriminations begin!
Last week in this space, we examined the question—asked repeatedly and breathlessly throughout the establishment media—of why coalition forces hadn’t been able to find any of Saddam’s WMDs. Among the Eurocrats, the appeasers, the peaceniks, and the media’s nattering nabobs, the “failure” (as the Washington Post described it) of allied troops to find a “smoking gun” after two weeks in Iraq called into question the very validity of the war. Maybe Saddam was really a peaceful, honest guy after all. (Maybe it was just water balloons that he spent four months trying to hide from UN weapons inspectors.)
Can we now all agree now that Bush was right—and the Eurocrats were wrong—about Hussein? Can we admit that the (probably) deceased despot was in material breach of UN Resolution 1441? Can we accept that he was duping UN weapons inspectors?
And in light of the above points, shouldn’t the French, Russians, Germans, and their American admirers concede the utter absurdity of their perpetual refrain, “give inspections a chance”?
Everyone who ever uttered that vapid phrase—or any of its offshoots, like “inspections are working” or “the UN teams just need more time”—ought to step forward with apologies forthwith.
We’ll probably be waiting for a long, long time.
It was already painfully clear, well before the first allied troop set foot in Iraq, that inspections could never disarm a dictator who had no interest in disarming. Remember the Blix reports, which documented countless examples of Iraqi noncompliance? Remember the Powell presentation, which demonstrated Baghdad’s clear attempt to deceive international inspectors? Remember the Iraqi scientists who would never submit to an open and honest interview?
All that has changed between then and now is that the evidence against Hussein has gone from overwhelming to incontrovertible—a standard still unlikely to persuade those ideologically immune to persuasion.
Leftists have a long history of being proved wrong but not owning up to it. They were wrong about the Cold War, when they warned that a tough stance against the Soviet Union would invite a nuclear holocaust. Instead, it toppled the Evil Empire. In the War on Terror, they were wrong about Afghanistan, warning of an awful quagmire. Instead, it was a quick military triumph.
And they were spectacularly wrong about Operation Iraqi Freedom, fretting only a week ago that the U.S. had botched the war from the get-go. There weren’t enough troops in Iraq! We underestimated Iraqi resistance! Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (“Rummy” in the left’s snide parlance) had concocted an “arrogant” game plan that was “deeply flawed!”
Required reading for recriminations purposes ought to be media critic Howard Kurtz’ March 31 Washington Post column, in which he dutifully and contemporaneously documented various predictions of gloom and doom from the establishment media. One prime example, comes from a March 30 Los Angeles Times story:
“As President Bush and his aides dig in for a longer war than first hoped for, they face a sobering prospect: Longer and tougher combat will create a ripple effect of problems stretching from the battlefield to the rest of the world—including the home front.”
The choicest quote of all, though, comes from official spokeswoman of the smug northeastern elite, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who was experiencing “acid flashbacks to Vietnam”:
“We saw American commanders expressing doubts about a war plan that the Pentagon insisted was going splendidly while being vague about the body count … Retired generals were even more critical of the Rumsfeld doctrine of underwhelming force. The defense chief is so enamored of technology and air power that he overrode the risk of pitting 130,000-strong American ground forces—the vast majority of the front-line troops have never fired at a live enemy before—against 350,000 Iraqi fighters, who have kept their aim sharp on their own people.”
The examples are many. With American soldiers risking their lives overseas, left-wing pundits nestled all safe in their beds, while visions of quagmires danced through their heads. Their analysis of the war was like an inkblot test, more a reflection of what they wanted to see than what was actually there.
Tellingly, they saw American casualties and festering hatred for the US throughout Iraq and the world.
Yes, apologies are in order.
We're waiting . . . .