This is posted specifically for those with the out of control passions. Those with whom you can't engage in an intelligent conversation without it degrading into meaningless personal insults, sans substance. Why? Because for most, their history, politics and current events knowledge begin in the [perceived] Clintonian utopia in the 90s, and ends with whatever today's headlines are in the MSM.
Heaven forbid they read UNMOVIC reports that detail Saddam's dump of proscribed missiles in a Netherlands junk yard - missiles acquired illegally after 1998 and moved out prior to the US coalition's entry in Mar 2003. Instead they take the short cut to current events education - merely accepting the latest sensationalist headline as the entire, encapsulated truth. Yet with today's journalistic boundaries muddied between op-ed and news, it's necessary to read the entire story to find the usual hidden disclaimer and additional facts that belie the screaming headlines. Have so many not figured out that news headlines are like advertising trailers and come ons?
It's the naive dreamer who believes the US is going to hell and a handbasket, underestimating the historic resilience of it's denizens. It's the uninformed and coddled citizen that thinks George Bush is the enemy, terrorists are "freedom fighters", and Iraq was much better for the Iraqis under Saddam. The history-tunnel-visioned believe that the Congressional war resolution was only about WMD's because that's what the media and Congressional campaign mongrels spoonfed them for political gain - and because most are too lazy to read (or re-read) the real document that distinctly outlines the other 23 some odd reasons Congress agreed upon.
WMDs were merely the foundation of the UN Security Council presentation, as it was relevant to the 17 UN resolutions Saddam ignored. Since the intel on Saddam's historic dance with WMDs was consistent between intel of many countries, it was an accepted fact world wide that Saddam has been and constituted a threat. And, of course, Congress wanted the UN/NATO involved.... heaven knows why. They are utterly worthless.
A brief jaunt around cyberspace reveals there's no dearth of the over-passionate-I-hate-everyone-who-isn't-for-withdrawal American. Those who feel that a faceless, Internet moniker is the free ticket for unabashed hatred and rudeness to any and everyone they don't agree with. Let's face it. Civility on the Internet is dead... regardless of party affiliation. The comments, insults and threats hurled by so many as they hide behind user names shows an unprecedented decline in social interaction with the info age generation - those born and bred on the new media.
Most of those hottest under the collar breed their venom on the past... the usual mantra of anti Bush complaints and daily round of scandalous accusations being dug up for political posturing. Personally I'd prefer that they, and our Congress, look forward... and please, to beyond March 2008. No media is asking Congress just what happens when the US is forced to leave prematurely by a poll driven Congress (with less approval rating than the President, BTW), only to see Iraq and ownership of it's vast resources fall to the governance and rule of radical factions.
However, if everyone insists on behaving tomorrow based on what happened yesterday, the least they could do is be aware of the larger picture of historic facts INRE the enemy who is out to destroy the western culture.
Just for the aforementioned, Victor Davis Hanson has a no nonsense snapshot of reality. And here's the summary:
The political Islamic hatred for the west and the power of the US didn't start with Bush, with Afghanistan, or Iraq. Nor did it start with Bin Laden's declaration of war during a May 1998 interview. Regardless of the outcome of Iraq... "cut the budget and run" as we did in Vietnam, or even a modicum of success with a free standing Iraq (who will always be looking over their shoulders)... political Islam will not go away.
Political Islam will never honor the Geneva Convention in warfare... just as Japan, N. Korea and Vietnam did not honor those lofty set of rules. In practice, the Geneva Convention applies only to the US, and it is only the US that will be held accountable if breached. Witness such with the current Iranian capture of British soldiers, and the tepid, not-so-fearsome statement of the UNSC. Not much in there about their violations of the Geneva Convention. In fact, other than a slap on the wrist in two paragraphs, the UN's condemnation is not only but a whisper, but valueless. Bizarre, no? Especially considering that the British ship was functioning under the UN mission umbrella.
But since the most verbal and vile of posters don't remember anything of historic substance prior to Bush & Clinton (perhaps because that's when the Internet became most accessible to all...), I suggest a slow read of Hanson's article to digest reality from one of those who have been around a bit longer to see history made.
The threat from radical Islamic terrorists will not vanish when President Bush leaves office, or if funds for the Iraq war are cut off in 2008.
A frequent charge is that we are bringing terrorists to Iraq. That is true in the sense that war always brings the enemy out to the battlefield. But it’s also false, since it ignores why killers like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (the late al Qaeda chief in Iraq), Abu Nidal, and Abu Abbas (Palestinian terrorists of the 1980s), and Abdul Rahman Yasin (involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) were already in Saddam’s Iraq when we arrived.
Moreover, the unpopular war in Iraq did not create radical Islamists and their madrassas throughout the Middle East that today brainwash young radicals and pressure the region’s monarchies, theocracies and autocracies to provide money for training and weaponry. All that radicalism had been going on for decades — as we saw during the quarter-century of terrorism that led up to 9/11. And rioting, assassination, and death threats over artistic expression in Europe have nothing to do with Iraq.
Right now, most al Qaeda terrorists are being trained and equipped in the Pakistani wild lands of Waziristan to help the Taliban reclaim Afghanistan and spread jihad worldwide. These killers pay no attention to the fact that our efforts in Afghanistan are widely multilateral. They don’t care that our presence there is sanctioned by NATO, or involves the United Nations, or only came as a reaction to 9/11.
These radical Islamists gain strength not because we “took our eye off Afghanistan” by being in Iraq, but because Pakistan’s strongman, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, can’t or won’t do anything about al Qaeda’s bases in his country. And neither Bush nor Nancy Pelosi quite knows how to pressure such an unpredictable nuclear military dictatorship.
The Iraq war has certainly sharpened our relationship with Iran, but, of course, it’s also not the cause of our tensions with Tehran. For decades, the Iranian government has subsidized Hezbollah, which during the 1980s and 1990s murdered Americans from Saudi Arabia to Beirut. It was not the current Iranian lunatic president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but an earlier more “moderate” president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who remarked, in 2001, that “one bomb is enough to destroy all Israel.”
So Iraq is only one recent theater, albeit a controversial one, in an ongoing global struggle. This larger conflict arose not from the Iraqi invasion of 2003, but from earlier radical Muslim rage at the modern globalized world, the profits and dislocations from Middle East oil, and Islamic terrorism that ranges worldwide from Afghanistan to Thailand.