Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Iraq War was a Mistake

I am waiting for the sixth seal. I don't recall what the first three were but surely the fourth and fifth are on display this week. Kirsten Powers of Fox News is using Jonah Goldberg Of National Review Online, who up until today I always considered God's gift to literate conservatives, as a new club to smash the argument supporting the war on terror.

To her credit, Ms Powers, true to her form, doesn't gloat at having found in Mr. Goldberg's recent column a new tool in the liberal jihad to discredit the Bush administration. And it is to his eternal disgrace that Mr. Goldberg has allowed himself to used in this way. It is difficult to know with whom to deal first. I have a new-found respect for Ms Powers as the voice of reason among a Democratic party increasingly influenced, if not dominated by the shrill and obtuse left wing. And one must constantly remind oneself that while she is neither shrill nor obtuse, she is also not a Republican. This simple fact, regardless of her background and current notoriety as a reasonable Democrat, has to stand athwart the blogosphere and shout "She is a Democrat!" to borrow a phrase.

And as a proud Democratic activist, she will work against an agenda supported, up until he fell from grace, by Mr. Goldberg. Not that I am big fan of the Republican Party these days. The only good thing I can say about Republicans is that they ain't Democrats. So it is more than a shock that Mr. Goldberg has joined the ranks of conservative pundits who have willingly and knowingly thrown themselves into the dark and greasy deep part of the liberal tool box. You know, where you put the big tools like the monkey wrench and vice-grips, under the top tray of the smaller, frequently-used ones.

The problem for me and others like me, is that Mr. Goldberg's capitulation makes life that much harder. Yes, I've read his piece, over and over, hoping that I've missed his trade-mark tongue-in-cheekism. No. He is seriously wrestling with all that he knows to be true, and losing out, pinned to the mat by ...Kirsten Powers! Simply by saying "The Iraq war was a mistake," Mr. Goldberg is implicitly calling for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, who Ms Powers somehow blames for the protracted conflict. Mr. Goldberg throws Rummy to the wolves, a man among men, arguably the toughest and most effective Secretary of Defense this country has ever had and will likely ever have again, thanks in part to Mr. Goldberg's desparate "third-way."

With a stroke Mr. Goldberg joins the indistinguishable blob of "I support the troops" but not the war or the President and "Now that we are there..." And so with that rambling rant, I address Mr. Goldberg:

Dear Mr. Goldberg,
The only mistake we as a nation made in Iraq is waiting until after 9-11 to invade. We should have invaded the first time Saddam fired on our pilots patrolling the no-fly zones established in the aftermath of the Gulf War. But of course, we were being "led" by Bill Clinton who had more important things on his "mind."

After 9-11, all Americans should thank God that Al Gore did not win the election. After 9-11, war was inevitable. We, as a proud nation demanded it and all our politicians except Dennis Kucinich authorized it. We invaded Afghanistan. We were victorious in that engagement. But now the Taliban are still restive....Mullah Omar and bin Laden, still on the lam. Our troops continue to die in Afghanistan. Abject failure? Should we ask the Afghans to vote for continued U.S. military presence there?

The only mistake George Bush made in "rushing" to war with Iraq was "rushing" to war. For nearly two years, we rushed. The Bush administration rushed to the UN, thanks to Colin Powel, three times at least. If anyone is to blame for the problems we are experiencing now in Iraq, it is our former Secretary of State. Not our current Secretary of Defense. Now Saddam may have been a madman, but he was certainly not stupid or naive. The rush was agonizing. I keep thinking of that scene in Monty Python and The Holy Grail, where the murderous knight of the round table is spied rushing the castle gate by an alert guard. Over and over again the alert guard observers the suspicious knight rushing at the gate. Finally, the knight is suddenly upon the alert guard who is put to the sword. Unlike the guard, Sadddam and our other adversaries actually did something when is was apparent to the non-brain-dead that the U.S. would invade.

I am convinced that had we not invaded Iraq, that Saddam's playground would have been taken over much as Lebanon has by Hezbollah. The great difference of course is oil. It is, literally, black gold and would have been diverted to ever more diabolical acts of terror against the West. The terrorists dominated by al-Quiada would have used Hussein's Iraq like they had used the Taliban's Afghanistan. And so Iraq was the next logical step. The only options were 1. wait until bin Laden had set up shop in a quite place such as northeast or western Iraq from which to plan an attack on Chicago after which we could invade with a search warrant while we buried and grieved for thousands more dead American civilians, or 2. invade Iraq BEFORE bin Laden has a chance to set up shop.

These were the only two options. Which one would you pick?

Mike Netherland

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