We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
"War is sometimes better than a bad peace." Tacitus.
A reader challenged us to comment more on the Iraq War. We don't ignore the subject, but we aren't preoccupied with it either, despite our interest in the news of the day. Why not, when it seems like such a big issue?
For one thing, I view it as more of a police action, enforcing UN resolutions, than a full-scale war. Second, once Iraq was fully invaded, it has not been so much of a war as a force-supported effort at democratic nation-building. That is a tough job which has rarely been attempted anywhere. It worked in Japan after WW2, but they already had a strong sense of nationhood, and a strong legacy of civilized behavior - if you exclude their barbarism in wartime which is their legacy of shame.
Was regime change in Iraq a great idea? Time will tell. I hope so. Is it a central theater of the so-called War on Terror? I don't know- I doubt it, but it has certainly brought them to the killing floor, has it not? Surely no-one is weeping for Saddam, and surely the whole world is delighted to see Iraqis voting. But an end to mad bombers we will not see in our lifetime in the Middle East - its the way a small, and increasingly small, number of them amuse themselves. Regrettably, their leaders do not chose to lead by example.
The real war, I believe, is a war against an expansionist Jihad, which thinks it can convert the world to a primitive and violent version of Islam by intimidation. Anyone who will blow themselves to bits to kill a Jew, or a couple of Iraqi policemen and children, would not hesitate to push a button to nuke France, Denmark, the US, Britain, or anywhere else where the Infidel dwells in freedom. The Anglosphere and the Western World just want to be left alone.
I think Iraq is more of a TV/political event than anything else. Just as the news has to find a fire, a homicide, a baby animal at the zoo, etc, every night, they have to report a bomb in Iraq. It wears people down, and it causes a loss of perspective - which it seems intended to do on the part of the Jihadists and, it seems, on the part of the media whose disingenuous exaggeration of the negative is shameless. It's the "drip, drip, drip" effect.
For some perspective, California had 2400 homicides in 2004, and 4000 motor vehicle fatalities. During the three years that we have been in Iraq, there have been an average of about 650 US casualties per year. And unlike the car crashes and homicides, these are folks who have been willing to do the dangerous work and to take their chances. Heroes, every one.
To put the Iraq effort in comparison to other wars, see this chart, stolen from Instapudit who posted it a while ago:
Along with the political battles that seem to swirl around every military effort in US history, there has been a major effort by the opposition party to paint the war as "another Vietnam". Our reader sent us this essay by Gen. Odom, who tries to draw parallels which I do not see. Just for starters, there is no opposing army in Iraq. Second, there is no world power clash here. Third, there is no civil war, nor will there be, as is convincingly argued by Miller at History News. Fourth, casualties are low.
Thus I am not persuaded by the defeatists and the gloom-mongers, who are politically invested in failure. And I do believe that those who assert that Middle Eastern folks are too backward to handle freedom are not only racist, but plain stupid. These folks can figure out, in time, that being a part of the world community, and political freedom, are good things.
Wisely or unwisely, we have given the Iraqis a great gift. But don't expect the Jihadists to appreciate it: nobody told them that paradise has run out of virgins - same as Massachusetts.