Saturday, July 17, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson: Worth Reading Again

The Victor Davis Hanson article posted yesterday is worth posting again.  In a world of around the clock news coverage from imbedded reporters, it is very easy to lose sight of the bigger picture in the War on Terror and specifically the battle of Iraq.  The United States military under the command of its field commanders, guided by the leadership of George W. Bush,  has overthrown an brutal dictator, freed a people and in doing so they have made the United States and the world safer.  There have been mistakes, and the media and public have had an unprecedented opportunity to see many of the mistakes live on television in real-time.  There are mistakes in every war, as Victor Davis Hanson writes:
In the short period between June and August 1944, military historians can adduce hundreds of examples of American amateurism, failed intelligence, incompetent logistics, and strategic blundering — but not enough of such errors to nullify the central truth of the Normandy invasion. A free people and its amazing citizen army liberated France and went on in less than a year to destroy veteran Nazi forces in the West, and to occupy Germany to end the war. Good historians, then, keep such larger issues in mind, even as they second-guess and quibble with the tactical and strategic pulse of the battlefield.

As will good historians who will write about the campaign that finally overthrew the brutal dictator in Iraq. Mistakes will be written of, but will be minor footnotes in a campaign that liberated 25,000,000 people from dictatorship. As for the need to go to war in Iraq, Victor Davis Hanson states:
Like Hitler, Saddam Hussein was a mass-murdering fascist, whom we had also appeased for years. For all his bluster, Hitler had not been in a prior shooting war with the United States, but after Pearl Harbor he had to be destroyed. In the same manner, after 9/11 there was no longer any margin of error in "boxing in" a rogue dictator that had struck four nations, violated most of the 1991 armistice agreements, ignored over a dozen U.N. resolutions, butchered tens of thousands, ruined the environment of Mesopotamia, constantly tried to recycle petrodollars to terrorists, attempted to assassinate a sitting U.S. president, and was in a stand-off with the U.S. Air Force involving 12 years, 350,000 sorties, and the control of two-thirds of Iraqi air space. Indeed, on September 11, 2001, American military forces were being fired on and firing back at the forces of just one nation in the world: Baathist Iraq.
This is not difficult to understand, and without the media and political spin taking place today, these facts would be self-evident to more Americans. Regardless of whether we find stockpiles of weapons, Saddam Hussein was a threat that had to be removed in a post 9/11 world. A responsible leader could not let the threat remain, and George W. Bush did not. As for the President's opponents and their stand on the war, Victor Davis Hanson writes:
In contrast to all this, John Edwards says that Americans have died "needlessly" in Iraq, although he does not tell us why he voted for the war, or whether he would now change his vote had he known beforehand that CIA estimates of Iraqi WMD seem to have been in error. Yet this same John Edwards once thundered: "The path of confronting Saddam is full of hazards. But the path of inaction is far more dangerous."
He goes on:

With extremists like Michael Moore and ANSWER breathing down their necks, Kerry and Edwards cannot accept history's tragic verdict that there are terrible costs to pay in any necessary war. Yet they also don't know what else could or should have been done to get us where we are now.
We had no choice in Iraq and despite what John Kerry and John Edward's would have us believe today, the soldiers who have given their life in Iraq did not die needlessly. They died in one of the first battles of an historic campaign to rid the world of Islamofascist terror and they died to make the world safer for Americans and freedom loving peoples everywhere. 
 
Read or re-read the article here.