The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


              Is the Dream Gone?
The dream, the goal of the war in Iraq, is the transformation of the Arab world by creating a modern, pluralist democracy in he center of the Arab world. The dream is that this would spur a total rethinking and reformation of the ways of the Arab world, by the Arabs themselves. Fouad Ajami thinks that this dream is now dead.
Let's face it: Iraq is not going to be America's showcase in the Arab-Muslim world. The president's insistence that he had sent American troops to Iraq to make its people free, "not to make them American" is now — painfully — beside the point. The unspoken message of the speech was that no great American project is being hatched in Iraq. If some of the war's planners had thought that Iraq would be an ideal base for American primacy in the Persian Gulf, a beacon from which to spread democracy and reason throughout the Arab world, that notion has clearly been set aside.
[...]
Back in the time of our triumph — that of swift movement and of pulling down the dictator's statues — we had let the victory speak for itself. There was no need to even threaten the Syrians, the Iranians and the Libyans with a fate similar to the one that befell the Iraqi despotism. Some of that deterrent power no doubt still holds. But our enemies have taken our measure; they have taken stock of our national discord over the war. We shall not chase the Syrian dictator to a spider hole, nor will we sack the Iranian theocracy.
[...]
The gains already accomplished in Iraq, and the gains yet to be secured, are increasingly abstract and hard to pin down. The costs are visible to us, and heartbreaking. The subdued, somber tone with which the war is now described is the beginning of wisdom. In its modern history, Iraq has not been kind or gentle to its people. Perhaps it was folly to think that it was under any obligation to be kinder to strangers.
If this is truly the case (I for one have not yet given up hope that Iraq can be the "beacon" of democracy in the Middle East), much of the blame for this failure should be placed at the feet of the "anti-war" Left. Undoubtedly many mistakes were made in the execution of the war, winning a war without destryoing the will of the enemy to fight is not really winning. But even this new way of waging war is the result of the new cultural sensitivities imposed on society by the Left. Dissent and questioning of our actions is vital to our democracy, yet this dissent must needs to take into account the realities of the world, and the realization that we are in a war no smaller or less important than the Cold War. But of course, the Left didn't recognize that as a war either.

We know that the "anti-war" protests around the world that preceded the Iraq war served only to encourage Saddam into thinking that we wouldn't act. And now much of the criticisms of our actions serve not to help our cause - as true questioning of a democracy's actions is meant to do - but to, in any possible way, harm our standing in the world and hinder our prosecution of this war. Just as Saddam took comfort in the pre-war protests, now Islamist terrorists take comfort in our self-flagellation and self-doubt. And this motivates them to fight that much harder, to believe that they can defeat us.
|| Nudnik 9:06 AM
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