Those lamenting failure of Bush policy should look in the mirror
Instead of doing what he does not do well, which is to pronounce on the course and fate of civilization, Mark Steyn in this column does what he does extremely well, which is to nail the absurd. Namely, the Iraq Study Group. Just his comment on the automatic presence in such an august body of the “sufficiently venerable mien” of Lee Hamilton makes the column worthwhile.
However, as always, while Steyn is great at sending up easy targets like Lee Hamilton and John Kerry, when it comes to Steyn’s own substantive positions there’s no there there. He denounces the calls for retreat and says America must demonstrate will and resolution in Iraq or face retreat and disaster everywhere in the world. He doesn’t acknowledge how the policy he supports has led inevitably to the outcome he now dreads. If, instead of hyperbolically applauding the Bush policy for the last three years and insisting on its inevitable success, Steyn and his fellow establishment Bush supporters had argued—as I for one have done at endless length at this website—that the policy could not possibly succeed, because there was never even the pretense of a strategy to defeat the enemy (as belatedly confessed by John Podhoretz in today’s New York Post), such serious criticism by its own supporters might have pushed the administration to adopt a more realistic posture in Iraq. Instead, the Bush supporters kept cheerleading the country to embrace a “war” that was never a war, a war that we didn’t actually have to fight and win because all people are “just like us,” a war in which we were repeatedly told that the holding of this election or the rebuilding of that school or the good will we had gained from that village leader constituted “victory,” a war in which the enemy wasn’t even named, a war in which Secretary Rumsfeld was saying as recently as June 2005 that our enemies were nothing but “losers, dead-enders,” a war in which we were told that every successful enemy attack was actually a proof of the enemy’s “desperation.” Is it any wonder then, that given Bush’s phony, hyped-up war, the country is now reacting to its inevitable failure by supporting a miserable, mindless retreat?
I have not supported anything Bush has done in Iraq since the toppling of the Saddam statue. Nor have I ever supported the calls simply to withdraw from Iraq—that is, to withdraw from Iraq in the absence of a new national defense strategy of which such a withdrawal would be a logical part. The strategy I favor is the Rollback, Isolation, and Containment of the Muslim world, or, as I’m now calling it for short, Separationism.