politics, history and the war on terror
Thursday, July 01, 2004
American Mythology 2004 

As the election heats up again, so does the rhetoric. June 30, the scheduled handover of Sovereignty back to an Interim Government in Iraq, always held special significance for the War in Iraq, as well as the War on Terrorism. Naturally, it has occurred to players and pundits no both sides of the fence, that because the War in Iraq (WI) is a campaign issue, the handover is a point of great value. Or rather, if you have a certain political flavor, it is a point which value must be diluted, diminished, or thwarted as much as possible. There are two main topics which have risen from the handover of Sovereignty back to Iraq; the return of the Liberal Myth Chant, and the political impact of this tactic. Here on TheFourthRail, I will note the most prevalent of the chants from this week, and respond to them. Over on Polipundit, I shall discuss the political impact I see, especially the courses which have become too locked-in to change.There are many myths flying around, but for here, I will simply address the top 12 I have heard, or the Dirty Dozen as I see them:

Liberal Myths About Iraq

1.“George W. Bush did not really win the Presidency ” -
Yep, it’s back, that moldy oldie you knew would come back as a ghost when the next election came up. There are really only three views one can hold on the matter – that Bush was properly elected, that they don’t like what happened, but they can move on, and of course, the lot that just can’t let go of the argument. There is no purpose to going over the way the Electoral college works, or to remind an angry mob that every count in Florida had Bush ahead, but it serves as a touchstone for where the Left is, emotionally, in this election. That may be summed up as unbalanced rage.

2.“Iraq is a country with several racial and religious groups. Giving them their freedom will just lead to civil war, it will just collapse back into another dictatorship ” -
Yes, there are actually people out there throwing out the notion that the people of Iraq can’t be trusted with their own country, simply because they are a heterogenous group, like the USA. Aside from the racism and arrogance contained in such a notion, it demonstrates a level of frustration from the Left, as the emerging Republic takes shape. The Left never thought the war would be won to this level of success, and has therefore developed no effective response to the new conditions.

3.“The handover was only symbolic, Iraq is just a puppet of the US” –
That’s not really much different from #2, except for the conspiracy theory. Basically, Allawi’s Council has assumed all civilian and military control in Iraq, excepting Coalition military personnel, territory, and actions. It’s really very much like a posse comitatus relationship.

4.“There were no WMD, and Bush lied to get us into Iraq” –
Most people have not read either David Kay’s interim report on the WMD search, nor any of the myriad documents out there to show the WMD threat, especially from Chemical Weapons. Kay specifically noted that “Deliberate dispersal and destruction of material and documentation related to weapons programs began pre-conflict and ran trans-to-post conflict”; that "Some WMD personnel crossed borders in the pre/trans conflict period and may have taken evidence and even weapons-related materials with them”; that "Any actual WMD weapons or material is likely to be small in relation to the total conventional armaments footprint and difficult to near impossible to identify with normal search procedures. It is important to keep in mind that even the bulkiest materials we are searching for, in the quantities we would expect to find, can be concealed in spaces not much larger than a two car garage”. In other words, in addition to what has already been found, more may well be there to be discovered, but there is no serious doubt that the WMD existed. The summary?
We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations”,
A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses … that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research”;
A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents”;
“New research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN”; and
“Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS)
”. These indicate significant potential for future discoveries.

5.“The US just wants to rape Iraq’s resources” –
In other words, the old “War for Oil” canard. Instead of taking resources from Iraq, the US has pumped billions of dollars into the country to get oil production flowing again, the proceeds from which benefit the Iraq Treasury. In addition to that, the US has assisted Iraq by arranging for other nations like Russia to write off or cap Iraq’s debt, so that the fledgling republic can be solvent from its beginning.

6.“Iraqis are not celebrating the handover, they know nothing has changed” –
That line could only come from someone nowhere near Iraq. The mood in Iraq has been quiet, but very positive , as Iraqis come to realize the truth from the US promise. An Arab blogger in Iraq has detailed responses, which are compelling in their perception and clarity. Iraqis did not believe this day would come; now that it has, they are just beginning to learn the possibilities of their promise. The last line in Ali’s log is the best. Speaking about Bush and America, an Iraqi barber notes “They have shown that they keep their promises.

7.“The Interim government is no more legitimate than Saddam Hussein was” -
They have restored authority to civilian government, established the framework for national elections and a permanent constitution which will be democratically voted into effect. In so doing, the Interim Council has not tortured or killed a single dissident, they have in fact established unprecedented civil rights in Iraq.

8.“Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and Iran are much greater threats than Iraq ever was.” -
Not really, if you think about it. Saudi Arabia is annoying in its duplicity at times, but the Sa'ud government has a history of close cooperation with the US, and the official stance remains pro-US. As for North Korea, while they are a threat to the region, they have a simple but effective pair of restraints on their use of WMD; China and the US, who have both made clear that any threat will be redressed quickly and in full measure. As for Iran, that nation now has to deal with a democratic republic on its borders, and a nation who cannot be easily dismissed as infidels or foreigners. That, actually, reflects the genius of dealing with Iraq first. If the US had moved on North Korea, there would have been an immediate crisis with China, and the Middle East could not be tended. Moves against either Iran or Saudi Arabia would have driven even moderate Muslims to oppose the US. By attacking a secular dictator, and establishing a democratic republic in a nation formerly ruled only by tyrants and monarchists, the US has clearly installed a regime more preferable to all of its neighbors, and at the same time positioned a likely ally where we can most use one.

9.“Conservatives are unfairly attacking Liberals, just for not agreeing with them” –
In actual practice, this merely the Left trying to change the subject when their own foul play is highlighted. But in examination, it’s also important to note the method involved. Consider, for example, the “support the troops but not the War” strategy: The Left sends out speakers like Michael Moore and Martin Sheen and the Dixie Chicks, who rail against President Bush and his policies, calling him names and such. When pressed, these worthies claim that they are simply opposing an ____ War or _____ President (insert random epithet). And of course, the Democratic Leadership disavows any knowledge or support for these spokespeople, if there happens to be any public outcry. But they have played themselves too clever for their own good. The best example of this is John Kerry himself. When John Kerry’s war protests were criticized, Kerry tried to claim that his war service was being attacked , and ignored the real question. But more and more, people are getting better at seeing the real men behind the façade, and when politicians cross the line and fail to rein in their behavior , it comes back around to bite them back. History is likely to repeat itself here, too.

10.“Fundamentalist Islam is to blame, not some state or leader” –
This one’s a new attack, and a subtler one. Islam is not widely understood in the US, and it’s certainly not the most common faith in the West, which makes it an easy target for suspicion. To make matters worse, the very word “fundamentalist” to many people, means ‘rigid’ or ‘unyielding’, and it’s very easy from that assumption , to move on to mistrust. But Islam is a religion founded on faith, justice, and peace, and in fact, it’s five pillars, the requirements for all Muslims, are very much like the requirements for devout Christians, and are generally considered useful in growing towards a service-centered life, one which helps people. Fundamentalists are no more, than people who take the core beliefs of their faith very seriously. In that regard, the Amish are fundamentalist Christians, a bit different from other people, but gentle and kind all the same. It’s worth noting, as well, that the terrorists, in their behavior, violated almost every major tenet of Islam, even before murdering innocents, which is prohibited in the Quran. Or, to put it another way, perhaps thirty thousand Muslims are the militant, kill-the-infidel types. With over 1.6 billion practicing Muslims, that means for every Muslim who supports violence and murder, well over fifty thousand other Muslims do not. If Islam holds to its fundamental core, the terrorists will be rejected and driven out from their number.

11.“Instead of being in Iraq at all, we should first finish the job in Afghanistan” -
That sounds clever, but in reality it just ignores the facts. In the first place, Afghanistan was not important because of bin Laden, since bin Laden and Al Qaeda operated in a number of countries. Afghanistan was important because the Taliban had taken over the country for the express purpose of promoting a radical jihad against the West. What’s more, despite the image many have, that the US-supported Mujahadeen turned against the US, the fact is the Taliban overthrew the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, and many of the Taliban had no popular or legitimate standing in Afghanistan at all. The US, so far as Afghanistan is concerned, handled the war there with precisely the right measures: Sending in specialists in small numbers to assist the Northern Alliance in their fight to reclaim the country for the people of Afghanistan. The US helped throw out the Taliban, set up a new Constitution to protect civil rights, and supports the new government in its mix of traditional Afghan culture and individual rights. We finished the job in Afghanistan, and did well. If the rebuilding in Iraq is as successful as Afghanistan has been, then there will be much to celebrate, and the hunt for terrorists will become that much easier.

12. “Bush is changing his defense about why we went into Iraq” -
A last-ditch claim by the Left, when presented with the hard evidence of US successes in Iraq, is often to claim that our successes have nothing to do with our stated reasons for going into the country, inferring that Bush is being dishonest about the reasons for our involvement, then and now.Let’s start with the legal basis: On October 8, 2002, the UN Security Council held Iraq in “material breach” of the cease-fire terms . When all the arguing is said and done, the undeniable fact behind that statement, is that a Cassus Belli now existed. And it was not relevant (though of interest) whether WMD stockpiles existed at that time; Hussein’s refusal to act in accordance with the UN’s terms forfeited his right to stay in power. But there are many other reasons, and they were all cited from the beginning of the discussion, including Iraq’s support for terrorist organizations, Saddam’s brutal repression of minorities in Iraq, abuse of children and women, and Saddam’s refusal to return prisoners to other countries from previous wars. President Bush detailed some of these same reasons in his 2003 SOTU address , including emphasizing the torture of children in Iraq. In September 2002 testimony to Congress, SecDef Rumsfeld noted the many causes for the US to act in Iraq, including the confirmed use of CW on his own population, two unprovoked wars on neighboring countries, missiles fired against four neighboring countries, longtime support for terrorist organizations, assassinations and attempts, including the attempted assassination of a former US President, acts of war against US and Coalition aircraft in violation of the cease-fire, numerous attempts to acquire nuclear material, systematic deception and denial to weapons inspectors, again in direct violation of the cease-fire terms, and fraudulent manipulation of the Oil-for-Food program, leaving thousands of Iraqis to starve so he could spend billions on banned weapons. In simple terms, everything being observed now, was stated before the war, as well. The President and the Coalition are simply confirming that they were right. George W. Bush set the stage back on September 20, 2001, when he told the Congress of the United States:

"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen... We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or rest."

President Bush meant he said, and we are seeing the fruit of his work.

The total effect of these myths, when considered, is that they are running scared, apparently scared to death about what Americans will conclude when they find out the facts. Here you see my responses to the claims. Over on Polipundit, please also see my estimates of the likely effects of those claims to the election.
Posted by DJ Drummond @ 11:02 PM