Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Reflections on the Three Week War

I think we all find ourselves a little breathless after this war. I have been paying as close attention as I could manage (mostly television and the intenet) and, in trying to catch my breath, I offer a few limited observations. The war was extraordinary; intelligently planned, brilliantly executed. And, perhaps most important, it surprised everyone. It surprised our enemies, other tyrannies (including North Korea), the whole Arab world, and even our sometime allies, the French and Russians. This was a new kind of war, for a new purpose. Has the Middle East ever seen an army whose purpose was not conquest, rape and pillage? Has any region of the world? Victor Davis Hanson writes well on the anatomy of the war and includes in that good reflections on not only the lethality of the military and their high-tech capacity, but also on their group and moral cohesion. These are warriors fighting for republican ends, and that makes them not only good but very, very deadly. They are eager to fight to make men free. These are new and better soldiers, although sometimes it’s hard to tell because they are often scruffy and wear Ray-Bans and chew gum and their weapons have names like "Bad Moon Rising". But they kill pajama clad toy-soldiers with one hand while protecting their children with the other. Their lethality and the fact that they have no equal (even among our allies) brings with it enormous moral responsibility. And we are up to it. Compare that to how the Iraqi army, including the high praised Rapublican guard, just dissolved. They went home.

Of course, the victory has called forth many Arab demons. There is, as Hassan Fattah writes, both despair and defiance in the Arab world. But above all there is an opportunity for introspection and, I venture to suggest, the so called Arab street will be less inclined to be so stupidly obedient to their rulers since most of them bring corruption and slavery and lies with them. And, in the pinch, they don’t even fight for their people. How come Saddam didn’t fight? You can hear the question on every Arab street. And the stage is set for a reversal of the heretofore steadily increasing negative view of the United States in the whole region. All this doesn’t mean that simply all will be well for evermore, of course. And yet it must be admitted that the tender leaves of hope are less tender now.

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