I have spent more time than I should have watching TV news over the last few days and it is a constant and universal fact that a bitter, callous and gloomy view pervades all the news about Iraq. It is irritating, to say the least. They lead off with the body count, and give the viewer the impression that the talking heads have a vested interest in Iraq failing. Interview a politician who was always against the war from the start, interview a grieving mother who lost her son and wonders why, show the same truck burning that you have seen a hundred times, and so on. I used to not rave about media inbalance because, what the heck, it was just an extension of politics. But this is different. This is not imbalance, this is recreational pessimism about a war that must be won, and not only for Iraqs sake. There is a conscious attempt to corrode public opinion about the war in Iraq; this explains why Ted Koppel only showed the names and faces of those who died in Iraq, but not those who died in Afghanistan and elsewhere. These guys remind me of the Copperheads during the Civil War.
So I guess I shouldnt be surprised by this pessimistic George Will column. After all, he claims that pessimism is realism is conservatism. Not quite, Mr. Will. But deep philosophical discussions aside for now, he is wrong to assert that we should not be conserned with what ought to be but only with what is: Too simple, too clever a formulation. Besides, Will is now neocon bashing. If he wants to sign on to the Kerry campaign, thats fine, but he ought to say so. There are plenty of others out there who are losing their optimism and their nerve about Iraq. They are wrong. Let courage mount with the occasion. And let the Iraqis (with our help) work all this through, but for Gods sake this is not the time to doubt our purposes. This piece by David Ignatius about the good work being done in Nasiriyah is very good. The place was falling into a chaos a month ago, but the Iraqis--frightened by the possibility of falling over the precipice--withdrew from chaos. Very good progress is being made. Ignatius is hopeful, as am I.
Keep in mind that all the chatter and the criticism during a war is not new; it is always thus in a Republic. Everybody is not only an armchair general, but a platoon leader on the ground in real time trying to make decisions; and everyone has an outlet for his views. Pretty messy, all this. Yet it may be a good idea to remind us that it has--more or less--always been so. How was the war going against Japan and Germany in the year after Pearl Harbor? Was the president criticized? John Moser looks at the year 1942, and how hard things were. Good article.