Re: Iraq and The Left’s politics of Shut-uppery [Darleen Click]
So, it’s become a trend for lefty pundits to express their disgust when supporters of Operation Iraqi Freedom offer their opinions about the reasons for the present crisis in Iraq. Here’s Jonathan Chait summarizing the theme:
What do liberals believe about the current disaster in Iraq? One thing most of us believe is that the United States should stay the hell out. But another thing liberals believe with even greater conviction is that advocates of the last Iraq war should not participate in the current debate. The Atlantic’s James Fallows argues that Iraq war hawks “might have the decency to shut the hell up on this particular topic for a while.” Slate’s Jamelle Bouie, writing in the second person, instructs Iraq hawks, “Given your role in building this catastrophe, you should be barred from public comment, since anything you could say is outweighed by the damage you’ve done.” Washington Post columnist Katrina Vanden Heuvel, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, and many others have reiterated the point. This meta belief about who should be allowed to argue about Iraq, more than any actual argument about Iraq itself, has become the left’s main way of thinking about the issue.
Rarely have so many people felt so cocky about leaving a genocidal dictator in place. Rarely have so many people felt so sure about the completely unprovable and speculative claim that this hostile genocidal dictator’s next eleven years in power would have been better for America than the decision to depose him. And rarely have these same people been so cocky about working so hard to ensure the failure of the course of action they opposed, then crowed about their success even as they blamed their ideological opponents for the resulting human toll.
This is what the Left is and what they do. All good things are to their credit, all bad things are the fault of the evil white-cisgendered-heteronormative-biblethumping-climatedenying-wrongwarmongering-sexist-islamophobe-gunfetishizing non-Leftists. And they will re-write history through propaganda and intimidation until everyone actually believe We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia.
All you have to do is to realize how the Left has so completely dominated the narrative on how the Vietnam war really ended.
Back to David French:
This I believe: America made some profound mistakes at the beginning of the war, bad choices that if made differently could have had a material, beneficial effect on the course and conduct of the war. [...]
This I know: America has made profound — and far more costly — mistakes at the beginning of virtually every war. The opening months of World War II were a national nightmare, rendered more palatable to the public only through large-scale censorship that sometimes blocked the American people’s knowledge of defeats that cost more lives in one night than America would lose in entire years in Iraq or Afghanistan. [...]
This I also know, because I was there: In Iraq, we learned from our mistakes, and the Iraq we left — even as early as late September 2008, when I flew home — was a far, far better place than it is today, a far better place than it was under Saddam, and an actual ally of the United States. Commentary’s Peter Wehner states it well:
By the time the surge ended in 2008, violence in Iraq had dropped to the lowest level since the first year of the war. Sectarian killings had dropped by 95 percent. By 2009, U.S. combat deaths were extremely rare. (In December of that year there were no American combat deaths in Iraq.) Iraq was on the mend. Even Barack Obama, who opposed the surge every step of the way, conceded in September 2008 that it had succeeded in reducing violence “beyond our wildest dreams.”
It’s one thing to know statistics. It’s another thing entirely to live the reality. The transformation was simply stunning. In 2007, when we went outside the wire, the tension was palpable and the fear (certainly for me) was very real. We knew the odds, and we knew our vulnerability. By late 2008, the difference was profound. I shopped in streets that months before were war-torn and infested with roadside bombs.
And we threw it away, with a huge assist from the Maliki government.
But it’s Bush’s fault. That pause of good stuff in 2008? Joe Biden claimed it was the Obama Administration’s doing.
All the bad stuff was and will always be Bush’s fault.
And the beat goes on.