Sobran's -- The Real News of the Month

 Bad News from Iraq 

September 4, 2003

So how do we get out of Iraq? The Wall Street Journal, voice of the hawks, speaks of “strengthening America’s commitment to victory in Iraq.” Furthermore, “The guerrilla war the U.S. is now fighting in Iraq is winnable, notwithstanding the current media pessimism.”

Wait a minute! “Commitment to victory”? “Winnable”? I thought we’d already won! Didn’t President Bush just put on a combat pilot’s uniform to celebrate our triumph?

Saddam Hussein has fallen, his sons are dead, most of his top officials are in custody, his alleged arsenal of “weapons of mass destruction” has gone poof, and Iraq is no threat to anyone, let alone the United States.

Now we’re told that many more troops, and a lot more money, will be needed to “pacify” and “stabilize” what’s left of Iraq. When will this elusive victory be consummated? Hasn’t the country already been “liberated”?

A “guerrilla war” wasn’t part of the deal. We were fighting a “preemptive” war to remove a “threat.” Mission accomplished. So bring the troops home. Leave the losers to their own devices.

Or was the antiwar Left correct? Was this a war of conquest and empire all along? Draw your own conclusions.

The Journal says the Iraqis must take responsibility “for governing themselves” — according to American dictates, of course. It may sound odd to attack, invade, and occupy a country in order to give it self-government, but there is much precedent. Abraham Lincoln said he was invading the Confederacy in order to save self-government (which else might “perish from the earth”), then set up puppet military governments in the conquered states. Woodrow Wilson took us into World War I to “make the world safe for democracy,” and the results included Soviet Communism, Italian Fascism, and German National Socialism. World War II — oh, never mind.

[Breaker quote: And 
it won't get any better.]Other historical parallels lie closer to hand. At first both our major political parties supported the Vietnam war, launched by Democratic presidents. As victory kept receding, the bipartisan support continued, but a few politicians began criticizing the “conduct” of the war. A huge peace movement sprang up as American casualties mounted, and finally — during a Republican administration — the Democratic Party directly opposed the war, and the Republicans at last admitted its futility. We pulled out of Vietnam. All this took ten years.

We are already at the second phase of the Iraq war. The Democrats, still professing to support the war in principle, are objecting to the Bush administration’s “conduct” of the war. Their House leader calls it “not realistic and not sustainable.” As with Vietnam, their rank-and-file constituents are becoming ever more directly opposed to the whole thing.

Again as with Vietnam, the media are poking holes in the official optimism, and even in the reasons the administration gave for the war in the first place. As the administration turns to the despised United Nations for help, the story is getting more complicated, confusing, and demoralizing. The hawks aren’t getting what they wanted — not only a conclusive victory in Iraq, but war on Iran and Syria, culminating in “regime change” throughout the region.

You do remember “regime change”? Ah yes, regime change, war on terrorism, the Axis of Evil, weapons of mass destruction — it all seems sooooo 2002 now. These slogans have joined the Domino Theory and “the light at the end of the tunnel” in the attic of embarrassing memories and stale ironies. Even Rush Limbaugh has dropped them from his vocabulary.

The hawks (and much of the press) are still calling the Iraqi resistance forces “terrorists.” But guerrillas is more accurate. Their targets are military forces, other occupiers, and collaborators, not the civilian population at large. Naturally they aren’t playing by the invaders’ rules, but that’s the nature of guerrilla warfare.

After all, the invaders have switched their own rules. That’s what “preemptive” war means. The United States isn’t fighting by the old rules, hasn’t formally declared war, hasn’t clearly defined its war aims. And it had no plan for occupation.

Now it has an unmanageable mess on its hands. We have reached a point where bad news no longer surprises us. Only good news would do that, but it isn’t very likely.

The Journal does get one thing right. When it comes to stabilizing and pacifying Iraq, “A million Marines won’t be enough if the Iraqi people aren’t on our side.”

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2003 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications
This column may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of Griffin Internet Syndicate

small Griffin logo
Send this article to a friend.

Recipient’s e-mail address:
(You may have multiple e-mail addresses; separate them by spaces.)

Your e-mail address:

Enter a subject for your e-mail:

Mailarticle © 2001 by Gavin Spomer
Archive Table of Contents

Current Column

Return to the SOBRANS home page.

FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.

Search This Site

Search the Web     Search SOBRANS

What’s New?

Articles and Columns by Joe Sobran
 FGF E-Package “Reactionary Utopian” Columns 
  Wanderer column (“Washington Watch”) 
 Essays and Articles | Biography of Joe Sobran | Sobran’s Cynosure 
 The Shakespeare Library | The Hive
 WebLinks | Books by Joe 
 Subscribe to Joe Sobran’s Columns 

Other FGF E-Package Columns and Articles
 Sam Francis Classics | Paul Gottfried, “The Ornery Observer” 
 Mark Wegierski, “View from the North” 
 Chilton Williamson Jr., “At a Distance” 
 Kevin Lamb, “Lamb amongst Wolves” 
 Subscribe to the FGF E-Package 

Products and Gift Ideas
Back to the home page 


SOBRANS and Joe Sobran’s columns are available by subscription. Details are available on-line; or call 800-513-5053; or write Fran Griffin.

Reprinted with permission
This page is copyright © 2003 by The Vere Company
and may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of The Vere Company.