Escape from the Quagmire of Success
I sometimes wonder if there were people in the Roman Empire who could see the causes of its demise, who recognized and tried to cure the diseases that ended its power and beauty and legacy of knowledge. Frank Warner thinks that our reluctance to win in Iraq might lead to a modern era of darkness. He wants us to read this piece by Jules Crittenden. It seems that the phony analogy to Vietnam now has the prospect of becoming real. The failure to fund the war will turn it into a rout of one kind or another. The Fall of Saigon is not far away, and the Killing Fields of Iraq will be coming up next.
Is this alarmism? In fact, according to the talk shows this morning, a decisive majority of Republican senators is uninterested in a troop surge and wants us to pull out with all deliberate speed. Everybody is claiming, of course, that the Democratic base is all for surrender and that the "meaning" of the last election was John Murtha's precipitous dive to the bottom of the political convenience bomb shelter.
How many of these people were once saying that we really had no choice but to prevail in this war? There is too much at stake. They were certainly right. And I think that we will find that allowing a direct confrontation between Iran and the Sunni powers is not a great idea.
Bush is no Lincoln. But I'm hoping he's a lot tougher than old Gerald Ford, much celebrated for leading us through a time of national crisis. We were just lucky to recover from that leadership. This time it might not be so easy.