Monday, December 25, 2006

It's Too Early To Say Iraq Has Destroyed Bush's Legacy, As Sonni Efron Did

There seems to be a large element of the Washington press corps which feels that the war is all over, the U.S. has lost, and, in Sonni Efron's words in a Current article Sunday in the L.A. Times, "Iraq has destroyed the Bush legacy."


This Administration has two years to run, it is reshaping its war plan, and, meanwhile, the war with the Islamic fundamentalists is spreading to new areas, such as East Africa, and the ultimate result, at this point, is incalculable.

I'm sure, when Gen. de Gaulle flew to England on June 18, 1940, that Hitler thought that that war was over and France irrevocably defeated. Yet four years later, de Gaulle was triumphantly back in Paris. It turned out he had powerful allies -- England, America and Russia.

The funny thing is the press, just as in the American Civil War, is more anxious to write defeat all over the American story than the political opposition. We've scarcely heard a peep out of the Democrats since they won control of Congress in the mid-term elections. They are not united on what to do. Yet there is a steady drum fire from the press that the Bush Administration ought to admit defeat, kowtow to the Baker Commission and with them to the Iranians and Syrians. Time magazine is particularly guilty of this, but it is seen all over Washington. There's never any institution more willing to throw in the towel than the press corps.

In Efron's article, she seems to have felt that Paul Wolfowitz, an early architect of the Iraq war plan along with Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld, should have come groveling to her feet and begged forgiveness to the American people, and she is positively insulted that he wouldn't be interviewed (even though he sent her an explanatory e-mail).

Yes, Wolfowitz was much too optimistic about the course the invasion of Iraq would take. But he is no longer among those in charge of the war effort. Robert Gates is the new defense secretary, and he remarked appropriately last week that failure in Iraq would prove to have devastating consequences for America. He's clearly determined not to let it happen.

What are the simple facts of the present situation?

A virulent fascism is sweeping over the Middle East, and the violence is spreading. American allies in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Afghanistan and even India are expressing great concern about any sign of an American withdrawal from the fight against it.

Yet President Bush has declared repeatedly America will not withdraw. It's just that the journalists like Efron won't believe in his determination or sincerity.

Well, they ought to become more alert. The war is going to proceed. In fact, it is going to be stepped up. And the ultimate results, at this point, are not preordained.

In fact, in various places, the U.S. seems to have more allies than it did a couple of years ago. Several NATO countries are now fighting with our forces in Afghanistan. A number of European countries are joining with us in a naval buildup in the Persian Gulf, announced just last week. The Saudi Arabian government and the Gulf States are financing an armed opposition to the Hezbollah Shiites in Lebanon, as reported by the L.A. Times correspondent there, Megan Stack.. Ethiopia has begun air attacks on the Somali Islamists.

The war is growing. We have not yet been defeated. It's too early to be so confident we will be.



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