Friday, February 02, 2007

War Essays

Here is a loose abridgement of a new essay by Orson Scott Card at, about the Iraq war. However, I strongly recommend the whole essay. I also strongly recommend this earlier essay of his and also this (which is after the earlier). I think these are all very punchy, lucid, incisive, and accurate. Of the first mentioned I'm pulling two lovely sections out of the middle and end, and placing them first; only the first bolded paragraph is my emphasis; the rest is his.

I'm a Democrat.. The kind that places the interest of the American people and, yes, of the world at large over the temporary political advantage that can be derived from attacking a President in wartime.

So when I watch Democratic leaders completely ignore the security interests of the United States in order to engage in cheap sloganeering ("bring our boys home!") and demagoguery, I am filled with shame and rage.

Are they really so completely ignorant of history that they do not realize the golden opportunity we have, and the disastrous consequences of not seizing it?


make copies of this essay and the words of others who stand with President Bush in pursuit of victory, and give it to everyone you know -- especially those who are most adamant in their opposition to the war. Ask them, "Have you thought about this?"

Of course, I know the answers some will give. They'll treat it like a high school debate. Instead of answering the big issues -- what will happen to the world economy when Islamo-fascists control the Persian Gulf, for instance, or how we will respond when a united Islamo-fascist army starts murdering all the men, women, and children in Israel, or what we will do when the Islamo-fascists hiding among the Muslim immigrants in Europe call for violent revolution in France, in the Netherlands, in Britain -- they will focus on narrow, foolish, no-longer-relevant issues, like whether Bush "lied," or whether we should have gotten involved in Iraq in the first place.

Like the man who came to a recent book-signing of mine in Greensboro, trying to pick a quarrel with me. When I said, "Nobody knew that Iraq did not have a nuclear program," his answer was, "Hans Blick did."

He was wrong in his facts: Hans Blick didn't know. Because he and his team of inspectors had not been allowed free access to anyone or anything that would have given them knowledge. He had an opinion, which at this moment seems to have turned out to be correct. But President Bush could hardly have been expected to base our future security on Blick's unsupported opinion, when all the credible, impartial evidence available to him said that Iraq had nukes.

But he was even more wrong even to raise the issue. Today, in 2007, what does it matter whether we should or should not have invaded Iraq? The fact is that we did! What matters now is that the consequences of leaving without victory (i.e., surrendering Iraq to our enemies) would be devastating and global, while the cost of staying and pursuing victory is, compared to other wars at such a scale, amazing cheap in both life and money.

[My comment here: that last contrast never works when talking to pacifists. What it costs doesn't matter. World War II cost much, much more, but was worth it. Any cost is worth defending liberty (read: life) at home or abroad.]

Such foolish, time-wasting arguments would base foreign policy on quibbles instead of either principles or practical consequences. The issue is not what we should have done before, but what we can and must do now.

.. It's time for us, the ordinary citizens, to speak up, to vocally declare our loyalty to our side in this war, and force the opponents of the war to answer the real questions -- or stop getting in the way of victory.

When the Democrats come to believe that opposition to President Bush's conduct of this war will lead to their resounding defeat at the polls in 2008, you can be sure that they will immediately provide the most supportive of Congresses. It really is, ultimately, up to us, whether we win or lose this war.


If the Iraqi military does its job (for we know our soldiers will perform splendidly), this new strategy has a very good likelihood of success.


The moment the Democrats won [control of congress], however, their "beliefs" seemed to change overnight.

No longer was the claim that we needed "more boots on the ground" even remotely interesting to them. They demand the opposite -- get the soldiers home.

No longer was the Iraq Study Group worth paying attention to -- the Democrats control Congress, so no longer does it matter that the ISG report declared that failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States.


Some of the information on which their votes were based turned out not to be true -- but all decisions of Congress and the President are based on incomplete and partially inaccurate information. Despite years of vile accusations, there is no evidence of deliberate disinformation from President Bush.

Yet even if President Bush lied constantly, and even if this war was completely misguided and inappropriate at its inception, the cost of leaving Iraq without complete, unequivocal victory is far higher than the cost of staying.


In Iraq, like Vietnam, cowardly and dishonorable withdrawal by the United States will result in a bloodbath. Anyone who supported us and the cause of Iraqi democracy will be dead in short order. No reeducation camps -- fanatical Islam doesn't have a doctrine of redemption, just of execution.

Withdrawal from Iraq will without doubt vastly increase the prestige, power, and recruiting ability of our enemies.. No outcome of that struggle has the slightest chance of working to our benefit. In fact, we would almost certainly be forced to intervene, and with far more casualties than we could possibly suffer through ten more years of the present struggle in Iraq.

Our departure from Iraq, without leaving behind a strong and viable democratic government committed to fighting terrorism, will lead immediately to all the secular governments in the region making their peace with Islamofascists -- or being overthrown by them. They will have no alternative, once the United States is revealed as having no will to resist the terrorists.


Our departure from Iraq, without leaving behind a strong and viable democratic government committed to fighting terrorism, will lead immediately to all the secular governments in the region making their peace with Islamofascists -- or being overthrown by them. They will have no alternative, once the United States is revealed as having no will to resist the terrorists.


After 9/11 made it clear that hand-wringing and a few cruise missiles were not enough to stop.. Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups.. The nations supporting terrorism did not yet have the capability to unify Islam and challenge the survival of the West.

So President Bush did the right thing; even if some of the steps along the way were mistaken, it was vital that we act boldly and visibly.

His policies were immediately effective in the changed behavior of most terror-sponsoring states.

However, years of vocal and increasingly effective Democratic anti-Bush propaganda, designed to achieve no higher purpose than the political defeat of George W. Bush, have emboldened our enemies everywhere. Democratic Bush-haters can claim that Bush has lowered our prestige in the world, but the opposite is true. Where it counts -- among those nations that support terrorism -- Bush vastly raised our prestige, and the Democrats have shockingly lowered it.

The result is that nations that for a while were cowed by Bush's boldness are once again sponsoring terrorism -- as witness Sudan's revived genocidal policies in Darfur. Ironically, the American and European Left are highly critical of Bush for not "doing something" about Darfur. No one has the brains or the courage to admit that the only "something" that would be effective is the military defeat of the Sudanese government.

The Left always wants someone to "do something," but never wants to do anything that works. And never wants to admit that President George W. Bush has ever done anything right.

Well, he has; and the Democrats right now are doing something dangerously wrong. Every word they say strengthens and encourages our enemies, while discouraging and weakening our friends and allies in the Middle East. They are the best weapon Al Qaeda and the murderous Iranian and Syrian governments have against us. Every time they open their mouths in their misleading and deceptive attacks on Bush and demands for unilateral withdrawal from Iraq, they are helping ensure the future deaths of Americans and others, at home and abroad.

It is one thing to raise legitimate questions about how a war is being waged. It is quite another thing to agitate openly for surrender to an enemy that will not accept our surrender, but will, scenting victory, continue to murder Americans wherever they can.


if the anti-war Democrats succeed in blocking President Bush now, if they prevent him from removing Syria and Iran as threats to world peace and the world economy and, most particularly, threats to American safety and Western democracy, then that party will bear all the blame and all the shame for the disaster they caused.

As I said earlier, I also strongly recommend this essay and also this.


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