Re: War Is Peace
This sentence in Andrew’s previous post captures something that has been eating away at my confidence that September 11, 2001, seared a new clarity into the thinking of the American people:
… toothless is not how our enemies see us today; toothless is how they saw us leading up to September 11. A series of weak responses to attacks on Americans had convinced terrorist organizations and their sponsors that they could launch a September 11-scale attack and probably suffer only the effects of frozen assets and a few cruise missiles in response.
Isn’t it simply astonishing that this lesson has been so quickly and so thoroughly disguised by the translucent gloss of apathy and political bandy? Perhaps nothing can be done about the degree to which time glazes all eyes in a culture that persists in seeing tomorrow’s possibilities as today’s reality and in which the ornamental ignorance of cocktail party conversation — wearing names, factoids, and fashionable impressions as so much costume jewelry — has become the standard for being “well informed.” But the political campaign to cast Iraq as something distinct from the War on Terror — crystallized in the willful deafness to the distinction between “links to 9/11” and “ties to terrorism” — has brought forth the galling frivolity of our visible classes.
A return to serious discussion about how the United States should address the world as it actually is will require, it increasingly seems to me, an unequivocal move to use Iraq as a staging ground for further offensives against Islamofascism. Whether subsequent steps are military, cultural, or both, the crucial element will be the clear revelation of our action in Iraq as part of a process — justified in its own right, but a battle no less than a war.
The enemy is watching, and achievement of peace hinges on whether we, in our fiction-drenched minds, see Iraq as a “military adventure” or as a chapter in history.
ADDENDUM:history of the war (via Instapundit):
One of the most blatant – and most effective – examples [of history being rewritten] has been the highly successful propagation of the idea that the war in Iraq began as a misguided result of the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11th 2001.
The reason this view accords with my call for further tying of Iraq with the War on Terror is apparent in the subsequent sentence (which has echoes in Andrew’s post):
To achieve this feat of near-universal denial requires the dismissing of over a decade of real history – years in which a handful of Americans drew a line in the sand on distant shores – a line crossed repeatedly and re-drawn too frequently by too many hands to be forgotten so swiftly.
Our handling of Saddam Hussein became indicative for our enemies, enemies whose company Hussein kept, of our weakness and our indecisiveness. September 11 represented the exploration of that lesson and taught us — or should have taught us — that such mistakes will reverberate directly within our individual lives, not as news items, but as a lurking palpable danger.
Addressing our error in the case of Iraq was a discrete action, yes, but the damage permeated the broader world and must be undone more broadly.