April 10, 2003

That "Cakewalk" Thing Ken Adleman

That "Cakewalk" Thing

Ken Adleman (maybe a bit too soon?) takes something of a victory lap in the WaPo today.

Meanwhile, Charles Krauthammer:

"The sight of them panicked Cassandras here in the United States who were quick to predict that the evidence of any armed resistance meant that we were in for a long guerrilla war. But the Vietnam analogy was absurd. It was not the people of southern Iraq who harassed our troops on the drive to Baghdad but the regime's shock troops. These "irregulars" were not insurgents; they were counterinsurgents. They did not represent the people they used as human shields; they ruthlessly repressed them."

Very true. But I'm less comfortable with his concluding graf:

"Which is what makes the Three Week War a revolution in world affairs. It is one thing to depose tin-pot dictators. Anyone can do that. It is another thing to destroy a Stalinist demigod and his three-decade apparatus of repression -- and leave the country standing. From Damascus to Pyongyang, totalitarians everywhere are watching this war with shock and awe."

A bit triumphalist and laden with hubris for my taste. For one, the war isn't over so we don't know if it is, indeed, a "Three Week War." (Is Krauthammer trying to be the first to provide a moniker for this conflict a la Six-Day War?) Also, Saddam may not have been quite "tin-pot," but he wasn't Uncle Joe presiding over an empire spanning eleven time zones either.

And a "revolution in world affairs"? Maybe, if suddenly a working, democratic polity in Iraq proves inspirational and leads to Jeffersonian Democrats popping up in Cairo, Riyadh, Damascus and Teheran. But is is just too early to judge the impact of the dramatic events of yesterday per Krauthammer's conclusion.

Put differently, I'm not sure 2003 is quite 1776, 1789, 1917 or, even, 1989. If the Middle East region that has never been through the Enlightenment and other key historical periods the West passed through begins, over the next few years, to become more transparent, extend voting rights to its people and create working democracies with representative parliaments and egalitarian constitutions--maybe the beginnings of a revolution in world affairs were indeed witnessed yesterday. But we're very far from that, as sober observers appreciate.

For the time being, however, I simply rejoice in the liberation of a people desperately hungry for their freedom after unimaginable brutalities were visited upon them decade after decade. I hope too that the naive and spoiled anti-war protestors (many of them comfortable amidst the material bounty of the West and protesting out of nothing more noble than sheer boredom) will take stock of the lessons of Baghdad's liberation yesterday.

Many of these anti-war protestors, of course, had nary a clue about the grotesque repression that was part and parcel of Saddamism (while pretending to be protesting on behalf of the Iraqi people). Perhaps some of the anti-war forces, even if just a small number, might re-analzye their Pavlovian anti-war posture in the face of the images of liberation the world witnessed yesterday.

Finally, I rejoice too that a vicious regime, with every passing day, is less likely to possess and be in control of the WMD that could be used to devastating effect against free and innocent peoples the world over.

Posted by Gregory at April 10, 2003 12:11 PM
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