Thursday, December 23, 2004

Leave Rumsfeld Be

Click here for Amazon...Have we forgotten what Mr. Rumsfeld did right? Not just plenty, but plenty of things that almost anyone else would not have done. Does anyone think the now-defunct Crusader artillery platform would have saved lives in Iraq or helped to lower our profile in the streets of Baghdad? How did it happen that our forces in Iraq are the first army in our history to wear practicable body armor? And why are over 95 percent of our wounded suddenly surviving — at miraculous rates that far exceeded even those in the first Gulf War? If the secretary of Defense is to be blamed for renegade roguery at Abu Ghraib or delays in up-arming Humvees, is he to be praised for the system of getting a mangled Marine to Walter Reed in 36 hours?

And who pushed to re-deploy thousands of troops out of Europe, and to re-station others in Korea? Or were we to keep ossified bases in perpetuity in the logic of the Cold War while triangulating allies grew ever-more appeasing to our enemies and more gnarly to us, their complacent protectors?

The blame with this war falls not with Donald Rumsfeld. We are more often the problem — our mercurial mood swings and demands for instant perfection devoid of historical perspective about the tragic nature of god-awful war. Our military has waged two brilliant campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. There has been an even more inspired postwar success in Afghanistan where elections were held in a country deemed a hopeless Dark-Age relic. A thousand brave Americans gave their lives in combat to ensure that the most wicked nation in the Middle East might soon be the best, and the odds are that those remarkable dead, not the columnists in New York, will be proven right — no thanks to post-facto harping from thousands of American academics and insiders in chorus with that continent of appeasement Europe.

Out of the ashes of September 11, a workable war exegesis emerged because of students of war like Don Rumsfeld: Terrorists do not operate alone, but only through the aid of rogue states; Islamicists hate us for who we are, not the alleged grievances outlined in successive and always-metamorphosing loony fatwas; the temper of bin Laden’s infomercials hinges only on how bad he is doing; and multilateralism is not necessarily moral, but often an amoral excuse either to do nothing or to do bad — ask the U.N. that watched Rwanda and the Balkans die or the dozens of profiteering nations who in concert robbed Iraq and enriched Saddam.

Donald Rumsfeld is no Les Aspin or William Cohen, but a rare sort of secretary of the caliber of George Marshall. I wish he were more media-savvy and could ape Bill Clinton’s lip-biting and furrowed brow. He should, but, alas, cannot. Nevertheless, we will regret it immediately if we drive this proud and honest-speaking visionary out of office, even as his hard work and insight are bringing us ever closer to victory.

Victor Davis Hanson (hat tip: LGF): Leave Rumsfeld Be

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