Christopher Hitchens: Iraq as a Noble Cause
Hitchens' piece deals with the incessant calls for withdrawal of American soldiers from Iraq. Accompanying the article is a picture of an Iraqi woman with the riveting purple dye on her finger, showing she voted in a real election, an amazing event in the history of the Middle East.
Under the photo is this text: "U.S. forces in Iraq defend those who want to live in a secular, democratic country but have no militias to protect them."
In his article, Hitchens says: "I am glad that all previous demands for withdrawal or disengagement from Iraq were unheeded, because otherwise we would not be able to celebrate the arrest and trial of Saddam Hussein; the removal from the planet of his two sadistic kids and putative successors; the certified disarmament of a former WMD- and gangster-sponsoring rogue state; the recuperation of the marshes and their ecology and society; the autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan (currently advertising for tourists and investors on American television); the killing of Al Qaeda's most dangerous and wicked leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and many of his associates."
Hitchens also celebrates "the opening of dozens of newspapers and radio and TV stations; the holding of elections for an assembly and to approve a constitution, and the introduction of the idea of federal democracy as the only solution for Iraq short of outright partition and/or civil war."
Then, he says about the Bush Administration's concept of going into Iraq: "If this cause is now to be considered defeated, by the sheer staggering persistence in murder and sabotage of the clerico-fascist forces and the sectarian militias, then it will always count as a noble one."
In regard to Hitchens' article, let me -- as a former President put it -- make one thing perfectly clear: I agree completely with him. He may be a British citizen, but he certainly qualifies as part of what former Senator Moynihan called America's "warrior society."
Yes, America is a divided society, with the warriors on one side and the worriers on the other. As Hitchens notes, "Many of those advocating withdrawal" -- one thinks of the cowardly Minister of Corruption, John Murtha -- "have been 'war-weary' ever since the midafternoon of September 11, 2001...." So true.
Admittedly, a significant number of Americans fear the war in Iraq might consume their husbands, siblings, and children. But with some exceptions, that fear is misguided, because this is a volunteer army, and the ones feared for by the war-weary will never enlist -- and thus are in no danger in the Middle East.
In particular, the sons and daughters of the Nancy Pelosis, Carl Levins, and Ted Kennedys of this country don't fight wars. They don't defend the country, partly because of their privileged status, partly because they have no real understanding of what America means.
General John Abizaid, a hero and a patriot, put it well when we said if we don't fight them there we will surely end up fighting them here -- in U.S. streets. Anyone who doubts that rather obvious point must have slept soundly through September 11, 2001.