Friday, June 02, 2006
From the always bombs on target Captain at Captain's Quarters: "Daniel Henninger warns of the impending war fatigue in his column today for the Wall Street Journal's Opinionjournal. Instead of Viet Nam Syndrome, we will increasingly shut out news rather than allow ourselves to react to it -- and that will spell the end of the American prosecution for the war on terror:In El Paso, Texas, the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, whose death from a roadside bomb is the event said to have precipitated the Marine shootings at Haditha, said simply: "I don't even listen to the news." This may be the widespread reaction as the Haditha story overwhelms all else--enough, I don't want to hear about it. And there begins the Iraq Syndrome. Some elements of the newly ascendant Democratic left may welcome it, but no serious person in American politics should.The Vietnam Syndrome, a loss of confidence in the efficacy of American military engagement, was mainly a failure of U.S. elites. But it's different this time. This presidency has been steadfast in war. No matter. In a piece this week on the White House's efforts to rally the nation to the idea of defeating terrorism abroad to thwart another attack on the U.S., the AP's Nedra Pickler wrote: "But that hasn't kept the violence and unrest out of the headlines every day." This time the despondency looks to be penetrating the general population. And the issue isn't just body counts; it's more than that.The missions in Iraq and Afghanistan grew from the moral outrage of September 11. U.S. troops, the best this country has yet produced, went overseas to defend us against repeating that day. Now it isn't just that the war on terror has proven hard; the men and women fighting for us, the magnificent 99%, are being soiled in a repetitive, public way that is unbearable.The greatest danger at this moment is that the American public will decide it wants to pull back because it has concluded that when the U.S. goes in, it always gets hung out to dry. Other nations, notably Australia, has repeatedly warned of this dynamic. They have argued that the world needs an engaged US, simply because no one else has the resources necessary to handle nuclear proliferators and out-of-control despots. The UN has already abandoned the US once in this war, and the question will be, as Henninger points out, whether we will be inclined to assist them when they call the next time. Will we bother to go to Darfur or East Timor when no one would recognize the effort anyway, and would probably look for ways to discredit it? Would we trust ourselves to do it right when the press seems hell-bent on magnifying the actions of the few who may or may not have committed war crimes? Hopefully, the answer would be yes, regardless of the anklebiters on the world stage. However, as we slowly lose the will to fight for ourselves, fighting for others will certainly not rejuvenate it. Through a continual focus on what less than 0.01% of our troops have done wrong, the nation appears ready to give up on the 99.9% of our men and women who perform magnificently in their country's service. That confidence will take another generation to recover, and when we do, we may find our enemies have multiplied -- as they did the last time." I don't mind us not helping out in East Timor or Bosnia- as long as we deal with the Iranians first..