Iraq's election: a teachable moment

Today the Iraq election is over and Senator John Kerry is wisely advising that:

No one in the United States should try to over—hype this election...  This election is a sort of demarcation point, and what really counts now is the effort to have a legitimate political reconciliation that is going to take a massive diplomatic effort and a much more significant outreach to the international community than this administration has been willing to engage in.

Quite right, Senator.  I couldn't agree more.  To translate from Mandarin into English: the election was a stunning success and we elite Bush—haters are going to have to mount a massive international operation to make sure that Bush doesn't get the credit.
 
On Democratic Underground  they are wailing: 'Where are the freedom fighters today?'  But the Iraq The Model chappies speak of 'tears of happiness, hope, pride and triumph.'

Then there's this quote from a Sunni voter in Fallujah: 'We want to be like other Iraqis, we don't want to always be in opposition.' 

Translation: We quit.

The real danger of the Iraq election is that it might turn out to be a great teachable moment—for liberals, of course.  They might get it, at long last.  But, given the reaction of the quintessential Sixties liberal, Senator Kerry, and the lefties at Democratic Underground, it looks as though the moment will pass.  This is good for conservatives and other Americans.

The teachable lesson from Iraq is that this isn't a very nice world.  It's a world full of conflict and killing in which there is often no option but grinding it out on the ground.  War is the norm, and peace is the pause that refreshes. 

In our modern era, it is easy to lose sight of this.  Back in the good old days of wise aboriginal tribes that were close to nature, about 40 percent of men died from violent conflict.  But in the Twentieth Century, an era we like to imagine as the very abyss of violence and war, only five percent of men died from violent conflict. 

Our modern American elite has lived a life peculiarly free from conflict.  Its defining moment of conflict was opposing the Vietnam War.  But its battle was never a real war.  Anti—war activists were cosseted and encouraged by their liberal parents and the liberal media, and indulgently made into heroes for striking a few elegant poses. Then they bravely took up arms against their liberal professors who were quite happy to cave in and grant all their demands without even the pretence of a fight.  In consequence, our liberal elites imagine that everything can be decided with a telegenic demonstration and a TV—friendly spokesperson, or failing that, diplomacy and a peace process.

You can tell that liberals don't have a clue about conflict by listening to their commentary on the war on terror.  They are easily discouraged, and make every setback into a frightening quagmire.  But any student of war knows that every conflict is a confusing and demoralizing grind that often seems to be an exercise in futility. 

Liberals are also woefully ignorant about strategy.  Three years after 9/11 they are still unable to penetrate the transparent strategic moves made by the Bush Administration: disengaging from Saudi Arabia, backhanding Arafat, transforming Afghanistan, and occupying the strategic hinge of the Middle East along the Mesopotamian rivers.

Liberals are ignorant of all these things because they have had everything so easy.  Conservatives have learned the arts of conflict because they have had to.  Starting from nothing in 1950 they have built first a cadre, then a movement, and finally a political majority, step by step, with plenty of setbacks along the way.

Liberals should be paying attention as President Bush conducts his seminar in global strategic conflict. They could be taking notes.  They are going to have to learn the arts of war sooner or later as they struggle back from defeat and humiliation, for that is what is in store for them in the years ahead as the American people reject the rule of the liberal experts promising doom, gloom, withdrawal, and appeasement.  But it looks like they aren't ready to pay attention yet.

This is good, because we conservatives have a lot to do.  What we want, above all, is to build a self—governing America in which ordinary people get to make decisions about their lives without having to get permission from the ever—interfering liberal.  We want to court our brides and get married without liberals muddying up the idea of marriage; we want to raise and educate our children without twelve years of marinating in liberal schools.  And we want to deal with our doctors without liberal interference.  You could encapsulate all this into a bumper sticker slogan:  Smash the Liberal Veto.  But that might hurt liberal self—esteem.

Christopher Chantrill chrischantrill@msn.com blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.

Today the Iraq election is over and Senator John Kerry is wisely advising that:

No one in the United States should try to over—hype this election...  This election is a sort of demarcation point, and what really counts now is the effort to have a legitimate political reconciliation that is going to take a massive diplomatic effort and a much more significant outreach to the international community than this administration has been willing to engage in.

Quite right, Senator.  I couldn't agree more.  To translate from Mandarin into English: the election was a stunning success and we elite Bush—haters are going to have to mount a massive international operation to make sure that Bush doesn't get the credit.
 
On Democratic Underground  they are wailing: 'Where are the freedom fighters today?'  But the Iraq The Model chappies speak of 'tears of happiness, hope, pride and triumph.'

Then there's this quote from a Sunni voter in Fallujah: 'We want to be like other Iraqis, we don't want to always be in opposition.' 

Translation: We quit.

The real danger of the Iraq election is that it might turn out to be a great teachable moment—for liberals, of course.  They might get it, at long last.  But, given the reaction of the quintessential Sixties liberal, Senator Kerry, and the lefties at Democratic Underground, it looks as though the moment will pass.  This is good for conservatives and other Americans.

The teachable lesson from Iraq is that this isn't a very nice world.  It's a world full of conflict and killing in which there is often no option but grinding it out on the ground.  War is the norm, and peace is the pause that refreshes. 

In our modern era, it is easy to lose sight of this.  Back in the good old days of wise aboriginal tribes that were close to nature, about 40 percent of men died from violent conflict.  But in the Twentieth Century, an era we like to imagine as the very abyss of violence and war, only five percent of men died from violent conflict. 

Our modern American elite has lived a life peculiarly free from conflict.  Its defining moment of conflict was opposing the Vietnam War.  But its battle was never a real war.  Anti—war activists were cosseted and encouraged by their liberal parents and the liberal media, and indulgently made into heroes for striking a few elegant poses. Then they bravely took up arms against their liberal professors who were quite happy to cave in and grant all their demands without even the pretence of a fight.  In consequence, our liberal elites imagine that everything can be decided with a telegenic demonstration and a TV—friendly spokesperson, or failing that, diplomacy and a peace process.

You can tell that liberals don't have a clue about conflict by listening to their commentary on the war on terror.  They are easily discouraged, and make every setback into a frightening quagmire.  But any student of war knows that every conflict is a confusing and demoralizing grind that often seems to be an exercise in futility. 

Liberals are also woefully ignorant about strategy.  Three years after 9/11 they are still unable to penetrate the transparent strategic moves made by the Bush Administration: disengaging from Saudi Arabia, backhanding Arafat, transforming Afghanistan, and occupying the strategic hinge of the Middle East along the Mesopotamian rivers.

Liberals are ignorant of all these things because they have had everything so easy.  Conservatives have learned the arts of conflict because they have had to.  Starting from nothing in 1950 they have built first a cadre, then a movement, and finally a political majority, step by step, with plenty of setbacks along the way.

Liberals should be paying attention as President Bush conducts his seminar in global strategic conflict. They could be taking notes.  They are going to have to learn the arts of war sooner or later as they struggle back from defeat and humiliation, for that is what is in store for them in the years ahead as the American people reject the rule of the liberal experts promising doom, gloom, withdrawal, and appeasement.  But it looks like they aren't ready to pay attention yet.

This is good, because we conservatives have a lot to do.  What we want, above all, is to build a self—governing America in which ordinary people get to make decisions about their lives without having to get permission from the ever—interfering liberal.  We want to court our brides and get married without liberals muddying up the idea of marriage; we want to raise and educate our children without twelve years of marinating in liberal schools.  And we want to deal with our doctors without liberal interference.  You could encapsulate all this into a bumper sticker slogan:  Smash the Liberal Veto.  But that might hurt liberal self—esteem.

Christopher Chantrill chrischantrill@msn.com blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.