The false assumptions of the anti war left
There is much much more. The Ware scene confirms my impression of the Baghdad hotel media who bravely sit around the bar telling each other how bad it is when they peek out from behind the curtains of their hotel room. The media incompetance in Iraq exceeds its abymisal showing in the Tet offensive where it turned a significant enemy failure into a strategic victory.
Opponents of the war in Iraq, both original critics and the mea culpa recent converts, have made eight assumptions. The first six are wrong, the last two still unsettled.
1. Saddam was never connected to al Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11.
2. There was no real threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
3. The United Nations and our allies were justifiably opposed on principle to the invasion.
4. A small cabal of neoconservative (and mostly Jewish) intellectuals bullied the administration into a war that served Israel’s interest more than our own.
5. Saddam could not be easily deposed, or at least he could not be successfully replaced with a democratic government.
6. The architects of this war and the subsequent occupation are mostly inept (“dangerously incompetent”) — and are exposed daily as clueless by a professional cadre of disinterested journalists.
7. In realist terms, the benefits to be gained from the war will never justify the costs incurred.
8. We cannot win.
First, notice how the old criticism that Saddam was not connected to al Qaeda has now morphed into a fallback position that “Saddam was not connected to September 11” — even though the latter argument was never officially advanced as a casus belli.
Opponents have retreated to this position because we know that al Qaeda cadres were in Kurdistan, and that al Zarqawi fled to Baghdad, as did a mastermind of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, Abdul Rahman Yasin.
The Clinton administration in 1998 officially cited Iraqi agents as involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. That is part of the reason why the U.S. Senate, not the Bush administration, authorized a war against Saddam in October 2002: “ Whereas members of al-Qaeda, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq."
From the slowly emerging Baathist archives, we are learning that for more than a decade Saddam’s agents had some contacts with, and offered help to, al Qaeda operatives from the Sudan to the Philippines.
Weigh that success against the behavior of the media that sees mostly American incompetence. At CBS, Dan Rather insisted to us that a clearly forged memo, but one that fit his own ideological agenda, was authentic. Michael Isikoff relied on one anonymous — and unreliable — source about the purported desecration of a Koran that had serious consequences for thousands in the Middle East. CNN’s executive Eason Jordan admitted that his network passed on coverage of a mass-murdering Saddam Hussein — and later he wrongly alleged that the American military deliberately targeted journalists in Iraq.
Now we hear Time Baghdad Bureau Chief Michael Ware, in a drunken, live interview (“In fact, I'm drinking now…I try to stay as drunk for as long as possible while I'm here”) from the heart of dry Muslim Iraq, recklessly throwing around charges that American soldiers are guilty of manhandling Iraqi women (“We've seen allegations that women have been mishandled or roughly handled. That always inflames passions”) and terrorizing civilians (“We've also seen insurgents criticize other insurgent groups, 'cause you're not doing enough to get the chicks out! I mean, that's how important it can be, this is a matter of great honor, and it's a spark”). Ware’s are precisely the lies and fantasies that feed the Islamists.
Indeed, the better example of ineptitude in this war lies with the media that demands from others apologies for incompetence that it will never offer itself. Few professions today ask so much of so many others and so very little of themselves.