Thursday, April 29, 2004


Senator Hillary Clinton gave a recent interview to an Arab newspaper printed in London:

The democrat Senator stressed that the U.S. is trapped in the quagmire of Iraq. It can not free itself from the country.
Referring to the Bush Administration policies as arrogant and insolent, the wife of the former U.S. president further added that Bush is not willing to admit his mistakes in Iraq, the grave mistakes that have endangered the lives of both the Iraqi people and the U.S. servicemen alike.

The mistakes have also threatened peace and stability in the region, she further explained.

Clinton said the Bush Administration did not have a plan for Iraq and did not have a full understanding of the situation there.

She said the United States was in trouble because it could not abandon Iraq, nor provide enough manpower to run the country, nor gather world allies willing to provide the necessary assistance for the gigantic task.

Grimbeorn comments:

One of the challenges in a counterinsurgency is convincing people that yours is the winning side... Thanks, doll. It'll be a lot easier now.

Well said. It's bad enough to express defeatism here in the US, but to confess to unfriendlies that you think we can not win...? Sometimes I wonder whether the people who say these types of things appreciate what harm they do to the rest of us Americans. Surely they must. But surely Hillary Clinton does not wish to see Americans die and America humiliated.

How can they continue to speak this way? I can think of three interrelated reasons. First, I think American politicians cannot help but think of this in terms of US domestic politics. This is an election year, and George W. Bush is the real enemy to most politicos on the American left. (The American right has its own problems, but that's something to discuss in another post.) The standard by which all words and actions are judged in this crowd is whether or not it makes it more likely that Bush will be defeated at the polls. The intense focus on this one goal has distorted their perceptions.

Second, many of them do not believe that the War on Terrorism is a real war any more than the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs. To them, this "war" is a rhetorical device. They plan to fight this war as they do all other metaphorical wars, with speeches, legislation, government programs, meetings in foreign capitals, etc. If there is no real war, there is no real enemy, and thus no reason to be careful about what you say to an Arab media outlet, other than the normal multiculturalist concerns.

Third, inasmuch as there exists any hostility towards the US in the world today, many people like to believe that this will be resolved not by force but by good will and compromise. By disparaging the Bush administration's war-fighting approach, Clinton and others like her believe they are communicating an important message about their willingness to seek a more peaceful resolution to the problem.

It's like that Far Side cartoon.

What Clinton & Co. say to terrorists: "We're not enemies. And we Americans are not all bloodthirsty bigots like this crazy cowboy from Texas. He doesn't speak for us, and in a few months he'll be gone. We're reasonable. We want to engage you in dialogue, to understand you better--your needs, your fears, your hopes and dreams. Together, we'll find a solution that will be mutually beneficial."

What they hear: "We are weak and afraid. Continue attacking us and we will soon give you what you want."

This is not to say that everyone who reads that newspaper is a terrorist. There are good people in the Arab and Muslim world who decry terror, and we should do all we can to support them. But I think it's safe to say that there are plenty of terrorists and terror-supporters who will read reports of that interview with Sen. Clinton, and who will be emboldened by it, rather than moved to negotiate. What will it take for someone like Sen. Clinton to realize this?


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