Thursday, January 13, 2005

The next battle in WW IV

Norman Podhoretz wrote what I consider to be the seminal explanation of the current conflict between America and the forces of Islamic fundamentalism, calling it World War IV. He has now written a followup essay on the next phase in the war. Take an hour or so out of your day and read the whole thing. Podhoretz argues that the primary enemy in this phase of the war is not the Islamists, but their intellectual and elitist allies here in America:
But the most important thing the insurgents and their backers in the neighboring despotisms know is that the battle for Iraq will not be won or lost in Iraq; it will be won or lost in the United States of America. On this they agree entirely with General John Abizaid, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, who recently told reporters touring Iraq: "It is all about staying the course. No military effort that anyone can make against us is going to be able to throw us out of this region." Is it any wonder, then, that the insurgents were praying for the victory of John F. Kerry—which they all assumed would mean an American withdrawal—or that the reelection of Bush—which they were not fooled by any exit polls into interpreting as anything other than a ratification of the Bush Doctrine—came as such a great blow to them?

But too much is at stake in Iraq for them to give up now, especially as they are confident that they still have an excellent shot at getting the American public to conclude that the game is not worth the candle. General Abizaid again: "We have nothing to fear from this enemy except its ability to create panic . . . and gain a media victory." To achieve this species of victory—and perhaps inspired by the strategy that worked so well for the North Vietnamese—they are counting on the forces opposing the Bush Doctrine at home. These forces comprise just as motley a coalition as the one fighting in Iraq, and they are, after their own fashion, just as desperate. For they too understand how much they for their own part stand to lose if the Bush Doctrine is ever generally judged to have passed the great test to which it has been put in Iraq.

Our ability to win this coming phase of the war will depend on the will and perseverence of the American people. Are we resolved to win this war, no matter the cost? Podhoretz looks at the 61 million votes cast for Bush in the election, and opines in the affirmative:

Before we entered World War II, serious doubts were raised as to whether we were a match for such disciplined and fanatical enemies as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. And in World War III, leading anti-Communists like Whittaker Chambers and James Burnham were sure that we lacked the stomach, the heart, the will, and the wit to stand effectively against the Soviet Union and its allies and sympathizers: to Chambers we were "the losing side," and to Burnham we were veritably suicidal in our weakness and folly. They turned out to be wrong because, as Charles Horner of the Hudson Institute once put it in speaking of Chambers, they, and not they alone, failed "to anticipate the resiliency of the American citizenry and its leadership." Today similar doubts and fears are once again all over the place, with even some of my fellow supporters of the Bush Doctrine murmuring that we have all grown too soft, too self-indulgent, and too self-absorbed to meet yet another daunting challenge.

Except for an occasional twinge brought on by paying too much attention to the antiwar forces, and to certain aspects of our culture, both low and high, I did not share these doubts and fears before the verdict of November 2, and they have been quite banished by what I am persuaded the American people were saying when they voted to keep George W. Bush in the White House for another four years.

I tend to agree. Bush is waiting for the Iraqi elections on January 30. I predict within 30-45 days of the elections there will be an aggressive new policy stated regarding either Syria or Iran, more likely Syria. Watch for implementation of the so-called "Salvador Plan" of targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders in Syria. For those who think Bush is going to go soft in his second term, I suspect you will have a rude surprise in store for you.

UPDATE: Noodles pulls off a hat trick by referencing this post, giving a salient example of how the STrib is performing exactly as Podhoretz predicted, and giving me a chance to test my trackbacks, all at the same time. What a guy!