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Sunshine patriots and disguised Tories

Posted by Richard on December 14, 2005

Norman Podhoretz’s "The Panic Over Iraq" is perhaps the definitive article about the current situation in Iraq and the misrepresentation of that situation by the media, the Democrats, and other anti-war critics. The article, which will be in the January issue of Commentary, follows Podhoretz’s December Commentary article, "Who Is Lying About Iraq?" Start with that article if you want to see a complete, thorough, and definitive refutation of the "Bush lied" meme.

The new article lays out the lengthy, detailed, and compelling evidence that we’re clearly winning militarily and politically, both in Iraq and in the greater Middle East. Podhoretz demonstrates the media mendacity that explains why most people find that claim hard to believe. He discredits the charge of incompetence and blunders, and utterly destroys the "realist" critics, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft. And he exposes today’s equivalent of Tom Paine’s summer soldiers, sunshine patriots, and disguised Tories.

Podhoretz’s most important point, though, is his explanation of why the criticisms of the war are becoming so shrill and panicky, much like the critics of the American Revolution during what Paine called "the times that try men’s souls" (emphasis added):

We, too, are in the midst of a rapidly spreading panic. We, too, have our sunshine patriots and summer soldiers, in the form of people who initially supported the invasion of Iraq—and the Bush Doctrine from which it followed—but who are now abandoning what they have decided is a sinking ship. And we, too, are seeing formerly disguised opponents of the war coming more and more out into the open, and in ever greater numbers.

Yet in spite of these similarities, there is also a very curious difference between the American panic of 1776-7 and the American panic of 2005-6. To put it in the simplest and starkest terms: in that early stage of the Revolutionary War, there was sound reason to fear that the British would succeed in routing Washington’s forces. In Iraq today, however, and in the Middle East as a whole, a successful outcome is staring us in the face. Clearly, then, the panic over Iraq—which expresses itself in increasingly frenzied calls for the withdrawal of our forces—cannot have been caused by the prospect of defeat. On the contrary, my twofold guess is that the real fear behind it is not that we are losing but that we are winning, and that what has catalyzed this fear into a genuine panic is the realization that the chances of pulling off the proverbial feat of snatching an American defeat from the jaws of victory are rapidly running out.

Iraqis are voting for the third time, ever more Sunnis are joining the process, ever more clerics have denounced the terrorists, the Iraqi economy continues to grow rapidly, and a poll of Iraqis reports widespread optimism and confidence in the future.

This picture is terrifying to Dean, Pelosi, Kennedy, their associates, and their eager accomplices in the mainstream media. If the Bush Doctrine succeeds in Iraq, and the movement toward liberalization, democracy, and freedom continues to grow throughout the Arab world, the opponents of that doctrine may be marginalized for the foreseeable future.


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