Getting our hands dirty

Perhaps Mr. Joseph Farah has been in close proximity to Washington DC for too long, because his usually sound judgment appears to be slipping a little, as exemplified by his column yesterday that the US needs to get its hands dirty in order to win the peace in Iraq.

Seriously, sometimes I wonder if there’s a single columnist other than Victor Davis Hanson and me who knows anything about military history. (VDH knows approximately 1000x more than I do, by the way.)

No matter what happens, we aren’t going to get as murderously violent as the Russians did in Afghanistan. We aren’t going to get as lethally brutal as the French did in Algeria. We may not even be willing to get as harsh as the British did in Egypt. Are you noticing a pattern here? All three of those occupying powers eventually wearied of the constant and bloody struggle inherent in remaining top dog in an Arab land and withdrew. Americans, who have rather less staying power, will not last as long as did any of our three predecessors in the region, and furthermore, the use of torture and other unpleasant tactics directly contradicts the “hearts and minds” approach that the world democratic revolution sorts admitted was the base of their strategy.

There are two possibilities now. Widen the war or end it. While it would have been far wiser to withdraw after toppling Saddam’s regime, better late than never. Pat Buchanan suggests that Bush’s move away from the neocons in his administration indicates the latter, while Debka claims that noises on the Syrian border indicate the former. I’m hoping that Mr. Buchanan is correct, as in this case, the best defense is not a good offense.