Kicking the Sheriff's Ass
12 Mar 2007 03:38 pm
A reader writes on why we went to war:
The fact is: we relied so heavily on the weapons of mass destruction argument because it was the easiest rung on which to hang our hat. Everyone knew that Iraq had stockpiles of at least chemical weapons. And once we got in there, who knows what we'd find on the biological weapon or nuclear weapon front?It wasn't even a question in anyone's minds, us or other foreign intelligence services. So we relied on that rationale, because it's hard to make an argument that "we need to go in there and knock heads." Even if that is what needs to be done.
Obviously, the strategy of relying on that justification was a horrible mistake. We've now lost total control of the narrative.
It doesn't make D'Souza's point any less relevant though. The problem is not that the United States went into the bar to rough up some thugs and show that there was a new sheriff in town. The problem is that if you are the sheriff, you can't go into the bar and get your ass kicked.
Walking into that bar is about demonstrating your power and credibility. If you get beat up, you've only demonstrated how weak you are, even if you are eventually victorious. If the sheriff manages to beat the local thugs into submission, but suffers a broken nose and cracked ribs and has to take the next few days off recuperating, then he's lost all credibility both with both the thugs and the townsfolk.
This is basically the situation we are in now and why, instead of victory, we’re fighting for a narrow loss.
And it's why the architect of this strategy is now sounding more and more hysterical. When Dick Cheney looks weak, when he has made the U.S. look weak, we are in trouble. Weakness invites attack. If and when the next attack comes, Cheney's failed strategy will be partly responsible. He hasn't just undermined the soft power of the U.S. He has deeply undermined American hard power.
Just go to Sullivan's blog The Daily Dish (now part of The Atlantic) and just scroll and enjoy. It could have been written by me! Well, except that it is well-written. And timely. And less reliant on foul language...