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Call It "The Audacity of Victory"

Over at The Tank on National Review Online, I expressed a few thoughts going forward as Michael Yon confidently called in from Iraq to say, "The war is over and we won."

After noting that there are a lot of people - known and unknown to the public - who deserve measures of credit for the successful strategy that made victory possible, we dare not forget one important man amid all the criticisms, due and undue.

But the fact remains that only President George W. Bush made or would have made the command decision he made. Only President George W. Bush, derided and vilified, had the conviction and determination to allow a path to victory when nearly everyone else had written Iraq -- and her people -- off to defeat. Call it "The Audacity of Victory."

Imagine life as an Iraqi in Baghdad or Ramadi or even Fallujah or Najaf or Baquba and all points between had President Bush relented to common popular domestic and international wisdom, opinion and sentiment and left the Iraqi people to the wolves among them, only to abandon them by "ending it," executing an "honorable withdrawal," or "redeploying" our forces. Our defeat would have been theirs ten-fold. Ask one.

Our current narrative-defining trifecta of media, political elite, and academia will surely not credit George W. Bush with achieving victory in Iraq while they are afforded the more palatable option of crediting a President Barack H. Obama with a draw-down of forces. But it is with certainty afforded by said trifecta's predictability that without President George W. Bush's steadfast determination and leadership, the events, discussion and reporting surrounding Iraq today would be horrific in nature.

The audacity of victory. You have to want it.

I've had my differences with President Bush, some of them quite pointed. But let's not forget that it was President Bush who was the one man that stood between retreat & defeat and victory. No one in political office in Washington - not a single soul aside from perhaps John McCain - would have defied prevailing popular opinion and pressed the surge in order to secure the Iraqi people and win the war.

Forget first instincts to debate one way or the other. Think of the Iraqi people. There is certainty that most of them would be subject to terrorist rule today had we bailed as so many demanded, or under the crazed dictatorial thumb of Saddam Hussein and his deranged sons had we never gone in.

Contemporary history will not be kind to President Bush, but in the long run, he will be remembered well for that act. That says more about those writing the immediate contemporary history than it does about the President.


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Comments (29)

How correct you are, especi... (Below threshold)
Allen:

How correct you are, especially since Iraq has agree to 2011 for our troops to leave. However, if Bush and Rumsfeld would have listen to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military would have went in with 5 to 6 hundred thousand troops at the beginning.

And the Iraq army would not have been disbanned, but given the opportunity to help the new Iraq. But this didn't happen, did it?

Just like Viet Nam the politicians could not give the military the overall objective, then stand back and let the military do the job it was given.

When will the politicians ever learn?

John McCain took all the cr... (Below threshold)
kathie:

John McCain took all the credit for the surge, but inorder for the surge to happen only the President could reorganize the top brass. The President had more then the public to fight, he had the military as well.

McCain throw the only Hail ... (Below threshold)
Captain America:

McCain throw the only Hail Mary he had available to him at a desperate time, backing the surge. Not a bad decision, given the stellar performance of our military through the generations.

In fact, McCain made it sound like he was the only person in the world that wanted the surge, that he had to convince Bush.

Such overreaching is classic McCain, especially when it pertains to reaching across the aisle -- and what good did it do him.

All credit goes to Bush and General Petreaus. The rightful owners of Iraq victory.

Now, however, we must continue to preserve the peace. Particularly in view of the noisy neighbors.

GW will go down in history ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

GW will go down in history as standing tall in the face of much opposition from the left, MSM and the European elite.

In the proper historical perspective for the slow witted like Allen, we conquered Iraq fairly quickly. If you were honest you would acknowlege that. There was a two or more week period until the insurgents, most from outside agitators came in. The looting was a problem. the dismantling of the army was not smart. But hindsight is always so clear.

GW has done a great job on the fight on terror. Anyone think that he is not responsible for our safety for the past several years is really not worth talking with. ww

Would be that history treat... (Below threshold)
dnb:

Would be that history treats President Bush and General Petreaus kindly; however, have you seen some of such being written as history in textbooks? All depends on whose writing history, not history itself.

A Glenn 'Instapundit' Reyno... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

A Glenn 'Instapundit' Reynolds timeline:

2003: SGT. STRYKER writes that the war is over, and we've won. Thank goodness. It was starting to seem like a quagmire.

2005: KARL ZINSMEISTER says the war is over and we won...

2008:"THE WAR IS OVER AND WE WON:" Michael Yon just phoned from Baghdad, and reports that things are much better than he had expected, and he had expected things to be good.

Hm...

Welcome to the club. We go... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:
GWB is a long way from Chur... (Below threshold)
glenn:

GWB is a long way from Churchill but his stand on this issue is Churchillian.

GWB is a long way from C... (Below threshold)
Tim:

GWB is a long way from Churchill but his stand on this issue is Churchillian.

And the lack of credit and respect he gets from his countrymen is rather Churchillian as well.

Watching these e... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


Watching these events and remembering the vitriol regarding Bush's unyielding stance is sweet to me. After all the defeatism rampant, "staying the course" and "standing them up so we can stand down" is particularly resonant with me.
I NEVER doubted him, and the fact I've got skin in the game makes this victory all the sweeter.
Again, God bless our military for ALL their effort and sacrifice.

few should be surprised tha... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

few should be surprised that at the moment the nations leadership is changing hands, the war without end turns into "oh hey we won"

were the GOP left in control of the white house, no such win would be getting declared. this war equals a deluge of fabulous wealth for the people on bu$hs speed-dial, and the gravy train is chugging to a halt only because bu$hco can no longer string the nation along. well, this is a reason why america chose barack obama to begin with

the pyrrhic "victory" arrives years behind schedule, at an exponentially higher cost than projected, with no meaningful gains in stability or security for the middle east or americans alike

giving bu$h any kind of credit is pure silly

When they put statues up in... (Below threshold)

When they put statues up in Baghdad and rename streets, it won't be for John Kerry or John Murtha or Barak Obama. It will be for President George W. Bush.

Sure enough, BDS still live... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Sure enough, BDS still lives.

"Think of the Iraqi people.... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"Think of the Iraqi people. There is certainty that most of them would be subject to terrorist rule today had we bailed as so many demanded, or under the crazed dictatorial thumb of Saddam Hussein and his deranged sons had we never gone in." -- Steve S.

COMPLETE NONSENSE! You conservatives didn't go into Iraq for humanitarian reasons, you went in to assuage your paranoia about phantom "Weapons of Mass Destruction." (And, to a lesser extent, because the more loony of you thought Saddam played a role in 9/11). Remember how pleased you were when your Moron-King declared when debating Al Gore in 2000 that under him there would be no "nation-building"? We know why you now latch onto this "humanitarian argument": it's because thanks to people like David Kay, that's all you have left!

But maybe, conservatives, you all can explain why U.S. taxpayers are STILL paying $8 to $10 billion per month on Iraq, when Iraq has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. Given how wealthy Iraq is, maybe you "good Christians" can explain why it is better to spend all that money on the Iraqis, rather than spending all that on say those from any of the poorest countries on earth, where many live on a dollar a day or less. Maybe you could explain why 100,000 to 600,000 dead is a most reasonable price to pay for your invasion. And maybe you could let us know what precisely you yourself are doing to help the 2 million + refugees that your war has created. (You going to invite them into the U.S.? Nah, you're too hatefully xenophobic for that.)

Herman, Herman, Herman. Lea... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Herman, Herman, Herman. Learn your civics. The congress, by an overwhelming majority (that was a big word but it means a lot of democrats) gave the approval for GW to wage this war. Your selective ignorance is telling. ww

ww - its nonsense that demo... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

ww - its nonsense that democrats were voting for war. they expressed concern at the time that the resolution would be used as an excuse to wage war, which is why bu$h had to declare that force was just one of many options left, and that he had not made up his mind to attack

of course, the lowly bu$h was lying to his own country and to the world....

I am amazed at the u... (Below threshold)
Larry:


I am amazed at the use of selective opinion disguised as fact. Frankly, this is happening on both the left and right of the Iraq war issues.

Let me just use one example; eight to ten billion dollars a month for the Iraq war and Bush gets the blame. The last time I noticed there is only one place in our country where an expenditure bill can originate and be passed as law. This is our House of Representatives.

And the last time I looked, Congress was controlled in both houses by the Democratic Party, with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and Harry Reid as Majority Leader.

And that is just one example out of many, mostly, but not exclusively, uttered by the Jackass Party. Hermann, you are completely and utterly out in the weeds with your ignorance. Now it is that you can't fix stupid, but ignorance is curable if one is willing to learn.

So which are you?

Peabody:

Bush was lying? Based on what evidence? Please don't use opinions, I am only interested in facts. And your story about war was only an option was used as cover by Democrats who wanted to vote for the war for various reasons but needed the cover. This is the way it works in Washington. Sorry, not all libs are born angels and not all conservatives are idiots with hair on their palm.

larry - to say bu$h is lyin... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

larry - to say bu$h is lying is to pay him a most backhanded of compliments, because nobody could be as cluelessly stupid as he would have to be to get everything totally wrong from a sliver of cooked intel, in the face of a mountain of contradictory evidence

bu$h can tell you that the sky is green and that the tooth fairy is real. you cant prove hes lying can ya, but at the same time you cant possibly take such beliefs seriously

also i think you well know that democrats have not had the viable political choice of vetoing funding for the war. anyone who has so much as threatened to stop the war by de-funding has been labeled as a troop-hater etc etc. you know the game, youve watched it played, and now you see the consequences for the GOP

So sue me, I actually like ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

So sue me, I actually like George Bush, and yes, he is my President. 48 right back at you 52.

When the wine and cheese navel-gazers are through with him, in several years, you'll see history more kind to him.

On the financial mess, you can't pin that solely on Bush; it was everyone's fault, from debtors who got into hock for more than they knew they could pay, to the finance guys who didn't appreciate the MBS risk. Yes, should have had some regulation, but the crux of the problem--mortgages/FNMA/Freddie were regulated by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. They were too tied up with Friends of Angelo to notice. I took on more mortgage debt than I should, but I'll get through it after cutting my own expenses.

In the meantime, know that we much safer with an ally in the heart of darkness in the Middle East, and our intel sharing is immeasurably better, and at least we have DHS.

If you want to give a little credit with all the bile for things that are good and went well, then you'll prove to be a fair-minded bloke.

Hard to find those on the left these days.

pea, just to focus on just ... (Below threshold)
Larry:

pea, just to focus on just one thing at a time, I have never seen a breakdown of the money we are spending in Iraq. How much of it is infrastructure that would be better left to the Oil surplus of the Iraq people and how much is for direct troop support, etc.

Are they counting salaries of the military? Are they counting the vehicles and Abrams tanks? How much would we actually save if the same troops were here or in Afghanistan instead of in Iraq? See what I mean? 10 Billion is a nice round and juicy number to promote a political stance, but it isn't a real number, is it? Break it down for me, please.

Couple of other things; how much more would we have had to spend here in the US if the radicals had decided to move this way instead of focusing on Iraq? What seems to be missing from the debate is the simple fact that we are at war. There are a couple of buildings gone missing in NYC to substantiate that simple fact.

Ref. #13. Yep it's still al... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Ref. #13. Yep it's still alive, and at the same time ODS is gaining in strength. Why? We have enough problems in this country that the BS should stop.

But already the GOP is threatening to obstruct any and all Obama policies. WHY? Nobody knows what he is going to be doing, so why threaten anyone.

This is one reason, of many reasons that the GOP lost power. And you GOP's people blame McCain for not being conservative enough. THAT alone is the reason you lost.

Realize one thing; TRICKLE DOWN does not work, never has and never will. The only way this country has prospered is by having a healthy middle class.

And if you are so worried about the rich paying more taxes, well why isn't everyone yelling for a flat tax of 10% without deductions on everyone? That would be a fair tax, right? You know, everyone would pay the same tax on what you make.

Oh the poor don't pay taxes, fine, deduct the poverty level off everyone's income, tax the rest at 10%. Same as business, 10%.

And conservative means scared of new ideas. But please keep bring Newt out for running the GOP. You will lose more voters help. Who want's a person who was having an affair on his wife while yelling for Clinton's impeachment? That's your family values at work?

Well said. George Bush has ... (Below threshold)
coldwarkid:

Well said. George Bush has gotten a lot of flack; but I think the day will soon come - likely in late January - when many people will start to think that maybe the Bush days weren't so bad. To quote "The Office": 'Congratulations, universe. You win.'

The beltway elitists can sneer all they want; the liberal illuminati may soon realize that on-the-job training for the new President may be more of a liability to their party than they'd bargained for.

larry - the $10 billion per... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

larry - the $10 billion per month figure isnt a rounded convenient one. it was around $4B for awhile, then $6B, the $8B etc as the costs have escalated, and as represented by the actual money congress is approving. but whats worse is thats just the on-the-books cost. other costs such as future govt benefits and medical care for for the tens of thousands of wounded are expected to dwarf the currently accounted for expenses

i wish i was an expert who could direct you to sources on this that you would readily accept, but im also glad im not because its depressing stuff. to me the financial burden is a gaping stab wound in americas back that im not 100% sure she can recover from in combination with other looming issues. in the end, to my knowlege the widely reported figures im reading come as digested from official sources and are not officially disputed

personally i dont buy for a second the whole "fight them there so we dont have to fight them here" ruse. none of the facts on the ground ive ever heard bear it out, nor would i expect them to. again it makes a good story to help keep some public support corralled where bu$hco needs it. i believe there are two things discouraging further attacks at the moment:
1) that we are doing ourselves in, as i describe above, and which was the sole purpose of the 911 attacks to begin with. further attacks might discourage us from blowing our entire wad on iraq, so why should they take that chance
2) that the worlds, including ours, intel-driven, policing-style counter-terror activities, which should have been the focus since day one, are fairly effective

but we havent focused our energies where we should have, and al quaeda is bigger than ever, the taliban directly controls much of afghanistan while the situation there and in pakistan approaches crisis levels and when it boils over, we very well may not have the military resources to properly deal with that

Allen, here is the comment ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Allen, here is the comment you made:

Nobody knows what he is going to be doing, so why threaten anyone.

You lefties don't even know what the guy you elected is going to do, and you use it for an excuse? Wow!

Peabody, you get called on the facts and you plead I can't find the sources of the breakdown. I can. It will prove how wrong you are. You should find it since you stated it.

Oh yeah! Anyone believes that the terrorists aren't concentrating their energies, monies and plans in Iraq instead of hear is an idiot. ww

just a hunch, b... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


just a hunch, but I'll bet that the justification for ODS will be orders of magnitude more than the BDS extravaganza we've been subjected to.

peabody, as I have said, my... (Below threshold)
Larry:

peabody, as I have said, my conclusion on the benefits of fighting the terrorists over in Iraq are my own, not from anyone else.

I have written why I have come to that conclusion in other threads that you have accessed. You either read and thought about it or not as the case may be.

That you feel otherwise is okay with me, but I don't understand your reasoning. Maybe you never did read what I have posted in the past because you, by your written reasoning, didn't take into consideration some of the facts that WERE posted. Sorry. Al Queda has said why it is fighting in Iraq. Did you not read that?

I have always found you to be reasonable. And I agree with you that we have major costs down the road for our war in Iraq. I invite you to consider the costs of defending the US here at home against an active and financed bunch of terrorists who have no place to focus except on our national soil.

We are at War.

I don't need a list of collateral damage to those who live in the places where those who would make war on us come from. I don't need a list of the casualities on our side. We are at War and it is what it is.

And this is a war to the finish. The terrorists are going to kill us all or convert us, that is what they say and I believe them. So our job is to kill them wherever they are so they cannot kill us, period.

Wishing it would be different doesn't make it so. Reality can sometimes be very bad.

Allen*sigh*<... (Below threshold)
Larry:

Allen

*sigh*

Son, you need to quit confusing opinions and wishes with the facts. Your list of opinions and unsubstantiated reasoning's are a disgrace to wherever you got an education, if any.

Look up "Critical Thinking" on google and then go get a couple of decent history courses so you will be able to think instead of spewing out slogans supported solely by nonsense.

Well, you could go back to dailykos, where all the intellectuals hang out. Bwahahahahahahah!

ww - if you can prove the n... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

ww - if you can prove the numbers are wrong, even though nobody is disputing them, then go right ahead. lets see it

besides if i dig up new york times i can already hear reactionaries like you saying "pfft oh yeah, the liberal new york times"

yes of course you buy into the fight-terror-in-iraq nonsense. you buy into every single piece of tripe bu$hco ever creates. good show, haha

=]

larry - from experience i k... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

larry - from experience i know it would take a very very long time for us to properly debate our differences

i have heard every reason and rationale from the right. they arent mysteries. liberals and centrists have known them and disagreed with them all along, so its not a lack of familiarity leading to the disagreements. much of what i have heard from the right has been compelling and worthy of looking into, and once i did has fallen to pieces. they are not sturdy arguments

so i simply dont accept how any of this war is being sold. neither does most of the country, nor virtually all of the entire world. that may not mean that the tiny remaining sliver of the neocon base must circle its wagons and resist all attempts at competing points of view

many said the same things about the vietnam war. my opinion is that 30 years later the fog of war has lifted and we can see that vietnam was a misrepresented misguided misadventure that caused immeasurable suffering in both countries. i see a lot of parallels




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