There is a great deal good that can be said, and should be said, about Victor Davis Hanson. Victor Davis Hanson has the right dislikes. His attacks on the American — or at least the Californian — university system are a pleasure to read. His contempt for those who are unfair to Israel, and his general take on the universe endear him to all sensible people.
However, much as one may permit oneself to admire him for the reasons enumerated above and for others still, there are elements of his writings that are not quite so winning. What is not endearing, and what has in fact been so disturbing and even maddening for the past 2 1/2 years, is his refusal to contemplate what the belief-system of Islam is all about — even though in his writing he has made much of the influence of “culture” in explaining the success of Western man as warrior (those free Greeks, those serried ranks of Persian myrmidons).
He has not considered how Islam so completely molds both its adherents and the societies in which even those who are not full believers grow up and in which they drink in the atmospherics of Islam.
Had he done so, he would long ago have realized the truth of what I was writing here in March or April 2004. I began setting out exactly what would happen in Iraq and why it was inevitable: sectarian and ethnic divisions would appear more strongly than they had for some time, and those divisions cannot be healed. Neither Sunni Arabs nor Shi’a Arabs will permit them to be healed, though both will play for American protection, American military equipment and training, American fighting against their enemies under the guise of “protecting democracy.” And furthermore, I wrote about why it was in American and Infidel interests for these sectarian and ethnic divisions to be encouraged — the first being a kind of Iran-Iraq War (which should have gone on forever), with repercussions in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Pakistan, Lebanon, and the second with repercussions in Algeria and elsewhere in the Berber-haunted Maghreb, and everywhere that non-Arab Muslims have been persecuted, or treated with contumely, or have resented the linguistic and cultural imperialism of the Arabs, of which Islam is the obvious vehicle.
Hanson refused to see this, ignoring what his associate Bruce Thornton was writing in those “Private Papers.” Hanson failed to see that the war in Iraq had been won, as far as Infidel interests were concerned, just as soon as Saddam Hussein was captured, his sons killed, the game of Fifty-Two Pickup successfully completed, and — this is the main point — the country scoured for weapons of mass destruction and for projects intended to produce such weapons, in the first case an effort of search and destroy, in the second case an effort of search and disrupt for a very long time.
All that was accomplished within the first year, and everything was then set inevitably in motion. It was time then to leave.
But this is still something Hanson has trouble with. Of course, he’s much more intelligent than the smug Kristols and all those others who will keep prating about what “needs to be done” in Iraq. He has no need to obstinately defend the Administration for its folly, or its lack of low or high cunning, or its miscomprehension that this “war on terror” stuff will not do, and the “war of self-defense against the Jihad” (Jihad standing in, synecdochically, for “Islam”) is what we are actually fighting.
Incidentally, I realize now that setting all this out, declaring victory, as has been done here repeatedly since late March or early April, 2004, should entitle the author of that victory-declaration to some kind of whistle-blower’s award. After all, that author was trying, among other things, to halt the squandering of taxpayers’ money (and the lives of soldiers). That should be worth something. A third of the avoidable hundreds of billions would seem like a lot. A million would do just fine.
Meanwhile, let’s hope that Victor Davis Hanson, given his many admirers, begins to see the plans for Iraq as the hopeless — and self-defeating from the Infidel point of view — nonsense it is. It would help push the Pentagon and Bush and Rice into recognizing reality.