A Lot at Stake in Iraq... Such as Victor Davis Hanson's Mental Stability

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When a
person ties their sense of self to their government's might,
it is surely a sign that they are trying to cover up their own
inner emptiness. How horrible it is for such a person to face
the fact that, however mighty their nation may be at one time,
it's day in the sun will pass, and some other nation will rise
to dominance! The result can be a mental breakdown — for a gruesome
example of the process, let's look at this
recent post
by the once mighty Achilles of the armchair,
Victor Davis Hanson. I'll quote Hanson in italics below, interspersed
with my commentary in plain type.

Much
of the debate over Iraq is framed over “perceptions” of power.
That is, if we fail, others will immediately capitalize on the
newfound sense that the United States is weakened and a window
of opportunity has opened up. Lose in Iraq, the conventional
wisdom goes, then Iran will accelerate its nuclear acquisition,

Because
you need nuclear weapons a lot more when there isn't
a huge, hostile army right next door than you do when there
is!

Syria
and Iran will be even more emboldened, Latin America will go
even harder left,

Yes, voters
in Latin America certainly have been waiting to vote for the
left-wing parties they really want in power until they see if
the US withdraws from Iraq.

China
will carve out a wider swath

What "swaths"
has China been carving out lately? Hanson must be referring
to how, just recently, the country invaded Tibet. Almost six
decades ago. And that's it. What a swath!

But,
in fact, I fear it could be worse than that the perception of
impotence that galvanizes enemies. If we lost in Iraq

That happened
a while back, VDH. Like the day that nitwits such as you recommended
invading.

and
fled

What are
you supposed to do when you lose, stick around and get pounded?

it would
not be the perception at all, but the reality of power that
would be gone, in the sense the United States would never in
our lifetime intervene successfully again on the ground abroad-convinced
it would inevitably lose.

Do you
mean we're going to have to pass up on the endless series of
Iraq-like debacles your dim-witted warmongering promises us?
Drat!

I think
we are also close to seeing the permanent end of any Anglo-American
military collaboration. And there would be legitimate questions
raised also whether the U.S. military could win any future war
— given the knowledge that, barring some instantaneous victory,
the American public would not allow it the time or the latitude
to destroy its enemies.

But who
was it that promised the American public "instantaneous
victory"? Who
guaranteed
"that U.S. Marines will find more deadly
weapons in the first hours of war than the U.N. did in three
months"? Who promised we would see, in Iraq, "reconstruction
instead of destruction"? Who was telling us, in
April 2003
, that the hard part was over and Iraq would be
all smooth ice from there forward?

It was
you, Professor Hanson. And now you are hoist on your own petard.

Instead,
the blueprint for any further American involvement is the current
investigations of Marines in Haditha, the hysteria over an Abu
Ghrai…

All of
you liberal sissies get so hysterical when our military engages
in brutal murder and torture!

flushed
Korans, Bible-quoting generals, and all the other media headline
stories that drowned out what we were doing in Iraq.

Weren't
those things "we were doing in Iraq"? So Hanson is
saying that Americans let what Americans were doing in Iraq
drown out what Americans were doing in Iraq. If only he can
figure out how to drown himself out!

When
Mr. Bush contemplates what to do about Iran, he knows — and
he knows Iran knows — that we are on the verge right now of
a tired American public

What does
this mean, "we are on the verge right now of a tired American
public" — we are driving on the grassy shoulder of the
road that is the American public? How can one be "on the
verge" of a public?

that
winces at the very thought of the media storm, political fury,
and wild partisan charges that would accompany any more military
reactions.

"Military
reactions"? I hear a brain blowing fuses left and right.

But
the next step would be the complete loss of public confidence,
in the fashion of the French,

And the
French are just so good at fashion!

that
we even could win a war if we had to.

Because,
after all, the war in Iraq was completely pointless, so there
was no reason we had to win that one.

And
then watch out. Great powers, like the largest animals, have
a small central nervous system…

Talk about
the pot calling the kettle black!

that
directs their enormous limbs and sinews. And when it goes —
call it public confidence in one’s civilization

So a country's
"central nervous system" is "public confidence"?
A nation's foreign policy is directed by public confidence?
Sure, a foreign policy might rely on public confidence, but
how can confidence direct anything?

— then
armies tremor, enervate, and, Europe-like, wither away.

Who
knew that Europe had withered away? Last time I was there, it
still looked fairly substantial. But it's pretty obvious that
somebody's marbles are "withering away." And no wonder.
Hanson recommended a course of conduct that resulted in a terrible
disaster and has ended the US hegemony that has been like a
lover to him. Do the names "Alcibiades"
and "Sicilian expedition"
ring any bells, Professor
Hanson?

November
18,
2006

Gene Callahan [send
him mail
], the author of Economics
for Real People
, is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig
von Mises Institute
and a contributing columnist to LewRockwell.com.
His first novel, PUCK,
has just been published.

Gene
Callahan/Stu Morgenstern Archives

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