April 15, 2003
MAX BOOT WONDERS why the media are so glum, given that the war went so well:
I was recently interviewed by a reporter for one of the major network affiliates in New York City. All his questions were about looting, suicide bombings, civilian casualties, Arab resentment of Christian military forces, the possibility of protracted guerrilla warfare, and even the specter of "another Vietnam." That's pretty typical of the news coverage, especially among overseas news outlets, but also among many U.S. papers and TV networks.
And mainstream TV executives wonder why the Fox News Channel--which has been a notable dissenter from this gloomy orthodoxy--has suddenly become so popular!
The rest of the press should get a grip. This is the most successful U.S. military intervention since 1945. This was no half victory like Kosovo, in which U.S. forces liberated only one province, or Afghanistan, where the U.S. left warlords in control of much of the country. This was the real deal: marching to the enemy capital and imposing peace on our terms. This calls for champagne and tickertape. Instead the press, and opponents of the war, are moving the goalposts.
It's not enough to win a smashing military victory at small cost. To listen to the critics, if Iraq doesn't suddenly become as law-abiding and peaceful as Switzerland, then we haven't really won.
A little perspective is in order here. The French, after their liberation in 1944, took a cruel revenge on many of those who had collaborated with the Nazis who had occupied their country for just four years. It would be unnatural if Iraqis were not bent on revenge against those who had oppressed them for three decades. It is hard to be overly troubled by the sight of Iraqis looting the homes and offices of leading Baathists. Why shouldn't the people take back a few of the regime's ill-gotten gains? To add a touch of poetic justice, Iraqis also cleaned out the German embassy and the French cultural center in east Baghdad, well aware that Germany and France tried to block their liberation.
Historical perspective? To a lot of these guys, talk about the 2002 elections counts as "historical perspective."