A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Taken in context. . .

Andrew Sullivan gives the President some credit for his accomplishments in Afghanistan, but it's only a brief flirtation, and seems to have a tone of dismissal about it.

"QUOTE FOR THE DAY: 'In the whole history of Afghanistan this is the first time we come and choose our leader in democratic process and free condition. I feel very proud and I feel very happy,' - an Afghan voter yesterday. Whatever else you feel about president Bush's war leadership, this amazing event is a result of his policies, and belongs to his legacy. More important, of course, it gives this Islamic nation a taste of what the future can bring. Forget the nit-picking. This is a huge step forward in the war."

For some reason, when I read that paragraph, the narrative quality reads it in a manner similar to the way I would say, "Yeah, Bruce Springsteen is a raving pinko, but 'Born to Run' is a pretty good song."

If Andrew is willing to extend credit for this accomplishment in the broader War on Terrorism, I can't understand why he seems less willing to put what he sees as an utter disaster in Iraq in the same context. The President has already accomplished something in Afghanistan that many thought utterly inconceivable. Many on the left will lend no weight to that fact, and no one really expects them to. They're signed, sealed and delivered for anyone with a slight chance of defeating George Bush.

But, Andrew seems to minimize that accomplishment when he considers the broader war -- as if what he sees as an utter failure in Iraq is occurring within a vacuum. If I'm reading Andrew correctly lately, the pace of liberation in Iraq is indicative of profound incompetence. At the same time, if I read the above quoted paragraph without irony, I have to come to the conclusion that Andrew believes that what has been accomplished in Afghanistan is indicative of an administration capable of amazing, historic achievements in the advancement of humanity.

Andrew's disdain with regard to the President's wartime leadership seems not so much to disregard the positive achivements, but rather minimize them in the broader context. And so much rests on the ability to focus on the broader context of the war that I cannot begin to fathom casting a vote for John Kerry, given his historic hostility to defense and intelligence issues.

And John Kerry himself has said that terrorism is priority number one. And, I think he believes what he said. Where I part company with John Kerry is (among other things) on the basis of just how much bigger a priority it is in comparison to all the others. John Kerry seems to believe that it's a priority only to the degree that it doesn't generate international hostility. George Bush's record, to me at least, shows a man who is willing to take an aggressive stance on terrorists and the nations who abet them. He's also willing to accept the international popularity consequences of moving rapidly and risking mistakes, rather than allow a known threat to fester.

Another thing that annoys Andrew is the President's refusal to admit mistakes. Of course, when I read this objection, it sounds like a schoolyard taunt. You know, "Oh yeah? Well, if you're not wearing pink underwear, prove it!" If you ignore the taunt, a few jerks are going to say, "See! We told you he was wearing pink underwear!" If you decide to take the bait, everybody looks and says, "Oh my God! He's standing there in his underwear!"

And the strange thing is, just about everyone else is wearing underwear, and it just might be one of the guys doing the taunting who's wearing the pink ones. So, you're left standing before gaping eyes and pointing fingers for being more honest about being human, while the real pink undie wearer yuks it up with the crowd.

President Bush has already demonstrated "amazing" world leadership, according to Andrew. When has John Kerry demonstrated leadership of any kind, let alone "amazing"? If the war on terror is as big a priority as Senator Kerry says it is, the only conclusion is George Bush.

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