Jewish World Review May 17, 2011 / 14 Iyar, 5771
Give Victory a Chance
By Paul Greenberg
One of the speakers, the university's director of international studies, said the SEALs' signal achievement vindicated this country's counter-terrorism strategy. No arguing with that. But then he had to add that the highly effective commando raid illustrated -- by contrast -- how costly and ineffective the whole war in
Where does our foreign-policy expert think the choppers carrying these SEALs came from -- Mars?
Not likely. They were said to have trained repeatedly on a detailed mock-up of their objective till they got their trial run down to a brisk 30 minutes. (The actual raid took 38 -- from start to successful finish.) This all took place, according to news reports, at safe, secure
That huge complex, fortress and staging area is only a hop, skip and stop (at Jalalabad, also in
It's hard to imagine such a raid or, for that matter, the whole war against al-Qaida and its Taliban hosts and various allies, without American forces having first freed
But there are many who are now ready to proclaim Mission Accomplished in
Not till the last president gave up on the Rumsfeldian fantasy of fighting a war on the cheap did the tide turn in
Yet there are those who, now that
Among them is
"The common-sense response to this hell hole is for the U.S. and
Such counsel proves only that isolationism is alive and well in American politics, as it usually is.
Why not? The isolationist impulse is part of our national psyche. After all, Americans became Americans to get away from age-old quarrels, not be dragged into them.
Isolationism always did offer the simplest solutions to the most complex questions, usually consisting of: Get Out. Or maybe just Never Get In. Mr. Gelb's air of easy assurance in all things military, political and diplomatic is in the finest isolationist tradition. Its reflexive response to any and all foreign threats never ceases to impress. Unfavorably.
"Only last fall did we finally surge to 100,000 American troops, along with 40,000 allied ones. For the first time, that gave us the capability to 'clear, hold and build.' … But the gains achieved so far are tenuous and reversible. The Taliban are back on the offensive. It is vital to stick to the strategy
Americans certainly do not seek an empire, but we have inherited imperial responsibilities by default in a world where
No matter how appealing isolationism's siren song in the midst of a long and bitter conflict, it isn't much of a defense. Hoping for the best and crawling into our shell is a perfectly understandable reaction to a dangerous world. It's just not a very effective one.
Why not give victory a chance?
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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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