Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A Letter to Andrew Sullivan

I recently sent this letter to Andrew Sullivan (not sure why I read him anymore, curiosity perhaps?):

Andrew,

And you voted for/endorsed this guy for commander in chief?

Re: Your Iraq post.

How convenient for you now to admit you were wrong. While you were busy "fearing the worst," George W. Bush, his commanders in the field, our troops, and the Iraqi people never stopped believing that the outcome we are seeing now - genuine progress - could have been "stymied by wrong decisions." I'd also throw in 59 million Americans who felt the same way. For all the criticisms you made about how hopeless Iraq was, you could never convince me all was lost (the guys at IraqTheModel gave me some perspective, a website you never seem to link to anymore; to pro-Bush, right?).

Mistakes were made, and we learned from them pretty damn quickly. Bush may have not admitted so publicly, but the progress in Iraq today is proof positive that Bush learned from those mistakes and made the necessary adjustments. There was no other choice! (not going into Fallujah last April being the case 1 example.) If you feel a public acknowledgment of those mistakes by Bush would have made everything better for you, would have reassured you that Bush's supposed hubris was actually a determined, yet realistic, focus, based upon a deep faith in his generals and GI's, to rewrite the wrongs made, then you, sir, do not know what a true leader is. After all he did stake his presidency on the whole enterprise.

A leader is someone not to wallow in his mistakes, consumed by guilt of the consequences of those mistakes (i.e., 19 year old GIs getting RPGs shot through their chests). A leader does not quiver in the face of opportunistic politicians and agenda-driven reporters (both, btw, who are still stuck in that warped Vietnam syndrome) pleading for his mea culpa. How do you think Zarqawi would have taken the news that Bush admitted he messed it all up? Funny how Zarqawi, in his "memo" that circulated around last fall, admitted he was on the ropes.

Were we ever on the ropes? I don't think so. Our soldiers sure as hell didn't think so. You certainly did. How ironic. So if Bush was going to give in to the media and a politician that, let's be honest, were not genuinely concerned with a positive outcome in Iraq simply because their Bush-hatred superceded everything, how do you think our soldiers would have taken that? You can bet the New York Times would be all over the GIs, hounding them for their response to the president's admittance that Iraq was "botched." It would have made their job impossible because their commander in chief now had some doubts about the mission. The soldiers knows things may not have gone smoothly, but that's why they are the finest fighting force humanity has ever seen. They can adjust, adapt, learn on the fly, and come back kick your ass so hard you're already dead before your heart stops beating. Those warriors were the same ones building schools, delivering Iraqi babies in helicopters, training Iraqi police, and organizing basic civics classes for Iraqis - all the while you were convincing yourself the mission was botched.

My point is this: how can things be looking so (cautiously) positive right now when, in all your "thorough" analyses and assessments, you came to the conclusion that the decisions President Bush made in post-war Iraq warranted your endorsement of that "pathetic vulture," who is now trying to score political points by exploiting fallen soldiers, Senator John Kerry. That man's post-election behavior, first on Meet the Press, the day Iraqis were going to the polls in the face of Zarqawi's threats, and now this, is utterly sick. And not a peep from you.

Instead of holding our would-be president accountable (who still hasn't released his 180 forms yet), you say, let's be that contrarian and rip the pope - another man with rock solid principles. You seem to like to go after those people with conviction without acknowledging the fact that their humanity permits them NOT to be perfect (you actually believe the pope - not those cardinals surrounding him - is that power-hungry to ignore the pedophilia in his church?). I say, let God judge those sinners who show no remorse for their transgressions. President Bush and John Paul II, I think you would agree, are the kind of men who are humble enough to ask for forgiveness for their wrongs. Despite their failures and shortcomings, they seek only to learn from their faults and be a better commander in chief and a more holy sheperd of his flock, respectively. And this is why they are the true leaders of our time.

UPDATE.

The Wall Street Journal has some similar thoughts re: Iraq.

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