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Jason Holliston
Wednesday, June 02, 2004  
Hanson Is On The New Republic

I don't believe that Victor Davis Hanson has written for TNR before, but I could easily be incorrect. It's great that he is, though -- more Hanson is always a good thing. He is always right on target, as amazing as that is.

His essay, up on TNR yesterday, deals with something I've been watching lately -- the apparent hesitancy our commanders have been displaying as of late when dealing with the Sadr militia and the Baathist thugs running around the Sunni Triangle. I keep hearing about these "deals" that negotiators are making with Sadr, and how they keep breaking down (big surprise). Well, Hanson does an amazing job of explaining exactly why these deals -- and our hesitancy to use overwhelming force in general -- has a large negative effect upon our efforts to institute a sea change in Middle East culture. It's very convincing, to me at least:

In our current postmodern world, we tend to deprecate the efficacy of arms, trusting instead that wise and reasonable people can adjudicate the situation on the ground according to Enlightenment principles of diplomacy and reason. But thugs like Moqtada Al Sadr's Mahdi Army and Saddam Hussein's remnant killers beg to differ. They may eventually submit to a fair and honest brokered peace--but only when the alternative is an Abrams tank or Cobra gunship, rather than a stern rebuke from L. Paul Bremer. More important, neutrals and well-meaning moderates in Iraq often put their ideological preferences on hold as they wait to see who will, in fact, win. The promise of consensual government, gender equality, and the rule of law may indeed save the Iraqi people and improve our own security--but only when those who wish none of it learn that trying to stop it will get them killed.

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