Jewish World Review March 26, 2003 / 22 Adar II, 5763
Carping pessimism of TV anchors and interviewers fails to give Americans a sense of defeatism
Right before the Midterm elections, the conventional wisdom, driven by
the liberal media which shapes it, was that Americans had moved past
terrorism, the area of Bush's strength and were more worried about economic
issues, the Democrats' turf.
The media proved to be wrong. The election results showed that Americans
were still focused on 9-11and the war on terror and still wanted Bush to
us through the crisis, this time with a compliant Congress at his back.
Now, negativism hits us again - through the same agency: overwrought and
liberal news anchors. Anyone watching television coverage of the war cannot
but be astonished at the carping pessimism of many of the anchors and
interviewers on all the networks and cable stations. Astounded that we are
taking casualties, horrified that we have lost prisoners, amazed that we
ground fire, they radiate what used to be called defeatism.
But it is not a defeatism or even an impatience shared by the American
people. Mourning each casualty, they realize that our military will have to
lose valiant men and courageous women. Regretting each POW, they understand
that Americans will be captured. Praying for our soldiers' lives, they
that some will die.
But Americans are also relieved that the horror stories painted by the
liberal media in the days before the war have not come to pass. Iraq's oil
fields are overwhelmingly not ablaze. Nor are millions of barrels of oil
spilling into the Gulf creating a global ecological disaster. Our troops
have, thus far, not faced chemical or biological weapons. We have found a
massive 100 acre chemical weapons plant. We have shot down the SCUD
And, above all, we have not been hit with the domestic acts of terrorism
of which the more hysterical critics - and, indeed, our own government -
We are advancing on Baghdad and reducing the circle of land Saddam controls
to a tiny portion of his country, a portion without oil, without resources,
and with only mouths to feed.
In the remainder of the war, our biggest adversary is likely to be our
own humanitarianism and the political atmosphere that surrounds the war.
Saddam's troops are obviously planning to withdraw into Baghdad and use the
population there as human shields for their dying grasp on power.
We cannot permit our concern with Iraqi civilian casualties to lead to
American combat deaths. Unless and until we convince the Iraqi military
they cannot hide behind women and children, we will needlessly expose our
soldiers to risk and casualties.
The American people must be prepared to let our military call Saddam's
bluff and do what is necessary to take Baghdad without having to engage in
the hand-to-hand, street-by-street fighting that will grind up American
lives. If civilian casualties occur, it is to be regretted. But war is
messy and the actions of the Iraqi military in taking shelter behind the
innocents leaves us with no choice.
Will American casualties and POWs erode public support for the war? Not
in this life they won't. The reports of torture and interrogation of US
in violation of international agreements, the sale of military equipment to
Iraq by Russia, the discovery of chemical weapons plants, and the trickery
Iraqi units pretending to surrender taking advantage of American good will
all simply serve to enrage our people and redouble their determination. The
more we see of the Iraqi tactics the more we realize how brutal and inhuman
are their leaders and the more focused we are on destroying this corrupt
The American people will not soon tire of this war. Just as they
focused on the war on terror in the Midterm elections, they will remain with
our efforts now. Americans are in this for the long, long haul. They made
that commitment on 9-11 and they are not backing down now.
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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, "Power Plays: Top 20 Winning and Losing Strategies of History's Great Political Leaders" Comment by clicking here.
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© 2002, Dick Morris