Fearless Dream

reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Month: September 2007 (page 2 of 2)

Iraq News: The Good and The Bad

Independent journalist Michael Totten posted another of his exemplary reports from Iraq a few days ago, on the state of things in Ramadi in particular and Anbar province in general — well worth reading in its entirety to get a more detailed insight into the situation there than most of the news outlets provide.

Sadly, we just today lost Sahawa al Anbar leader Sheikh Sattar, who, as Michael described in his most recent dispatch, has been a key figure in helping to drive al Qaeda fighters out of Anbar and pacify the region:

Nineteen Arab tribes led by sheikhs live in Anbar Province. In June of 2006, nine of those tribal sheikhs cooperated with the Americans, three were neutral, and seven were hostile.

In October of last year the tribal leaders in the province, including some who previously were against the Americans, formed a movement to reject the savagery Al Qaeda had brought to their region. Some of them were supremely unhappy with the American presence since fighting exploded in the province’s second largest city of Fallujah, but Al Qaeda proved to be even more sinister from their point of view. Al Qaeda did not come as advertised. They were militarily incapable of expelling the American Army and Marines. And they were worse oppressors than even Saddam Hussein. The leaders of Anbar Province saw little choice but to openly declare them enemies and do whatever it took to expunge them. They called their new movement Sahawa al Anbar, or the Anbar Awakening.

Sheikh Sattar is its leader. Al Qaeda murdered his father and three of his brothers and he was not going to put up with them any longer. None of the sheikhs were willing to put up with them any longer. By April of 2007, every single tribal leader in all of Anbar was cooperating with the Americans.

The remaining Sahawa al Anbar leadership vows to fight on, as well they should, but this is certainly a tragic loss of a man who was making a positive difference in Anbar.

9/11, Six Years On

I’ll be at work today, but will try to follow events in the blogosphere and post links here when I can.

Looking back on my 2006 and 2005 memorial posts, I’m struck by how little seems to have changed in my perception of our general mood, the challenges we face, and the shape we’re in. I hold out hope that things will improve (what can I say, I’m an optimist), but I regret to say it doesn’t seem likely that the situation will change anytime soon.

September 11, 2001 – We must not forget.

Via Instapundit, Jonah Goldberg on 9/11, Six Years Later:

If I had said in late 2001, with bodies still being pulled from the wreckage, anthrax flying through the mail, pandemonium reigning at the airports, and bombs falling on Kabul, that by ‘07 leading Democrats would be ridiculing the idea of the war on terror as a bumper sticker, I’d have been thought mad. If I’d predicted that a third of Democrats would be telling pollsters that Bush knew in advance about 9/11, and that the eleventh of September would become an innocuous date for parental get-togethers to talk about potty-training strategies and phonics for preschoolers, people would have thought I was crazy.

But it’s important to remember that from the outset, the media took it as their sworn duty to keep Americans from getting too riled up about 9/11. I wrote a column about it back in March of 2002. Back then the news networks especially saw it as imperative that we not let our outrage get out of hand. I can understand the sentiment, but it’s worth noting that such sentiments vanished entirely during hurricane Katrina. After 9/11, the press withheld objectively accurate and factual images from the public, lest the rubes get too riled up. After Katrina, the press endlessly recycled inaccurate and exaggerated information in order to keep everyone upset. The difference speaks volumes.

There are plenty of arguments one can have about the Iraq war and the uses and abuses of 9/11, but I think what a lot of people fail to realize is that the disagreements over the Iraq war are expressions of divisions that long predate it. The culture war, red vs. blue America, Bush hatred, Clinton hatred, and radical anti-Americanism poisoning much of the campus Left: All of these things were tangible landmarks on the political landscape long before the invasion of Iraq.

It has certainly seemed that way to me.

Also, David Rusin at Pajamas Media asserts that we should not only remember 9/11, but remain [constructively] angry about the events of that day and their aftermath.

Victor Davis Hanson:

It’s been nearly six long years since a catastrophic attack on our shores, and we’ve understandably turned to infighting and second-guessing — about everything from Guantanamo to wiretaps.

But this six-year calm, unfortunately, has allowed some Americans to believe that “our war on terror” remedy is worse than the original Islamic terrorist disease.

We see this self-recrimination reflected in our current Hollywood fare, which dwells on the evil of American interventions overseas, largely ignoring the courage of our soldiers or the atrocities committed by jihadists. Our tell-all bestsellers, endless lawsuits and congressional investigations have deflected our 9/11-era furor away from the terrorists to ourselves.

Reflections on the anniversary at neo-neocon:

I was hardly alone in thinking that some sort of permanent change towards greater unity had occurred. Everyone, Republican and Democrat, seemed somber and serious, interested in fighting this evil that had existed for many years but seemed newly competent in its ability to inflict harm, and far more viciously hate-filled than had ever before been appreciated.

Gerard Vanderleun—writing shortly after the shattering and powerful experience of watching the towers fall from a close vantage point as he stood amidst the crowd that had gathered on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade—expected change as well, that Americans would be filled hereafter with “a terrible resolve” and a unity of purpose, as in WWII. And this thought was shared by many, including me.

Perhaps, as Norman Podhoretz writes in this new piece on the sixth 9/11 anniversary, it might finally be the end of widespread America-hating on the Left, and the defeat of the “Vietnam syndrome.” He himself hoped for it. But he also knew the Left very well, far better than I:

On the one hand, those who thought that we had brought 9/11 down on ourselves and had it coming were in a very tiny minority–even tinier than the antiwar movement of the early ’60s. On the other hand, they were much stronger at a comparably early stage of the game than their counterparts of the ’60s (who in some cases were their own younger selves). The reason was that, as the Vietnam War ground inconclusively on, the institutions that shape our culture were one by one and bit by bit converting to the “faith in America the ugly.” By now, indeed, in the world of the arts, in the universities, in the major media of news and entertainment, and even in some of the mainstream churches, that faith had become the regnant orthodoxy.

But even Podhoretz didn’t foresee how quickly they would regroup, how strong they would get, and how closely they’d follow the Vietnam template of the 70s. In fact, the only thing that seems to have prevented a repeat of those years (at least, so far) is the fact that the antiwar group lacks enough votes in Congress to override a Presidential veto.

A stirring remembrance at Cox and Forkum

9/11 memorial video [alternate link]

Remember. Always.

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