Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Take note:
Written by: Beck

One of the best, if understated (and underrated) conservative writers is John O'Sullivan. He belongs to a different era--a time when people stated their opinions baldly, yet civilly (is that a word?), and took more offense at dishonesty than candor. Or maybe I'm just making stuff up because the picture of him on NRO invokes impressions of a be-wigged British Magistrate from a century ago. Regardless, his most recent article is a masterstroke of stating the obvious in ways people are too scared to see, and it bears reprinting anywhere that anti-idiotarians gather.

Voluminous excerpts follow:
When the late shah of Iran was asked why he did not imitate the Swedish monarchy, he responded: "I will act like the king of Sweden when my subjects behave like Swedes." In the end the shah was persuaded by President Jimmy Carter to act like the king of Sweden--whereupon he ceased to be a king of any kind.
Ah, something so uncommon to American punditry today--knowledge and appreciation of history. But I digress.
Yet the main explanation of these continuing atrocities may be that since its victory in the Iraq war a year ago, the U.S. has been so paralyzed by the fear of "over-reacting" that it has actually invited resistance. In a word, the problem in Iraq is that our Iraqi enemies are not sufficiently afraid of us.
I love it any time someone is willing to say that which people are afraid of admitting to, no matter how self-evident. Be honest with yourself. Do you not agree that Iraqis aren't as intimidated of the potential for American reprisal as they should be? This lack of fear inspired Hussein's defiance in the first place. We showed our fortitude in the initial invasion of Iraq--frankly shocking a world which had come to assume that America was all talk and no walk. Upon our arrival in Baghdad, however, we promptly reverted to our previous role of imitating Lenny from Of Mice and Men--a gentle giant who didn't want to hurt the bunny but occasionally squeezed too hard. But pardon me for rambling (and for beginning a sentence with a conjunction). O'Sullivan has better things to say:
1. In the days immediately after the fall of Baghdad, the U.S. failed to shoot looters. Maybe the military authorities thought such a heavy-handed response would alienate Iraqis. Yet the prestige of U.S. troops was so high in the aftermath of their lightning victory that two or three shootings would probably have quelled almost all challenges to law and order...

2. No enemies of the U.S.--or of ordinary Iraqis--have been tried, convicted, and executed. When captured, they simply vanish into detention...

3. Until this week, when the "uprising" of extreme Shiite followers of Moqtada Sadr forced action, the U.S. has failed to disarm and disband private armies in Iraq...
It was challenging for me to chop O'Sullivan's points down to such brief excerpts. I didn't especially want to, but in the interest of being concise, I felt I had to. Go read the article to get the entire feel for this especially clear-minded consideration of how an occupational army SHOULD behave.

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John Beck

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