As I mentioned earlier, my primary intention when joining LGF was to find a place where I could debate the validity and reasonableness of the Iraq war and Bush’s role in the matter. I found out early on that my views on the subject represented a tiny minority of registered LGFers. This was a situation that I was hoping for, since I was looking for something a little more challenging than the relatively friendly confines of fearbush.com. So, debate I did, and it was good.
As the war dragged on a while longer, however, I noticed that there were fewer and fewer threads on the subject. Why? I don’t know for sure. I can only offer conjecture…
I think that LGF was like a lot of war blogs in that the support for the war from the beginning stemmed not from the idea that Saddam posed a tactical threat to the US or that the Iraqi people deserve to be liberated. The underlying justification was much less cerebral, i.e. we were attacked on 9/11 by Arabs, and the appropriate response was to kick some Arab ass. Or, according to Mr. Johnson:
In the Arab/Islamic shame-honor mindset, this is interpreted as weakness — and it was. It was that perceived weakness that was directly responsible for 9/11. The only way to rectify this is to demonstrate superior force; and that’s what President Bush did after 9/11, smashing the Taliban and dethroning Saddam Hussein.
So, in the run-up to the invasion, blogs like LGF would routinely run with the theme that pro-war views were appropriate and anti-war views were “weak” (usually delivered in the form of mocking protesters). We invaded, and as the war progressed (from the “kicking ass” phase of “shock and awe”, to rounding up the Baathists and capturing Saddam, to facilitating elections and helping the Iraqis establish a government, to training defense forces and attempt to build infrastructure), the mission began to look less and less like the one that the warbloggers originally advocated. So, they’ve shifted the rationale a bit so that we’re now “kicking ass” on al Qaeda, and they’ll occasionally post a thread when something significant happens on that front. Eventually, however, one begins to look a little silly when there’s a celebration for the umpteenth killing of AQ’s “#2” guy. That might mean that there’s less to talk about overall. Again, just conjecture.
These days, the mission that our troops are engaged in primarily involves counterinsurgency operations and facilitating the diplomats’ efforts in bringing about some sort of political stability. Now, if you read anything about effective counterinsurgency tactics or diplomacy, you’d see that it has a lot less to do with “kicking ass”, and a lot more to do with building alliances, gaining the trust of the population, observing cultural sensitivities, etc. Gaining trust and observing the cultural sensitivities of Arabs is something that appears to be the polar opposite of what’s going on at LGF.
So, here you have warbloggers who continue to claim that they support the troops and their mission, all the while repeating the “us against Islam” meme that the State Dept. and the commanders on the ground are desperately trying to discredit. The cognitive dissonance that results when they post things like Michael Totten’s report that our troops are winning the hearts and minds of the residents of Anbar makes my head hurt. I mean, the realization that this kind of success wasn’t made possible by advocating Koran dunk-athons or mocking the Muslim’s dislike of pork products is still outside the grasp of most of them, but occasionally a lizard will post something especially profound…
#117 Pro-Bush Canuck
One look at the people in Totten’s essay is enough to remind us that not every person who happened to be born into Islam is our enemy.
We have two enemies: Islamists and the Left. Al Qaeda appears to be much more evil, but if I had to choose I would definitely say that the Left is the more evil force in the greater scheme of things. Al Qaeda can be defeated; the Left is like a cancer, and will be a life or death battle for us for many decades to come, long after Islamism has subsided.
(the “reminder” scored a modest +4 on the rate-my-post-o-meter, however)
It all kinda gives one the impression that they don’t really know what we’re doing there (or why) any more than anyone else does. For the most part, they seem to follow whatever the administration talking point of the week happens to be, just with their own twist. If you ask me, it takes some pretty stellar mental gymnastics to make that work. But, like the general Weekly Standard-ish crowd, it doesn’t seem to bother them that these people we’re fighting really weren’t a threat to us before we invaded, and that most have only taken up arms because we’re there. It’s much simpler just think of them all as the 20th hijacker, of course.
The 2 Faces Of LGF