Everything Is Going Well

Everyone who believes that this war is not going well is ignoring objective realities. We are at the gates of Baghdad, which means that according to strict military criteria, this war is so far going very well. The problem is that we live in times of 24-hour news coverage, which creates enormous pressure for the media to constantly deliver new information. As a result, after two or three days the viewers, the reporters and even the commentators get bored with just one topic. Think of it this way: Reporters are like small children sitting in the back seat of the car on a road trip with their parents; their constant refrain: when will we get there, are we there yet, why aren't we there yet?

Every war presents the same phenomenon. Everything is fine on the first day, but as the days pass and we do not win instantaneously, people start to search for holes in the entire structure. We had the same experience during the Balkan war, in Afghanistan and even during the first war in the Persian Gulf. The mood would swing from optimism, to pessimism to resignation and then back to optimism. Those swings, however, do not have much to do with reality.

Regarding the question of predictions on the length of the war, those who foretold a quick end to the war are now coming in for a great deal of criticism. Let us recall that there are two kinds of fools: Those who predicted the precise duration of the war, and those who now criticize them.

This war will end when it ends. In some European and Arab countries it is willingly forgotten that the Americans and their allies are taking unprecedented care to minimize Iraqi civilian casualties. The most important thing for the world to understand is that Saddam Hussein would have long been dead by now had the United States been willing to use Iraqi tactics to prevail.

Danielle Pletka is vice president for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at AEI.

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