RAGE, PRIDE, AND DOUBT:

This piece in the WSJ is quite powerful. A representative quotation:

this war should not happen now. If just as I wish, legitimate as I hope, it should have happened one year ago. That is, when the ruins of the Towers were still smoking and the whole civilized world felt American. Had it happened then, the pacifists who never yell against Saddam or bin Laden would not today fill the squares to anathematize the United States. Hollywood stars would not play the role of Messiahs, and ambiguous Turkey would not cynically deny passage to the Marines who have to reach the Northern front. Despite the Europeans who added their voice to the voice of the Palestinians howling “Americans-got-it-good,” one year ago nobody questioned that another Pearl Harbor had been inflicted on the U.S. and that the U.S. had all the right to respond. As a matter of fact, it should have happened before. I mean when Bill Clinton was president, and small Pearl Harbors were bursting abroad. In Somalia, in Kenya, in Yemen. As I shall never tire of repeating, we did not need September 11 to see that the cancer was there. September 11 was the excruciating confirmation of a reality which had been burning for decades, the indisputable diagnosis of a doctor who waves an X-ray and brutally snaps: “My dear Sir, you have cancer.” Had Mr. Clinton spent less time with voluptuous girls, had he made smarter use of the Oval Office, maybe September 11 would not have occurred. And, needless to say, even less would it have occurred if the first George Bush had removed Saddam with the Gulf War. For Christ’s sake, in 1991 the Iraqi army deflated like a pricked balloon. It disintegrated so quickly, so easily, that even I captured four of its soldiers. I was behind a dune in the Saudi desert, all alone. Four skeletal creatures in ragged uniforms came toward me with arms raised, and whispered: “Bush, Bush.” Meaning: “Please take me prisoner. I am so thirsty, so hungry.” So I took them prisoner. I delivered them to the Marine in charge, and instead of congratulating me he grumbled: “Dammit! Some more?!?” Yet the Americans did not get to Baghdad, did not remove Saddam. And, to thank them, Saddam tried to kill their president. The same president who had left him in power. In fact, at times I wonder if this war isn’t also a long-awaited retaliation, a filial revenge, a promise made by the son to the father. Like in a Shakespearean tragedy. Better, a Greek one.

Indeed. Read it all.

(As an added bonus, I have to admit, I find the name “Oriani Fallaci” more amusing than I should.)

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.