August 6, 2006

Yet Another "18½ Minute Gap"

Hatched by Dafydd

Way Back on May 30th, 2005, I posted on Patterico's Pontifications an article titled The 18½ Minute Gap, which I subsequently reposted here on Big Lizards a year later as a "Scaley Classic."

This was the central conceit of that post:

It does little good to point out what nobody now denies: that Hussein had many ongoing programs to develop such chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; they just weren't as advanced as we were afraid they were. Given how little intelligence we had about that secretive country, the choice was to trust in Saddam Hussein's restraint and good judgment, or trust in the United States military. "You should have just waited a few more months," the lib invariably intones; "maybe a year. Then we would have known for sure."

In other words, they wanted us to wait until two minutes to midnight. Then we could have moved... unless it turned out our watch was slow.... [Emphasis added, as the BL style has changed in the last year and a quarter.]

Had we waited just a few more months -- waited until two minutes before midnight -- even more high officials in Security-Council governments would have been corrupted; it's entirely possible that, in the end, even Britain would have bowed to international pressure and pulled out of the Operation Iraqi Freedom. Would we still have gone to war, then? I don't think anyone can really say for sure.

So the Left is actually right, for a change: we miserably failed to wait until two minutes to midnight to strike against the tyrant. We struck at twenty till, instead. Maybe even twenty and a half minutes before the witching hour.

Which would make it the second time in history that an 18½ minute gap saved the presidency... and this time, possibly the entire Global War on Terrorism as well.

The surreal argument advanced by Democrats -- now including nearly all of them, other than the soon to be unemployed Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT, 80%) -- is that we should have waited until the last, possible moment before the invasion window closed, just on the off chance that it was all a terrible mistake: that there were no WMD programs, that Saddam Hussein was really a nice guy, and all things black and ugly we thought we knew about him were just lies, spread by his competitors.

And indeed, the Left seized upon as vindication the supposed "failure" to find WMD, which was actually a deliberate decision by the CIA -- which had always opposed the invasion -- to refuse to label as "WMD" any program, device, chemical, or biological sample that had any conceivable non-war purpose, no matter how implausible or even ludicrous.

Thus, 55-gallon drums of Cyclosarin sitting in camouflaged bunkers near empty chemical rocket shells were not chemical-warfare tools; perhaps the Iraqis were simply obsessed with having aphid-free ammo dumps.

And those mobile labs that were described so accurately by Iraqi defectors who had worked on them, and who also described their use in developing chemical and biological munitions, were dismissed by the CIA as "mobile hydrogen-production factilities"... despite the fact that Iraq, being an oil-drililng and refining country, would routinely make tens of thousands of liters of hydrogen commercially and store it in tanks that were a fraction of the weight of those labs -- and of course were already ready for use.

Perhaps, on the very eve of the Coalition invasion, Saddam Hussein was simply focused like a laser beam on protecting Iraq's critical supply of weather balloons.

Rather than acting with alacrity in invading that country when we were pretty sure -- as we are now, especially with the wealth of new finds of the progress of creating WMD and the possible stockpiles moved to Syria -- the Left wanted us to wait until we could prove that Hussein was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. (In fact, it was more like what Patterico wants the standard to be in death-penalty cases: "guilty beyond all possible doubt.")

As this standard would have put the possibility of military action forever out of range under any circumstances, since intelligence gathering is never as certain as all that, accepting it amounts to saying that no matter how serious the threat to the United States, we can never go to war -- even if the bad guys attack us first -- so long as they refuse to admit it was they.

I called that the 18½ Minute Gap; and now we have another example: the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in pursuit of Hezbollah.

As it turns out, Israel (along with most of the rest of us, certainly including myself) thought they dominated that terrorist group so completely that the war would be quick and decisive. And perhaps it would have been, had Israel attacked with the seriousness of purpose of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982 (their last invasion of Lebanon, against Yassir Arafat's PLO, in which Manachem Begin used nine divisions and 800 tanks)... rather than the limp-wristed response of Ehud Barak in 2000: Barak jerked the troops out of Lebanon in such a panicky way that he simulated a rout following a military defeat, which had never actually happened.

For whatever reason, Israel has now discovered that Hezbollah is far stronger than anyone imagined; and the victories Israel has achieved -- and there are several important ones -- are neither decisive nor persuasive. Contrariwise, Israel is in the process of inadvertently convincing the Arab that Israel is a paper camel who can be defeated.

Democrats are triumphant: the hated Zionist entity is being battered, giving leftists the enormous satisfaction of a great, big, fat, wet I told you so! The Left wags its finger in Israel's face, like Mom after you almost shoot your eye out with that BB-gun you finally got, and says, in essence, see? look at all the trouble you bought for yourself by refusing to listen to us... you should have left well enough alone.

But this argument boils down to the question of what is "well enough." Had Israel simply done nothing -- or worked through the "international diplomatic community," which amounts to the same thing -- would they really have been better off than they are right at this very moment?

I say no, they would have been far worse off... even if they end up losing this war. To imagine they'd have been better off, a Democrat must think that this war was avoidable, that it need never have happened. That if Israel hadn't attacked Hezbollah and just suffered the missiles and kidnappings in stoic silence, they would have so impressed the terrorists with their sang froid that the latter would have written a letter like the one Sean Connery (Mulay Achmed Mohammed el-Raisuli the Magnificent, Lord of the Riff, Sultan to the Berbers, Last of the Barbary Pirates) wrote to Brian Keith (Teddy Roosevelt), telling TR that he was the wind to the Raisuli's lion), then bow out of any future conflict with Israel.

But that is errant nonsense. Hezbollah, the "Party of God," believes it has a holy mission to annihilate the Jews. Hezbollah is not a stand-alone terrorist group; in reality, it is nothing less than the third branch of Iran's armed forces -- their forward-deployed special-operations unit. Both Hezbollah and Iran are singing from the same hymnal (er... perhaps I could have chosen a better expression) anent the obliteration of Israel and driving the Jews into the Mediterranean.

Nor are they slackers or fulyaks about it: Iran's frantic effort to develop nuclear warheads for their intermediate-range ballistic missiles raises at least the strong possibility that the purpose of their soon-to-be nukes is not simply to "extort" the rest of the world, but also to set in motion the holocaust that will bring the advent of the "Twelfth imam," Muhammad al-Mahdi, whom Shi'a believe has been hidden from the world by God and will reappear at the end of the reign of the tyrants (non-Moslems), forcing (Shiite) Islam upon the entire world as the global religion.

And Hezbollah's pace of attack on Israel has grown steadily year after year since the 2000 pullout from Lebanon; there is no reason to believe they would abruptly stop or even level off.

The greatest probability is that this war was actually inevitable, not "evitable;" and that if the Israelis hadn't forced it now, the other side would have forced it later... at a time and place and in a manner of their own choosing, when they were even stronger, relative to Israel, than they are today.

Thank God the Israelis responded to Hezbollah's provocation by launching even the limited war that they did at 20 minutes to midnight; because if they had waited until two minutes to midnight, as the Left demanded they should have -- or even two minutes after midnight, as the Left actually believes -- then as bad as it is right now, it would have been a hundred times worse.

In their hearts, I believe most Democrats, liberals, and lefties know this; which means it's not an argument about the means, when and how Israel should have struck, but rather about the end itself: who wins? The Left collectively wants the jihadist savages to win and hated Western civilization to lose.

As to why they want that... well, that's a psychodrama for another day.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 6, 2006, at the time of 1:50 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Terrye

Israel is not losing the war. The fact that there are still Hezbellah alive in Lebanon does not mean they are losing. The Democrats don't know what they want.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 6, 2006 3:01 PM

The following hissed in response by: Papa Ray

Interesting, timly and brings this article to mind: War without End

For anyone who wants a shoebox size refresher on Islam's history and intent,the above is very good.

Except that the guy that wrote it, doesn't get it, like most of those history type guys, except maybe VDH. You can tell, by the pitiful closing words in his otherwise excellent article.

You all know what you can expect if you hope in one hand and do whatever with the other....

Hope is of no use agains Islam, just as a liberal vapor of please kill me last against cold, sharp steel or a bomb filled with unimaginables.

Until this Republic is again attacked, I'm afraid that all the history lessons in the world, or terrible pictures from the ME will not wake up the American rage that is needed to destroy this cult of unimaginable deception and destruction.

If the next attack is not enough to steel all of America's people to what must be done, I forsee a giant split in the population and possibly the government of this Republic.

Because there are thousands of us who do know what must be done, without regard to rules or laws.

Papa Ray
West Texas

The above hissed in response by: Papa Ray [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 6, 2006 5:32 PM

The following hissed in response by: Rovin

Until this Republic is again attacked, I'm afraid that all the history lessons in the world, or terrible pictures from the ME will not wake up the American rage that is needed to destroy this cult of unimaginable deception and destruction.

As sad as this quote is Papa Ray, I fear it is the truth we may have to bear.

Why almost half of this country refuses to see the plans of our demise by this idiolgy that is determined to destroy us.....for the sake of winning political power is beyond comprehension.

The above hissed in response by: Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 6, 2006 5:47 PM

The following hissed in response by: ag1

...And perhaps it would have been, had Israel attacked with the seriousness of purpose of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982...
Unfortunately the Israelies became "democrats-are-us" and lost the sense of danger in a process. The fact that they run out of leaders of yesteryear's quality and chose to elect apparatchiks speaks volumes.

The above hissed in response by: ag1 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 6, 2006 10:58 PM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

I think many people are hiding from the truth. Some are fools. Some are genuinely opposed to violence even to save themselves. Some are out for political power. Some are moral or physical cowards. Many are mixtures of the above.

But have faith. The U.S. has a long history of being asleep at the wheel regarding threats.

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 7, 2006 4:53 PM

The following hissed in response by: The Sanity Inspector

As for Saddam turning out not to have been a threat, see this very good Hugh Hewitt interview with Thomas Ricks:

HH: When you write that Operation Desert Fox was tremendously successful, you're concluding that those WMD were there in 1998? Or did Clinton drink the Kool-Aid as well?

TR: Yeah, there were WMD facilities in '98, and they were taken out pretty effectively by those raids. The most effective aspect of the Desert Fox raids, though, which we didn't recognize at the time, it's very difficult to pull out, was the psychological effect. The message sent to Iraqi weapons scientists was Uncle Sam is not going to let Saddam Hussein have this stuff. And their hard work of seven years, after the '91 war, was taken out. It was destroyed.

The above hissed in response by: The Sanity Inspector [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 7, 2006 8:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: Infidel

Why almost half of this country refuses to see the plans of our demise by this idiolgy that is determined to destroy us.....for the sake of winning political power is beyond comprehension. you mean hard left/democrats? (think about that one for a moment as you imagine the vote fraud in 2000/2004, the shrill hysterical nature of the left...)

The above hissed in response by: Infidel [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 6:49 AM

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