Conrad Black takes up the verbal cudgel and beats us all about the brain cells with his defence of George W. Bush, going multisyllabo a multisyllabo with Maclean's writer Steve Maich who dumped on the U.S. preznit last week.
According to Black, Bush can do almost no wrong.
In Iraq, suicide murders, car bombings, deaths of security forces, and coalition casualties have all come sharply down (60 per cent to 80 per cent since July). Iraq's economy has grown 40 per cent since 2002, according to the IMF. There have been serious tactical errors, and disarming or assimilating the militias will be difficult, but legitimate authorities, with ever larger numbers of trained police and soldiers, are sure to prevail over outright terrorists eventually. The worst plausible fate is the partition of Iraq between Kurds, Sunnis, and Shias. That should be avoidable, and even that would be preferable to the continuation of Saddam Hussein.
If Iraq emerges intact, with a reasonable level of power-sharing and wealth distribution and institutional civility, it will be an electrifying alternative to the masses of the other great Arab countries, who have known nothing but corrupt despotisms up to now. This President will not cut and run as America did in Beirut and Somalia.
Lord Black sees Iraq as an exercise in re-establishing America's deterrent power, by demonstrating the enormous might that can be brought to bear by the world's preeminent military. I concede in my piece that Bush's national security reforms have so-far avoided a repeat of Sept. 11, and that has to be considered a major achievement. But Lord Black is mistaken if he believes this is the result of worldwide terrorist networks being cowed by U.S. force. To believe so is to misunderstand the mindset of terrorist organizations. To them, death isn't just a tool, it's the whole point. Al-Qaeda and its murderous allies have been prevented, not deterred, and that is a critical difference.
Um, that's it. Nothing else to see. Move along now.
UPPITY DATE: One more time: Maich and Black have a history, stemming back to the former's days at the National Post when he wrote a piece about Lord Blackness' legal woes. That inspired Post chair David Asper to pen a rebuttal defending Black in the op-ed section, basically making his own employee look bad. Maich eventually bailed for Maclean's.