A year ago, we waged a brilliant three-week campaign, then mysteriously forgot the source of our success. Military audacity, lethality, unpredictability, imperviousness to cheap criticism, and iron resolve, coupled with the message of freedom, convinced neutrals to join us and enemies not yet conquered to remain in the shadows. But our failure to shoot looters, to arrest early insurrectionists like Sadr, and to subdue cities like Tikrit or Falluja only earned us contempt--and not just from those who would kill us, but from others who would have joined us as well . . . in the long term, such complacency has left more moderate Iraqis to be targeted by ever more emboldened murderers.Of course, it's not lost on me that Hanson is a registered Democrat, writing in a partisan liberal magazine. I don't doubt that Hanson is committed to such tactics -- he's written as much elsewhere. But I am pretty sure that, had Bush taken the initiative and "pacified" Fallujah a few weeks ago, and had something gone terribly wrong (as things do in war), resulting in the deaths of either Iraqi civilians or significant numbers of U.S. troops, TNR's lead editorial would currently be titled, "What the Hell Was Bush Thinking?"
Hats off to TNR for being hawkish and all, but that doesn't mean they're not drooling for a Bush loss in November, on whatever grounds.