August 28, 2005

Our plan: "We win, they lose"

Patrick Ruffini argues that the forces of freedom need to re-frame their arguments on Iraq. We should be speaking with more confidence and pride, asserting more strongly that our cause is right, and that we are winning.

....This narrative served us well for a time, playing into widely held suspicions of media bias, but now something different is called for.

A drumbeat of “steady progress” lacks a certain drama – a driving impulse – and falls short in telling the story of the world’s most dramatic place. It does not place the insurgency in its proper context, and arguably does not have very much to say about the violence at all. So long as the media, cooped up in the fifth floor of the Palestine Hotel, makes casualties their dominant frame, it is essential that they be addressed as part of a broader narrative about Iraq.

To the extent that the terrorist insurgency is addressed by our side, it is usually in the context of fearful, beleaguered Iraqis as the victims. Americans are urged not to lose heart -- because that’s what the terrorists would want. Unwittingly, we are training ourselves to be victims in need of therapy, to persevere through this unpleasantness just a little bit longer.

Hell, no. We refuse to be the victims. We refuse to even discuss the possibility that any terrorist thug could throw us off course. If asked for the umpteenth time to rearticulate a plan for Iraq, it needs to be Ronald Reagan’s “We win, they lose.”...

....Self-confidence like this doesn’t emerge in a vacuum; it springs from a narrative that is nourished over time.

This narrative is nothing new: we had it for a while in the spring, and now it’s time to get it back. It’s simple: everything – EVERYTHING – pivots around the Iraqi woman with purple ink-stained finger, or the Revolution babes in Lebanon, or the jailed democracy protesters in Egypt. That’s why we are being viciously attacked. That’s the narrative. That’s the first three quarters of the policy speech. It’s not that we shouldn’t be talking about progress on the ground. It’s that there's a better way to talk about progress than as a whiny alternative universe the media won't cover. Use the progress to explain the violence....

The progress does explain the violence. The violent reactions of the both terrorists and the phony "anti-war" movement. If Iraq and Afghanistan and Lebanon become free and democratic and prosperous, then it becomes all too obvious that neither of those groups has anything positive to offer the world. Only despair and hatred.

We are not just "doing OK." We do not have to be apologetic. We have already achieved prodigies. Miracles. We have changed the world, and even if all our efforts were to collapse right now, the forces of despotism will never recover their former strength. The world has seen millions of Iraqis holding up purple-stained fingers, and the nihilism of the Cindy Sheehans can never undo that.

We are the forces of good. They are the forces of evil. We are winning. And they have already lost.

And the Iraqis are not cowering hapless victims. They are proud people building a nation. And they will probably value democracy far more than, say, the Germans or the Japanese, who never had to fight for it.

Posted by John Weidner at August 28, 2005 4:32 PM
Weblog by John Weidner