Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. But Celebrated...
It's a tribute to the collapse of modern education that so many people, from pundits and professors to movie stars and policy makers, continue to repeat stereotypes and slogans that are demonstrably false and, in all likelihood, dangerous to our national health. Yet the advocates of these false and dangerous myths are widely praised as the Best and the Brightest among us. We should recall David Halberstam's book of that title, which exposed the B & Bs as the foolish architects of the Vietnam debacle.
I'm going to talk about three current myths, which suck up an amazing amount of airtime, ink, and bandwith. There are many others, but these should get us going on a serious discussion.
1. The Syrian Peace Negotiations
The B & Bs generate new "peace" plans by the day, but there is no hope of a peaceful end to the Syrian slaughter. Too much murder and torture has been unleashed by the Assad regime, too many people have been killed and maimed, to expect the Syrians to reason together. That moment is gone.
Historians used to know that "peace" usually comes after one side defeats the other in war, and the winners impose terms on the losers. That is what successful "peace conferences" are about, and the terms imposed on the losers define the "peace."
So if you want peace in Syria, pick a side and help it win the war. You may whine -- as the Obama administration often does -- that we have incomplete information and can't see through to the "endgame." That's usually the case, especially when you've got a bloated and failed intelligence community, as we do. But once we engage, the situation changes (when America moves, the whole world changes), and intelligence improves. Dithering won't help, nor will calls for "peace talks" before one side has won.
Forget about the UN and the NGOs. Above all, forget about "leading from behind." Remember Yoda: "Not try. Do."
2. The Iranian Nuclear Negotiations
We've all seen Iranians herded into the streets of their cities, led by beturbaned men in chants of "Death to America!" What do you think they mean? The war they have waged against us since 1979 proves that they mean just that.
So why should they give up the ultimate weapon? They think it will make them invulnerable to American (and Israeli) military power. They do not believe that either the American or the Israeli government will take effective action to prevent Tehran from building a nuclear arsenal. They are not impressed with chest-pounding or bellicose rhetoric from Washington or Jerusalem. They are, rather, convinced by the American retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the cuts in the military budget.