David Brooks, house neocon of the New York Times, tells it like it is. He's got the inside skinny on something malevolent in Iraq. He's been talking to -- Joe Lieberman....

By Jack Kus

United for Peace of Pierce County
April 10, 2004

Thank God that someone has finally found the courage to speak up for our values.

It's David Brooks, house neocon of the New York Times, writing on Saturday's op-ed page.[1]

America has a job to do. It's up to us.

"Over the long run . . . the task is unavoidable. Sadr is an enemy of civilization. The terrorists are enemies of civilization. They must be defeated."

And this Brooks is not somebody who's not just anybody, by the way. He's a "thought leader" -- one of 150 under exclusive representation of Leigh Bureau.

So pay attention, America. Shoulder to the wheel.

Civilization. We thought that was the problem all along.

So what if those people over there have been at it for thirty times the age of the Republic. They've clearly lost the knack.

The title of David Brooks's piece is, "Take a Deep Breath."

Yes, take a deep breath, my friends, for it's about to hit the fan. We all know what that smells like.

But not to worry. David Brooks has heard reassuring words from Joe Lieberman. Oh, and also from Charles Hill -- you know, Charles Hill, "the legendary foreign service officer who now teaches at Yale." That Hill -- the legendary one.

Joe says a military offensive "will alienate Iraqis," but we've got to do it anyway.

How come?

"[T]he greater risk is [Sadr] will grow into something malevolent."


He's "vicious." A "hotheaded murderer who terrorizes people wherever he goes." "Vicious." A "fascist thug." A "lowlife hoodlum." Riding "a current of blood." With "financial and logistical support from Iran."

Yuck. Say no more.

"Something malevolent." That means "evil," right? Let's roll, then.

The sooner the better.

Because there's a "risk" he'll "grow into" something evil.

The serpent's egg.

Enough said. Wipe him out.

And Charles Hill?

Who? Oh, yeah, "the legendary foreign service officer who now teaches at Yale." Charles Hill says: "I've been pleasantly surprised by the boldness and the resolve."

These are no sunshine patriots at the wheel. And this is no time for faint-heartedness. No time for the lily-livered, the wets, the weak of will -- the liberal.

No time for acedia, as Leo Strauss would have said.

Paul Nitze didn't labor all those years in the vineyards of world empire that we should quail before the crushing of the grapes.

Hosanna in the highest: this is Paul Wolfowitz's watch. What if this had happened with the Democrats at the helm? My God -- they might have actually tried democracy!

As if. They never would have made it to Baghdad. Wimps.

Well, they're not in power. And "leadership in the U.S. is for once" -- for once! -- "cool and resolved."

It's home, home on the range. And the skies are not cloudy all day. Praise be.

Because otherwise -- there goes civilization. An "enemy of civilization" might have triumphed. Just think.

But we're safe. "They must be defeated."

So bomb Fallujah now.

Then we'll "wait for the holy period to end and crush Sadr."

Better to wait. All those "holy cities."

Better be sensitive.

Soon, civilization will be safe.




Op-ed columnist

By David Brooks

New York Times
April 10, 2004
Page A31


Come on people, let's get a grip.

This week, Chicken Littles like Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd were ranting that Iraq is another Vietnam. Pundits and sages were spinning a whole series of mutually exclusive disaster scenarios: Civil war! A nationwide rebellion!

Maybe we should calm down a bit. I've spent the last few days talking with people who've spent much of their careers studying and working in this region. We're at a perilous moment in Iraqi history, but the situation is not collapsing. We're in the middle of a battle. It's a battle against people who vehemently oppose a democratic Iraq. The task is to crush those enemies without making life impossible for those who fundamentally want what we want.

The Shiite violence is being fomented by Moktada al-Sadr, a lowlife hoodlum from an august family. The ruthless and hyperpoliticized Sadr has spent the past year trying to marginalize established religious figures, like Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who come from a more quietist tradition and who believe in the separation of government and clergy. Sadr and his fellow putschists have been spectacularly unsuccessful in winning popular support. The vast majority of Iraqis do not want an Iranian-style dictatorship. Most see Sadr as a young, hotheaded murderer who terrorizes people wherever he goes.

He and his band have taken this opportunity to make a desperate bid for power, before democratic elections reveal the meagerness of their following.

He has cleverly picked his moment, and he has several advantages. He is exploiting wounded national pride. He is capitalizing on the Iraqis' frustration with the American occupation (they continually overestimate our competence, then invent conspiracy theories to explain why we haven't transformed Iraq).

Most important, Sadr has the advantages that always accrue to fascist thugs. He is vicious, while his opponents are civilized. Sadr and his band terrify people, and ride on a current of blood. They get financial and logistical support from Iran. They profit from the mayhem caused by assorted terrorists, like Imad Mugniyah, who are sowing chaos in Iraq. They need to spark a conflagration to seize power.

Sadr's domestic opponents are ill-equipped to deal with him. The police have revealed their weakness. Normal Iraqis are doing what they learned to do under Saddam; they are keeping their heads down. Clerics like Sistani, who operate by consensus, do not want to be seen siding with outsiders against a fellow Muslim.

Nonetheless, Sadr faces long odds. Iraqis may be frustrated with the Americans, but they don't want to jump from Baath fascism to theocratic fascism. In a February poll, only 10 percent of Iraqis said it was acceptable to attack Americans. In Kut yesterday, CNN reported, local tribesmen, disgusted by Sadr's violence, rose up against his troops. If you'd listened to the recent hysteria, you never would have expected that to happen.

Furthermore, many of the most influential Shiite groups in Iraq, such as the Dawa and Sciri parties, are invested in the process of building the new Iraq. Their policies don't jibe with ours, but they have a stake in a democratic future and would love to see Sadr eliminated. There are even signs that the Iranians themselves regard Sadr as hopelessly volatile.

Most important, leadership in the U.S. is for once cool and resolved. This week I spoke with leading Democrats and Republicans and found a virtual consensus. We're going to keep the June 30 handover deadline. We're going to raise troop levels if necessary. We're going to wait for the holy period to end and crush Sadr. As Joe Lieberman put it, a military offensive will alienate Iraqis, but "the greater risk is [Sadr] will grow into something malevolent." As Charles Hill, the legendary foreign service officer who now teaches at Yale, observed, "I've been pleasantly surprised by the boldness and resolve."

Nonetheless, yesterday's defections from the Iraqi Governing Council show that populist pressure on the good guys is getting intense. Maybe it is time to pause, to let passions cool, to let the democrats marshal their forces. If people like Sistani are forced to declare war on the U.S., the gates of hell will open up.

Over the long run, though, the task is unavoidable. Sadr is an enemy of civilization. The terrorists are enemies of civilization. They must be defeated.