This comment is cross-posted as a comment at Belmont Club, I believe it is #496 (two typos corrected).
What all the post-Lebanon commentary reminds me of more than anything else is not Solzhenitsyn so much as Whittaker Chambers. Read “Witness” (again, if you already have) and see how dark and pessimistic the outlook is, one who knows he is in the right side, but also believes that it is the losing side for almost the exact same reasons as are constantly cited today by those who believe that our leaders in the current long war are not fighting it fast- or bluntly- enough.
Perhaps Condi has indeed been overcome by the DoS Realpolitik crowd. Perhaps W is indeed too tired or helpless to do anything else, and Rumsfeld has given in to the careerist generals who wish from this time forth only to fight Grenada-level actions (short, no opposition, combat stripes and rapid promotions, no hot war budget perturbations interfering with the multi-year procurement projects). Perhaps Bolton has indeed been seduced by Kofi into mainlining the Turtle Bay KoolAid and doesn’t really understand the threats and issues as well as do all of us hobbyist bloggers in pajamas.
Or, perhaps Norman Podhoretz is correct, and this is what Bush said it was five years ago- a long struggle. Perhaps he is doing the same thing he has done every time before, which is giving outlet to all of the alternatives (such as extended UN inspections) and then moving.
In the recent case, Israel was surprised and unable to be as effective as it was 30 years ago due to the concerns over civilian populations despite the fact that Bush gave them an open window to operate before pulling the plug. It still inflicted severe damage, and the inevitable collapse of the ceasefire will only be meaningless if that collapse is greeted by retreat and Hezbollah’s re-supply is not challenged.
But I have heard the same song over and over again, about Communism until Reagan confronted it, and about WWIV. The same people who today say that the Administration is backing away from the Iranian threat firmly predicted in 2002 that the UN inspection diversion meant that Saddam would never be deposed.
I take the words of Bush, Snow, et all at face value. They are not kicking the can down the road to leave our civilization to the Russ Feingolds of this world.