Victor Davis Hanson:
We need to confess that the jihadists are not only keen students of insurgency warfare, but good observers of the American psyche. We think their kidnapping, childish infomercials, gruesome tactics, and horrific websites are primordial and counterproductive; but they are more likely horrifically simple in inciting the most basic fears and self-preservation instincts of ordinary people. Precisely because decapitation belongs to a different century makes it more gruesome now, not less. Because the al Qaedists steal many of their talking points from the Western Left does not make them unimaginative as much as eerily familiar. And because we can daily predict the serial barbarity of the jihadists makes it not so much unimaginative as savagely inevitable.
So what to do?
We can quibble and fight about tactics on the ground, manpower numbers, strategic postures toward Iran and Syria, the need to prod the Iraqis, but our problem is more existential. Either stabilizing Iraq now is felt critical to the United States and the West or it isn’t. If the Left is right that it isn’t, then we should flee; if they are wrong, and I think they are, then we must start using our vast cultural and media resources to explain what is at stake — in a strategic and humanitarian sense — and precisely what it is costing America and why it in the long run is worth it, and how we have adjusted to counter our enemies who in the last four years have not won in Iraq or anywhere else either