March 29, 2006


'The Last Helicopter': Mideast dictators try to "wait Bush out." They may be miscalculating. (AMIR TAHERI, March 29, 2006, Opinion Journal)

Hassan Abbasi has a dream--a helicopter doing an arabesque in cloudy skies to avoid being shot at from the ground. On board are the last of the "fleeing Americans," forced out of the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) by "the Army of Muhammad." Presented by his friends as "The Dr. Kissinger of Islam," Mr. Abbasi is "professor of strategy" at the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard Corps University and, according to Tehran sources, the principal foreign policy voice in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new radical administration.

For the past several weeks Mr. Abbasi has been addressing crowds of Guard and Baseej Mustadafin (Mobilization of the Dispossessed) officers in Tehran with a simple theme: The U.S. does not have the stomach for a long conflict and will soon revert to its traditional policy of "running away," leaving Afghanistan and Iraq, indeed the whole of the Middle East, to be reshaped by Iran and its regional allies.

To hear Mr. Abbasi tell it the entire recent history of the U.S. could be narrated with the help of the image of "the last helicopter." It was that image in Saigon that concluded the Vietnam War under Gerald Ford. Jimmy Carter had five helicopters fleeing from the Iranian desert, leaving behind the charred corpses of eight American soldiers. Under Ronald Reagan the helicopters carried the corpses of 241 Marines murdered in their sleep in a Hezbollah suicide attack. Under the first President Bush, the helicopter flew from Safwan, in southern Iraq, with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf aboard, leaving behind Saddam Hussein's generals, who could not believe why they had been allowed live to fight their domestic foes, and America, another day. Bill Clinton's helicopter was a Black Hawk, downed in Mogadishu and delivering 16 American soldiers into the hands of a murderous crowd.

According to this theory, President George W. Bush is an "aberration"....

While that much certainly has a bit of truth to it, they aren't going to like President McCain any better than President Bush.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 29, 2006 4:19 PM

mc cain should light up a nuke on inauguration day, just to put everyone on notice.

Posted by: toe at March 29, 2006 5:02 PM

That's basically Taheri's point. He basically says the enemy is underestimating us but, in doing so, making it worse for both sides.

Posted by: JAB at March 29, 2006 6:21 PM

If you were looking at the US from the outside, could you take us seriously?

I have a mountain of doubts about McCain. But at this point, if you can convince me he will finish the job, I'll sign up.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at March 29, 2006 8:12 PM

McCain will be too busy pushing through McCain-Feingold II to care about the Middle East.

Posted by: AWW at March 29, 2006 8:20 PM

The peace-creeps cost us this present difficulty.

If the RoP people had realized that they were facing the victors of Dresden and Hiroshima their "Reformation" would be further along.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 29, 2006 8:26 PM

...they aren't going to like President McCain any better...

You made a funny. Whatcha smokin', Dude?

Posted by: Michael at March 29, 2006 10:28 PM

I don't trust McCain. Today I heard Steyn call him a narcissist. It seems accurate.

Such a person is apt to love the smell of their own stink, and if that means you kowtow to the media mirror, policy will suffer.

Here's to hoping you are wrong about McCain's ascendency. I'll hope the nation can vote for Romney.

Posted by: Bruno at March 29, 2006 11:22 PM

A politician who's a narcissist? Perish the thought....

Posted by: oj at March 30, 2006 12:03 AM

A politician who's a narcissist? Perish the thought....

McCain has the double whammy: he's a politician and a fighter pilot. The pilot ego is a thing to behold (see, e.g., Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff).

(W is an outlier in this respect. Though a fighter pilot, and a politician, he also has had the humbling experience of addiction and recovery, and is considerably less narssistic than McCain, or Kerry, or a dozen others you could name off the top of your head.)

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 30, 2006 7:28 AM

That our enemies look at our behavior from 1975, 1980 and 1983, and 1991 and therefore conclude they can continue to do evil is an important reason why the only policy in Iraq must be victory. We can't afford to run.

Having said that, I think President Bush has done a rather poor job preparing the American people for this and keeping such a long war policy bipartisan.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 30, 2006 11:30 AM

We always run--it's a function of democracy. We ran from WWI and WWII before they were done which caused all this.

Posted by: oj at March 30, 2006 11:42 AM

And we ran from the Cold War, once the Soviet Union imploded, which is why we still have North Korea, Cuba and China festering and needing to be dealt with in the next decade or two.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 30, 2006 3:08 PM