Sunday, January 03, 2016

The End of the Beginning, Not That Some Will Ever Admit It

If you listen to the doomsayers of our so-called liberal media and to the dire pronouncements of the Frightened Right, you might be tempted to just give in to despair and fear. But let’s look at how some of their previous predictions have turned out:
Remember how Ebola was this terrifying epidemic that was, in the words of CNN commentator (and thriller author) Robin Cook “the scariest thing we can deal with”?
Remember when the panic was so severe that New Jersey Governor and B-list presidential candidate Chris Christie was, on the most dubious legal authority, locking a nurse up in a “quarantine tent,” even though she was showing no symptoms of the disease, purely because she’d treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone?
Remember how it was going to jump the oceans via international travel and ravage the U.S. any day now?
Well, I’m pleased to pass on this piece of good news: The World Health Organization has declared Guinea, the country where the outbreak began, to be Ebola-free. Sierra Leone was declared clear of the virus in November, and Liberia got a clean bill of health in September.
A couple of cases have since been reported in Liberia, but it does seem as if the major outbreak is over and the disease is in retreat. And, in case you didn’t notice, the mass outbreak that had Americans running in circles with their hair on fire never materialized.
Remember how, when the Iranian nuclear deal was announced, the American right wing, the congressional Israel lobby, and Our Friend Bibi were all shrieking that the dastardly Iranians would never follow through, claiming that they’d be cheating right from Day One, and acting as if President Obama had ensured that we’d be seeing mushroom clouds over Tel Aviv and D.C. within this decade?
Well, I’m pleased to pass on this good news: According to a story in the New York Times, “A Russian ship left Iran on Monday carrying almost all of Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium, fulfilling a major step in the nuclear deal struck last summer and, for the first time in nearly a decade, apparently leaving Iran with too little fuel to manufacture a nuclear weapon.”
There’s still a long way to go, but the world is measurably safer from the threat of an Iranian nuke than it was a year ago.
Remember how Daesh (aka ISIS, ISIL, etc) was supposed to be this unstoppable force of invincible desert warriors, unable to be beaten except by a massive influx of American ground troops? (Not that anyone on the Right would actually admit to advocating that, but they’d deride everything else, including airstrikes, as weakness and appeasement.)
Well, I’m pleased to pass on the good news that those invincible desert warriors just got vinced. Daesh just lost the key city of Ramadi to Iraqi troops. Fact is, they’ve lost 40 percent of the ground they took since last year.
It’s gotten to the point where their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had to send out a message to his troops trying to rally their spirits: “If we are killed and the wounds are numerous and the problems amassed against us and the hardships are great, then it is no surprise either.” No, it isn’t, Bubba, and don’t let it be a surprise that it’s going to get a lot worse. This is not the speech of someone who’s winning.
This is very likely why they’re desperately lashing out with attacks like the one in Paris. But even on that front, the news is encouraging. The Belgian police reportedly just broke up an attack planned by ISIS in that country on New Year’s Eve.
Ten major Daesh leaders, including “several external attack planners," have been killed in anti-Daesh coalition airstrikes in the past month, according to coalition spokesman Col. Steve Warren. And the mastermind of the Paris attacks, as we know, was killed by the French police.
So does all this mean that everything’s coming up roses, that all the bad times are over and that, in the words of that annoyingly catchy tune from the Lego Movie, “everything is awesome”?
No. But it means that, despite a sensation-driven media and a grasping political party, all of whom follow a business model based on convincing us all that everything is awful and that the only response to terror is to surrender to it and be terrified, things are getting better.
As Winston Churchill famously put it in 1942, after the Allied victory in the deserts of North Africa: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
There are those who’d deny all hope, for their own selfish gain. But when they do, try looking at their record for prediction.