I got a lot of email yesterday criticizing NRO (and yours truly) for being too excitied, too gleeful, too optimistic about Zarqawi’s death. Matt Yglesias smirked at the fact that — oh so predictably, I suppose — we at the Corner were “making a big deal” out of the news. A writer at Hit & Run said we were holding a “Zion-style rave” over the news. It’s a funny line, but if you actually go back and read the Corner and NRO yesterday, it’s pretty clear everyone around here understood that this was only at best a potential turning point, not some cure-all development.
Regardless, it’s been bugging me. What is so wrong with celebrating great news for the American military and the American war-effort? Leaving aside the fact that no one here really lost there sense of reality to begin with, I think it’s a pretty weird thing to mock people for getting excited about this kind of good news. I can understand why news outlets like Reuters, the AP and the BBC feel they can’t be celebratory. Though, I’m not sure why they feel the need to minimize the news either. But we aren’t the AP. We’re supposed to express our opinions around here.
Are we vulnerable to the charge that we’re biased in favor of hoping for the best? Sure. But it seems like a lot of our critics are so intellectually or emotionally invested in the war being a mistake that even when the war goes well — even for a day! — they can’t take a breath and just be happy about it. Several emailers wrote to say what a “joke” NRO is or how “deluded” we are. It was all so shabbily blasé. Indeed, apparently some NPR callers yesterday just couldn’t find any good news in the report at all. Many Democrats (Joe Biden not included) couldn’t take even one news cycle off just to celebrate the news. They had to say the death of Zarqawi proved that we should get out of Iraq — i.e. killing Zarqawi bolstered the case for doing exactly what Zarqawi wanted. I’m not questioning anyone’s patriotism — though my position on that taboo is well known (See here and here for example) — but if the choice is between seeming like we’re rooting too much for the good guys or seeming like we’re rooting to much against them in this war, I’ll take the former any day of the week.