Former generations might have looked upon filmreel of American servicemen dumping helicopters and other equipment overboard as our ships fled east Asia in the wake of our military debacle in Vietnam and been expected to believe that was what victory looked like. And that really is a note for middle age, because even my own generation seems to forget how we used to say, “America has never lost a war”. And over time that notion has been variously scaled, such that we’ve never fought a foreign war on our territory, and other such historical inaccuracies. No, really, there is even a way in which we argue that what happened in 1814 wasn’t a foreign invasion; after all, they were British. Fast forward to the twenty-first century when a guy from Mexico looking for work constitutes an invasion.
Never mind. Nostalgia, of a sort.
Let’s try a game show voice. Beauchamp says!
Wednesday night, Sen. Tom Cotton went on Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room to talk about Iraq and ISIS. He said something surprising.
Meta-irony. The headline is, “Tom Cotton says ISIS is winning in Iraq. That is false.”
It’s a nice headline, I suppose. Functional. Direct. Not really much of a gray area, you know?
The headline isn’t the problem, of course; it is merely the frame. Because the question does, in fact arise: Why is this surprising?
“We just haven’t rolled back the Islamic State at all over the last six or seven months since we began our air campaign,” he said. “They’ve continued to hold the ground they always have. They haven’t advanced, but we haven’t rolled them back, either. And that’s not going to be enough to defeat them.”
“The Islamic State seems to be winning now,” Cotton later added.
This is, in fact, the exact opposite of what is occurring. ISIS is losing substantial ground in Iraq, and it’s hard to imagine why Cotton is insisting otherwise.