The discussion, which presumably was staged via e-mail, began with several panelists taking umbrage at Steven Vincent, a war correspondent working in Basra, Iraq, because he gave the war a letter grade of B-minus and Iraqi quality of life an F:
Judging the conflict by Saddam's removal -- and thank Allah the monster is gone -- is setting a pretty low bar. I mean, let's face it: military-wise Iraq was not Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Then you have to factor in U.S failures, such as not sealing the borders or halting the looting -- not to mention the fact that American military tactics have widely alienated the very people we liberated. Something's not working right.
Frontpage managing editor Jamie Glazov berated Vincent for not giving the war an A:
You blame America that you can't leave your hotel. But Mr. Vincent, sorry, you can't leave your hotel because the terrorists are a threat to you. Blame the terrorists, not America. ...
An F to America for the quality of Iraqis' lives? The terrorists are waging war on the country and doing everything in their power to destroy the quality of life. We need to blame the terrorists for that, not the side that is sacrificing its young boys and girls to give Iraq liberty and to nurture and protect its growth. The premise here is the height of the pathology of anti-Americanism -- blaming America for what the terrorists are doing.
The symposium was abruptly cancelled when word arrived that Vincent had been kidnapped and executed in Basra.
His last exchange with Glazov:
Vincent: You can blame terrorists all you want for ruining Iraq, but at the end of the day, it's our responsibility to make things right -- or at least get Iraqis to do the job themselves. Oh, and Jamie? You damn well better feel sorry I can't leave my Basra hotel without Iraqi protection -- because last year I could. Six months after the January 30th elections, lawlessness in this city is on the rise, whether by Iranian agents, rogue policemen or opportunistic tribal gangs. Hmmm, considering the bang-up job the Brits are doing here, I think I'll lower my estimation of the war effort to a C+.
Glazov: Sheesh. Okay Steven, I'm almost afraid what will happen in the next round of this discussion.