Sunday, February 10, 2008
The Left's True Measure of Progress
Pelosi’s comment came during a discussion of her call for “the redeployment
of our troops out of Iraq.”
Anchor Wolf Blitzer asked: “Are you not worried, though, that all the gains that have been achieved over the past year might be lost?”
“There haven't been gains, Wolf,” the speaker replied. “The gains have not produced the desired effect, which is the reconciliation of Iraq. This is a failure. This is a failure."
Here's what's really happening in Iraq: Although a real war is still going on there, all measures of violence are down and nearly all measures of actual progress (power, water, sanitation, oil pumped and sold, etc.) are up; oh, and Al Qaeda in Iraq is being destroyed.
Extracts from two captured al Qaeda letters--
Abu-Tariq, al-Qaeda leader
“There were almost 600 fighters in our sector before the tribes changed course 360 degrees . . . Many of our fighters quit and some of them joined the deserters . . . As a result of that the number of fighters dropped down to 20 or less.”
“We were mistreated, cheated and betrayed by some of our brothers who used to be part of the Jihadi movement, therefore we must not have mercy on those traitors until they come back to the right side or get eliminated completely.”
Unnamed emir, Anbar province
“The Islamic State of Iraq [al-Qaeda] is faced with an extraordinary crisis, especially in al-Anbar province. Al-Qaeda’s expulsion from Anbar created weakness and psychological defeat. This also created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight. "
“The morale of the fighters went down and they wanted to be transferred to administrative positions rather than be fighters. There was a total collapse in the security structure of the organisation.” (Emphasis added)
The single remaining complaint the left has now is that the Iraqi legislature hasn't passed enough legislation to please the liberals here. We constantly hear that from the Democrats. As if legislation is the way to win the war in Iraq. Words on paper don't get it done--it's reducing the will and/or the ability of the enemy to continue fighting. We're accomplishing the latter, in a big way. I know the Democrats are desperate to paint the war in Iraq as a failure and the drowning man clutches at straw, but this is not just their usual pathetic, alternative reality, it is the emblem of the left's easy but false solution to everything--with mere words. It doesn't matter if the words are not coupled with actual effect; all that matters to the left are the words. For example, President Bill Clinton and most of the Democrats talked the big talk about taking action against Saddam for not keeping up his end of the cease fire agreement. They even passed legislation in 1998 calling for regime change in Iraq. Clinton and most of the senior Democratic Senators (including his wife) said exactly the same things about WMD in Iraq that the current administration said in 2003. But here's the difference, George Bush actually did something. He redeemed the words through action, the actual overthrow of the socialistic, totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein. He did what the Democrats said they wanted to do and suddenly all the Democrats' words are forgotten and Bush is the idiot chimp who lied and created the worst foreign policy mistake ever, by successfully finishing Gulf War I.
I see. I get the picture. (To quote John Cleese). But the picture is not a favorable one of the left here in America.
I can't figure out why you don't get it. So here it is, expressed as simply as possible.
It doesn't matter how may al Qaeda fighters we kill. I beleive that sooner or later we kill most of them. If, however, at the end of the day, the Iraqis are unwilling or unable to govern themselves in a democratic fashion; if they are unwilling to eschew a civil war; then the costs of the invasion of Iraq will far outweigh the benefits.
The reason why George W. Bush seems like an idiot chimp is that instaed of visualizing the end game, he and his administration stopped w/ the deposition of Saddam. After that, they winged it w/ the results we now see.
The endgame he foresaw is Iowa on Friday night.
Yes all measures of violence are down. But remember, 4 million Iraqis are either internally or externally displaced which is approximately 14% of the population.
The bottom line is that the Bush administration bet the farm on democracy in Iraq: that a people w/ no tradition of representative government; w/ a 1300 year history of religious schism aggravated by decades of depotism; in a country arbitrarily drawn up on the map by trhe Brits and French after WW I; who society is largely tribal would start acting like Iowans on their way to caucus.
Instead of reading history, the architects of our Iraq policy placed their faith; the lives of our military; and the reputation
on wishful thinking.
I will confess I do not have a crystal ball. As for things being better, that depends upon your criteria. If you are one of the 14% of the Iraqi populatiion which is internally displaced or spending your life savings and eking out a living in Syria or Jordan are things better? If you are one of of the tens of thousands of Iraqis that have lost their lives in the conflict or a member of their families are things better?
Perhaps b/f we invaded the country, the administration should have listened to someone about what was likely to occur as opposed to what they wished would occur.
If in the latter half of 2001, the Neocons and the Bush administration had not been busy drinking their own bathwater and asked someone, perhaps an expert in Iraq, like an historian maybe, what is likely to happen if we invade this country and depose its dictator, that consultant would have given them a laundry list that included every issue today facing us and the Iraqis. Then at the very least, perhaps we would have been better prepared to address them.
You confuse history w/ sophistry in this instance Roger. History may be subject to interpretation, but it isn't a lie.
Who were we trying to save in Iraq: us or the Iraqis. It is encumbant upon the people we elect to determine the possible outcomes of the foreign policy they implement. If the costs of the certain result outweigh the benefits of the comtemplated action, then you don't take the action.
The entire issue w/ Iraq was that even if Saddam Hussein had WMDs the benefits of invading Iraq never outweighed the propsective costs, particularly if one considers the war in Iraq to be a battle in the war againsts radical Islam or terrorism.
Let's examine your penultimate thought. "There is less external displacement now than during Saddam's reign." If you are correct, then during the 24 of years of his reign, more tahn 2 million Iraqis left the country than in the 5 years since the invasion. Where did they go? I submit that wherever they went, they went w/ the idea that they were not returning anytime while Saddam was in power hence they were more immigrants than refugees. Witness the Chaldean communities in his country as those in Detroit.
So the answer to your final question is: In the event you can determine that you have no idea what might happen if you take a certain course of action; or if you understand that probabilities are that you will have an unworkable situation which was certainly the case in Iraq, you take no action unless the survival of your nation is at stake.
"Taking ou a murderous despot is a good thing."
Here's the challenge Roger: List every "good thing" for the United States that has come from taking out a murderous dictator.
I susupect that for every one, I can name 3 bad things and the bad things will not only outnumber the good but will exceed them in weight by which I mean human cost.
Be careful old friend that you do not succumb to the philosophy that b/c someone disagrees w/you his or her arguments are sophistic. If you want sophistry, just read the Neocon BS about what would happen after the invasion and deposition.
Let's just do Hitler. As a direct result of his overthrow, Jews and Gypsies stopped being murdered. Now tell me three things that were bad about our helping to take out Hitler; and then I'll name another good thing and we'll see who runs out of things to name first.
This criteria for invading a country is not: "Is the ruler of that country a bad person."
The criteria for invading a country is: "Will the course of action advance our national interests?" and "If we invade this country, can the current political system be replaced by a viable one that is better for the invaded country; better for us; and better for everyone else?"
The problem w/ the invasion of Iraq was that the answer to the first question was manifewstly "No" and the answer to the second question was foreseeable "No."
Is the current system better than Saddam? Well almost anything would be better than him. Can the current system succeed? "No."
But thte answer to the first question is still paramount. What's next: invading N. Korea. How about Zimbabwe?
Your 'questions' are just Monday morning quarterbacking. We didn't care if we could replace Hitler with a social democrat, for example; we were attacking Germnay to get rid of Hitler--the post war period would of course follow and turn out good or bad depending on our post war efforts. Again whether we would succeed with post war efforts to have a democratic and non-aggressive Germany was not a factor in our decision actively to depose Hitler. If 20th Century history tells us anything (other than the left is an extremely dangerous political philosophy) is that democratic nations don't start wars (they do tend to end them) so a 'democratic' Iraq is a good idea and in our national interest. Whether it's possible to get done is a separate question and one necessarily involving the future which cannot be known. Of one thing, however, I am sure: We'll never create a 'democratic' Iraq if we don't try. Again, your supreme pessimism about the abilty of the Iraqis to have a representative Republic still appears to me to be tinged with racism (I guess anti-semitism would be the technical term but not satisfactory). Sorry, but I can't escape that thought every time you say any effort to help make Iraq better is doomed. Still glad you're providing challenging comments.