There are only two problems with the Iraq war. One is that Iraqis like killing each other. The second is that it is emotionally unpleasant to watch Iraqis kill each other. But objectively, if viewed in regard to the interests of the United States, the Iraq war is doing just fine.
What are America's security needs? We need to be sure that a large, wealthy, military industrial complex does not have political leadership that would both generate weapons of mass destruction in defiance of regulation by international bodies, and would not simultaneously support Islamist terrorist organizations. On that score, Iraq is a big win.
Longfellow seems to be forgetting that a large chunk of the Iraqi fighters are Islamists, including Shiites, Sunnis, and Al Qaeda, many of whom have ties to various terrorist organizations, and who have been involved in what many would term terrorism within Iraq during the past several years. Swing and a miss!
Second, America needs to fight al-Qaida in such a way that their membership gets wiped out and ours does not. Ideally, then, we'd like to have the American military fighting the enemy on the other side of the world, far from our civilians. So, for fighting al-Qaida, you do not get a much better scenario than Iraq. Terrorists fly there using priceline.com, and "there" is geographically as far as you can get from North America. The only Americans terrorists can find there call in air strikes from their mobile phones rather than just the Starbucks store-locator.
Yeah, and if our troops were, say Mamluks and we didn't give a shit about them (or anyone we killed over there), we'd have nothing to worry about. But that's not the case. What else you got?
Today, Iraq is like an international bug-zapper for jihadists. It sendeth forth a glow in the night to all delirious Ahmadinejad wanna-bees, so they come flying from all over the world to die, to embarrass themselves, to fight a losing battle. We are even beginning to drain Iran of them.
Yo, Andy, pass me some of that crack, since you seem to be into the good stuff. Let's think this one through- a city has tons of murders in a year, and loses tons of its cops to violent crime in the process. Do the mayor and police chief high-five because their city is now a "bug-zapper?" And draining Iran? Since when? Those guys are so crazy they're accusing Ahmadinejad of being a godless heretic. Oh yeah, what progress.
As near as I can tell, Drewski's logic here seems to be that the more the Iraqis kill each other, the fewer crazy Iraqis there are. This logic would be iron-clad were it not for the fact that it seems to contradict almost everything we know about long-running civil wars and ethic/religious conflicts. You know, that whole cycle of hatred and violence thing? Take a look at South Africa, the Balkans, Northern Ireland, and Israel and the West Bank while you're at it. If your only strategy is to let the Sunnis and Shiites kill each other until they're too tuckered out, you're in for a lot of killing (which, to be fair, looks like it's going to be happening in any event).
True, we should not be inactive on the humanitarian front. The actions of America in failing to protect the Christian minority has been a complete disgrace. But while we recognize this, the solution is not to defame the morality of the whole effort. It is to load up the platoons and protect those we can.
Actually, I'm pretty sure we've screwed up protecting almost anybody there, Short-man.
Perspective is needed. America's security aims are being achieved and the most unbelievable military victories have taken place all at casualty levels considered record minimum by war historians. Humanitarian concerns and the 1,500-year-old hate between sects are primarily the responsibility of the Iraqis. Failing to heal the Middle East doesn't constitute failure on our part.
It does when we've been telling everybody that this was our GOAL! How many people do you think would have been on board with this crap if Bush told us we were going to make Iraq into a blood-soaked hellhole, minus the Baathists?
Our job is to keep our eye on the ball: making the terrorist miserable. Gen. Petraeus has pointed out on national TV that there are about eight military raids per day where al-Qaida are being captured or killed. Precisely why is that a "failure" in the war on terror? That's 3,000 raids per year on Osama bin Laden. Democrats were previously beside themselves that there were not enough al-Qaida in Iraq to justify invasion, but now that there are many and a franchise of the same name, Democrats want to leave because the fighting is hard. Is there a pattern here?
If the Iraq theater is measured by a standard of whether the Islamist caliphate is being defeated, that being the only relevant measure, then this war is strategically doing just fine.
Perspective, huh? Yeah, let's try some of that. Larry, help us out, will you? (Sholom said basically the same thing, incidentally, if a little more directly, as is his style.)
What are we to make of the bizarre contrast between our national grief over the terrible slaughter of students and faculty at Virginia Tech and our muted reaction to the continuing bloodbath in and around Baghdad? One mass killing in the 209 years since Virginia Tech was founded is not exactly a trend. It is a terrible thing but not likely to be repeated anytime soon.
We cannot say the same about events in Baghdad and Iraq. Just today four separate car bombs in and around Baghdad teft at least 160 Iraqis--mostly Shia--dead. Yesterday, Tuesday, at least 85 bodies turned up and there were more bombings. Monday was not much better--thirty corpses and at least twenty killed in bombings. Sixty nine plus on Sunday. And the beat goes on.
...When you consider the events of the last week in Iraq there is no reason any sane Iraqi--Sunni or Shia--would have any confidence in the Petraeus plan. Petraeus and U.S forces are in trouble. Desperate trouble. Despite White House flacks and politicians like McCain insisting that things are improving in Baghdad, the continued mass casualty bombings, the stacks of bodies left on the streets, the destruction of key infrastructure (like the Sarafiya bridge), and the bombing of the Iraqi parliament is reality and cannot be casually dismissed as the crazy ravings of a news media intent on reporting bad news.
Yup, sounds like we're doing a hell of a job. Maybe Longman should volunteer to go man the "zapper."