Friday, November 16, 2007

The Illusion of Success

If the surge has produced anything, it's produced an excellent illusion that Iraq is under a great transformation. Do I think that's true? Not really. It seems to me all we did is plug a leak with our finger and the only way to keep it the leak from starting up again is to keep our finger there forever.

But that's not how the people will see it. I'm convinced of this. Americans very easily change their minds on issues and then blame the politicians who just did what they wanted. Remember, nearly two-thirds of Americans supported the Iraq war and nearly two-thirds of Congress voted for it. Now we don't want it anymore and what do we do? We blame Bush, Congressional Republicans and Congressional Democrats. We should be blaming ourselves for buying the administration's excellent work of fiction and letting our post-9/11 emotions get the best of us. Are we going to do it again? Are we going to buy the idea that this "success" forces us to stay in Iraq another five years, elect a President who will do it and then be sorry we did on January 22?

Brian Baird, a Washington Democratic Congressman, has already been convinced this farce is success. President Bush is doing an excellent job changing the Iraq debate in time for next year's election. Republicans will use this "success" as reason to stay in Iraq longer and enough people will buy it to see Democrats are agents of defeat and send Republicans back to the White House, only to regret it six months later.

Andrew Sullivan says it great after watching the Democratic debate;

The Democrats had better think through the shifting sands of Iraq with a little
more authority than they seemed to muster tonight.

To me, this "success" was inevitable and the Iraqis would've stood up against Al-Qaeda whether we were there or not. There has been little to no political reconciliation and the only thing the Iraqi government could agree on is to condemn an American defense contractor as terrorists. It is time to finally tell the Iraqis that we have done everything we can, and we've tried long enough. We need to plan for a withdrawal, not because we're defeated, but because we've done all we could and now it's up to the Iraqis. They have a certain amount of time to get their act together, because they seem to doing it just fine now, and then we're going on to other, more important, things. We are faced with the possibility of battling Iran, a country that if we go to war with it, will be the largest country we've fought since Japan. We're also faced with the possibility that Pakistan, a country of over 100 million people and nuclear weapons, may become an extremist state. We cannot be Iraq's babysitter forever. Our soldiers deserve a better mission. They deserve a mission with true results, not one to fix the colossal mistakes our politicians have made.

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