The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, June 02, 2008

The True Legacy of Iraq

Well, well, well. I hope Obama continues to shoot off his big mouth about what a "disaster" Iraq has become; events on the ground are making him look more and more like a complete idiot every day:

How odd (or to be expected) that suddenly intelligence agencies, analysts, journalists, and terrorists themselves are attesting that al-Qaeda is in near ruins, that ideologically radical Islam is losing its appeal, and that terrorist incidents against Americans at home and abroad outside the war zones are at an all-time low—and yet few associate the radical change in fortune in Iraq as a contributory cause to our success.

But surely the US military contributed a great deal to the humiliation of al-Qaedists and the bankruptcy of their cause, since it has (1) killed thousands of generic jihadists, and to such a degree that the former Middle East romance of going to Iraq to fight the weak crusaders is now synonymous with a death sentence and defeat; (2) provided the window of security necessary for the growing confidence of the Maliki government whose success is absolutely destroying the Islamist canard that the U.S. backs only dictatorships. Indeed, al-Qaeda's greatest fear is successful Arab constitutional government; something still caricatured here at home as a neocon pipe dream.

In addition, the grotesque tactics that al-Qaeda in duress developed in Iraq weakened its case throughout the Middle East; while the Americans learned just the opposite lesson under Gen. Petraeus—how to win hearts and mind while mastering the elements of counter-insurgency. In contrast, the terrorists learned how to lose a war while alienating the Muslim population.

I would expect the Maliki government to gain greater respect abroad, and maybe it will cease to be the punching bag here at home, given its recent accomplishments—made possible by the efforts of the U.S. military. There is an odd feeling that the more books come out damning the Iraq war, and the more politicians write it off as a fiasco, the more Iraqis are showing the world that a constitutional government can survive the enormous odds set against it. Final note. I think this May may have been the lowest month for American military fatalities (19) since the war started in March 2003.
Gingrich/Petraeus 2012. (Someone just tell me where to sign up...)

More from Jennifer Rubin in Commentary:
Barack Obama’s greatest fan, commenting on the Washington Post op-ed that the “all is lost crowd” should rethink their Iraq plans, has this observation:

The trap Obama must not be caught in is one of excessive pessimism. Conditions now favor expeditious withdrawal more than they did only a few months ago. But the manner of withdrawal, its pace, and its concomitant diplomacy now require a different cast, and may require an even different one next February and March. None of this means that this war was not a mistake; it does suggest it need not in the medium term be a catastrophe. Petraeus deserves the lion’s share of the credit; luck and time and the self-defeating nihilism of the Jihadists have helped. But Bush and McCain equally merit points for pursuing the surge, even though the metrics pointed to failure. Obama needs to capitalize on these gains, not dismiss them.

Well, let’s unpack all of that. Conditions favor an expeditious withdrawal because . . . why, exactly? We had to withdraw, we were told, because all was lost, it was immoral to sacrifice any more brave Americans for a lost cause, there had been no political progress and nothing further could be gained. But in the face of recent progress, when a chance for success and a good outcome has emerged (acknowledged among the more honest mainstream media observers), we should still leave, and in fact it is more necessary that we should do so?

But that is small potatoes next to the real problem: Obama doesn’t think progress is being made, refuses to acknowledge reality and opposed the surgewhich even Obama’s greatest defender can admit was the correct course and likely saved us from a “catastrophe.” That obvious dilemma will not be lost, I am fairly certain, on those not predisposed to explain, justify, and protect Obama from unpleasant realities.

And if Obama fails to “capitalize”–to take advantage of circumstances his opponent helped create and he opposed–is he guilty of only excessive pessimism? Or has he proven himself to be inflexible, unmoved by new facts, unwilling to admit error and divorced from reality? Hmmm, seems like someone said similar things about George W. Bush.

UPDATE: Wretcherd adds an even more potent observation, while commenting on the Mark Steyn Show Trial in Canada:

The sudden and precipitious drop-off in the media coverage of Iraq is largely due to the reluctance among pundits to advertise the fact that they were wrong. Iraq is unmentionable precause because things are going well. Well for Iraq means not so well for pundits who staked their reputations on failure. Abe Greenwald at Commentary Magazine writes: "After years of telling us the war on terror was creating more terrorists, the mainstream media has mysteriously woken up to the fact that Islamic extremism is on the wane. Newsweek is the latest publication to run a support-for-jihad-is-fading piece.". The Washington Post has quietly and recently done so as well. Better to concede past mistakes in judgment quietly the better to deliver more judgements of the same quality in the future. But it comes at the price of clinging to the same false premises and ignoring the most glaring lessons. Greenwald writes:

there is an important omission in the sudden coverage of moderate Muslims: No one talks about the effect of the Iraq War. The MSM can dodge the issue all they like, but the fact remains that the Coalition’s toppling of Saddam facilitated the first organized rejection of fanatical Islam in the Middle East. Back in November 2005, while everyone stateside was crying fiasco, a group of Sunnis in Anbar province joined forces with a clutch of U.S. Marines and began to wrest their country back from al-Qaeda and its sympathizers.

And that is precisely why the "human rights" proceedings against Mark Steyn and company are so wrong. It refuses to recognize what has been proved in Iraq: that it is better to stand with Muslims who are seeking their freedom than to throw in with those who would suppress any dissent. If the proceedings continue on the basis that free speech is a "red herring"; that under Section 7.1 of the relevant regulations prescribing the offense "innocent intent is not a defense, nor is truth, nor is fair comment or the public interest, nor is good faith or responsible journalism", then the Tribunal will continue to be wrong so that it can call itself right.

DiscerningTexan, 6/02/2008 07:14:00 PM |