Saturday, July 14, 2007
War opponents bob up and down on the “wave,” and the media frames the action at the beachfront with an almost universal storyline of the surge against the surge, reflected in “increasing GOP resistance to the war.”
Please. The “presumed GOP” the media points to in their caricatures are the same fair-weather Republicans indistinguishable from the Democratic colleagues in bluer than blue state constituencies. No surprises at all with any of them. (Has Senator Specter supported his fellow Republicans on any substantive policy issue in the pas 4 years? Just asking.)
Two opinion pieces from Friday make strong and compelling arguments to urge the President and what Republican support remains for possible victory to hold firm.
Mario Loyola, writing at National Review Online, succinctly summarizes where we stand in Iraq:
Just weeks into the decisive counteroffensive of the war, we are breaking the back of enemy resistance across that central third of Iraq that was always the focus of the war. Thousands of insurgents have been captured and hundreds killed; the Shiite death-squads have been overawed, and have gone largely into hiding; the al Qaeda leadership is being annihilated before our eyes; and whole tribes — formerly bitter enemies of the Coalition — are coming over to our side wholesale, swelling the ranks of the Iraqi security forces. Anbar province, which just months ago was thought an unassailable base for al Qaeda, is fast becoming an unassailable pillar of the new Iraqi state.That surge, the new counterinsurgency strategy led by GEN Petraeus, is showing great progress in achieving security objectives and laying a real groundwork for the political salvation of the Iraqi experiment in Democracy.
Loyola rightly criticizes an obliviousness on the part of war opponents as to the real situation in Iraq, our progress and the prospects for our enemies:
There’s one often overlooked difference between the opposing sides in the Iraq conflict. America and its Coalition and Iraqis allies can solve their problems on the ground. It may be tough and expensive; and it might take a long time. We might have to redress bureaucratic accounting problems, and field artillery deficiencies, and the lack of airlift and other maneuver capabilities in the ISF. But we are redressing them.Think about that for a moment, let it sink in. Our enemies’ only hope is Congress.
Meanwhile the forces battling the central government can’t solve their problems. With every month that passes, the so-called insurgents seem weaker and more fractured. The most vital manpower reserve of the insurgency — the Sunni tribes — are coming over to our side wholesale. And according to one of the most senior counter-insurgency advisors to General Petraeus, “This is not a result of planning. It‘s a fashion trend.” If anyone is begging for an exit-strategy from its current predicament, it is the insurgency.
Put yourself in their shoes. They have studied history. They know what an insurgency needs in order to win. They know that they will never achieve national geographic scope. No foreign army is going to come to their rescue. They will never have diplomatic recognition, from any country. No Iraqi general will ever defect to their side.
As things now stand, they cannot win. Their only hope is Congress. And now — at the very moment that our troops finally have the chance to prove they can win — a majority of the Congress wants to legislate defeat, by interfering in the strategic and tactical judgments of the constitutional commander-in-chief and his generals, and force them to do things that they are convinced will throw to the winds all that we have gained at such a terrible price.
Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Washington Post, sees the same progress and possibility of success in the counterinsurgency fight, and the same potential for disaster if Democrats are successful in ending the war immediately:
As a longtime critic of the Maliki government, I agree that it has proved itself incapable of passing laws important for long-term national reconciliation.War opponents in Congress wage a very dishonest fight against our critical efforts against Al Qaeda and the many headed instruments of radical Islamic terrorism.
But first comes the short term. And right now we have the chance to continue to isolate al-Qaeda and, province by province, deny it the Sunni sea in which it swims. A year ago, it appeared that the only way to win back the Sunnis and neutralize the extremists was with great national compacts about oil and power sharing. But Anbar has unexpectedly shown that even without these constitutional settlements, the insurgency can be neutralized and al-Qaeda defeated at the local and provincial levels with a new and robust counterinsurgency strategy.
The costs are heartbreakingly high -- increased American casualties as the enemy is engaged and spectacular suicide bombings designed to terrify Iraqis and demoralize Americans. But the stakes are extremely high as well.
In the long run, agreements on oil, federalism and de-Baathification are crucial for stabilizing Iraq. But their absence at this moment is not a reason to give up in despair, now that we finally have a counterinsurgency strategy in place that is showing success against the one enemy -- al-Qaeda -- that both critics and supporters of the war maintain must be fought everywhere and at all cost.
That’s what the disingenuous critics in Congress say they want, after all, as the “only mission” that America should retain in Iraq: fighting Al Qaeda.
Hard to see why GEN Petraeus’s counterinsurgency strategy doesn’t best do just that. And why these armchair “Generalists” wouldn’t want that effort to continue, and succeed. Unless, of course, that’s not really what they want to achieve.
(Cross posted at MILBLOGS. Linked by Mudville Gazette's Dawn Patrol.)
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