Monday, April 07, 2008
Prelude to Testimony
In the first, Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute takes on antiwar (and thus Antiwar Party) talking points. They make easy work for Kagan, whose very lengthy takedown can be summarized thus: however else they can be characterized, the arguments against
What is Victory?
Kagan demolishes what equates to Democratic sophistry, the pretense that a withdrawal from
Yes, in the world as it is, whatever line we sell ourselves, there really is victory and there really is defeat, the two are different, and their effects on the future diverge profoundly. And yes, the reason we must continue to spend money and the lives of the very best Americans in that far-off land is that the interests of every American are actually at stake. [snip] Unless the advocates of defeat can show, as they have not yet done, that the consequences of losing are very likely to be small not simply the day after the last American leaves Iraq, but over the next five, ten, and 50 years, then what they are really selling is short-term relief in exchange for long-term pain.
Other highlights from Kagan:
The War Costs Too Much
Military spending has traditionally been a form of economic stimulus, and wars more commonly end recessions or depressions than start them. That’s not a good reason to start a war, but neither is it a good reason to lose one. The impact of the current war on the
The War Is Inevitably Lost, Recent Progress Notwithstanding
The credibility of many making this argument suffers from the conviction with which they declared early (and, in some cases, even late) in 2007 that no progress of any kind was possible.
Iraq is a made-up state: Iraqis hate each other, and only armed might can keep the peace.
The high degree of Sunni-Shi’a intermarriage in the mixed areas of Iraq, the large numbers of such mixed areas, and the increasing anger with which many Iraqis in those areas now denounce the idea of sectarian conflict all run against this argument.
Iraqis are not ready for democracy
As for the notion that democracy is incompatible with Islam, tell it to the hundreds of millions of Muslims in
The Anbar Awakening had nothing to do with the surge
This argument is a bit like saying that the French people, finally tiring of the Nazis’ occupation, rose up of their own accord in 1944, engaging in increasing partisan and insurgent activities culminating with the re-appearance of the Free French military units that liberated Paris — and that none of this had anything to do with the Normandy invasion, since the Free French movement and partisan activity within France predated that invasion.
Violence fell only because Moqtada al Sadr ordered a unilateral cease-fire
In addition to having to abandon any pretext of participating in Iraqi politics if he ended the ceasefire, therefore, Sadr also had to face the likelihood that well-informed
Now that the Surge Is Ending, We’ll Be Right Back Where We Started
The worst flaw in this argument, however, is that it naively assumes that the situation in
We Should Never Have Fought this War in the First Place
There are no do-overs in the real world. Deciding that we made a mistake in 2003 or that we don’t like what has happened in the intervening five years does not make it possible to hit some global rewind button and start again from scratch.
Is there really any question about whether or not al-Qaeda in
In the second piece noted above, Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham set the stage for Generalm Petraeus’s testimony by also highlighting the hypocrisy and error of many antiwar critics:
When Gen. David Petraeus testifies before Congress tomorrow, he will step into an American political landscape dramatically different from the one he faced when he last spoke on Capitol Hill seven months ago. This time Gen. Petraeus returns to
Senators Lieberman and Graham acknowledge the tragic and significant costs of our efforts in
The success we are now achieving also has consequences far beyond
It is unfortunate that so many opponents of the surge still refuse to acknowledge the gains we have achieved in
Lastly, Ralph Peters at the NY Post checked in with a military colleague in
Peters explains why
My source acknowledged that "the planning for
This officer doesn't paint over the cracks in the Iraqi house, but he's convinced that the
For myself, I watched the
Unlike the Brits, who faked it, the Iraqis went into the city and fought. Was their performance perfect? Of course not. But this is where the punditry got really interesting.
Many of the critics had previously lavished praise on the counterinsurgency manual that Petraeus midwifed. One of the most-quoted maxims from that document was T.E. Lawrence's admonition that it's better for our local allies to do something imperfectly themselves than for us to do it perfectly for them.
Well, the Iraqis stepped up to the plate. A few units folded. Others fought ferociously. They did what we said we wanted - and the critics raised the bar again. (Unfair criteria for success now may pose a greater obstacle in
And, by the way, it was Moqtada al Sadr, not the Iraqi government, who requested a cease-fire - after being urged by the Iranians to opt to let those militias live to fight another day.
This stage is set. Let’s see what happens in
Links to this post:
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]