Category Archives: Iraq

But They Support the Troops

Oh, really?

Message to Obama

This video really puts Obama on the defensive regarding his Iraq policy — but you have to watch the whole two-minute clip to understand why.

Herman, on the Iraq War

Historians, by definition, are students of history, not current events. Of course, today’s current events are tomorrow’s history, but we are usually too close to today’s news to view it in its larger context. It is up to the historians to sift through all the evidence, long after the fact, and make sense of the details.

That’s why Bush has not been too concerned about his negative polling numbers throughout his two terms. On the issue of the Iraq War, in particular, he knows that the whole story hasn’t been written yet, and when it is, history will be kinder to him than his contemporary critics.

That more measured study of the Iraq War is already underway. Historian Arthur Herman has a lengthy piece at Commentary that recounts the history leading up to the decision to invade Iraq. His conclusion: If Bush had not invaded Iraq, some American President eventually would have had to do it — ironically, probably either Al Gore or John Kerry.

Whatever one wants to say about the conduct of the Iraq war, going to war to remove Saddam Hussein in 2003 was a necessary act. It should and could have been done earlier, had not the Clinton White House, which understood the need, not wasted the opportunity through timidity and bluster. If, after 9/11, Bush had then blinked in his turn, he might indeed have found himself out of office by January 2005, and someone else would have had to tackle the job under much more disadvantageous conditions.

To judge by his unequivocal pronouncements pre-2003, and as improbable as it sounds now, that someone might well have been Al Gore, the erstwhile hawkish Vice President who had championed the Iraq Liberation Act, or indeed John Kerry, who back in 1998 told Scott Ritter that containment of Saddam was not working and that the time had come to use force. If Bush had failed to act, either one of these two men might have come to office in January 2005 publicly prepared to deal with the “gathering threat” that his predecessor had unaccountably allowed to grow larger and closer and ever more virulent.

Obama and the Surge

USA Today finds Obama’s position on the surge to be inexplicable.

The great irony, of course, is that the success of the surge has made Obama’s plan to withdraw combat troops in 16 months far more plausible than when he proposed it. Another irony is that while Obama downplays the effectiveness of the surge in Iraq, he is urging a similar tactic now in Afghanistan.

In other words, Obama is for the surge at the same time he is against it.

UPDATE: Ray Robison sees another irony coming out of Obama’s trip to Iraq: The attention he has drawn to conditions there may work against him.

Many Americans genuinely did not know that we have essentially won in Iraq until now. They thought that Obama was delivering the straight truth to them on Iraq. But now they know he was being less than candid. The Independents and conservative Democrats now might see that he was not telling them the truth.

That MoveOn.Org Ad

Bill Kristol scratches under the surface to reveal the real message in that anti-McCain MoveOn.org ad:

The MoveOn ad is unapologetic in its selfishness, and barely disguised in its disdain for those who have chosen to serve — and its contempt for those parents who might be proud of sons and daughters who are serving. The ad boldly embraces a vision of a selfish and infantilized America, suggesting that military service and sacrifice are unnecessary and deplorable relics of the past.

Expect more of the same.

al Qaeda Defeated?

From The Guardian, via the Jawa Report:

Dia Rashwan, an Egyptian expert on radical Islamists, says recent al-Qaida propaganda footage from Iraq is old and cannot mask the crisis it is facing. “They have not got new things to say about Iraq though they are trying to give the impression that they are still alive. The material isn’t convincing.” Nigel Inkster, former deputy head of MI6, now at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, agrees: “Al-Qaida is starting to prepare their people for strategic failure in Iraq.”

So can George W. Bush now finally declare, “Mission accomplished!”?

Next Generation Generals

Victor Davis Hanson looks at the impact that the Iraq war is having on the next generation of leadership in the U. S. military.

The annual spring list of Army colonels promoted to brigadier generals will be shortly released. Already, rumors suggest that this year, unlike in the recent past, a number of maverick officers who have distinguished themselves fighting — and usually defeating — insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq will be chosen.

These “maverick” officers have been the key to success in Iraq, although no one could have predicted it at the outset of hostilities.

The terrorist bands that sprung up during the occupation were at first dealt with through conventional tactics and weapons. Only as American and Iraqi losses mounted did a few gifted officers begin to work with the Iraqis, learn the elements of successful counterinsurgency doctrine and slowly win back the hearts and minds of the civilian population.

However, Hanson sees an historical precedent for this changing of the guard among the military’s leaders.

Most wars are rarely fought as they were planned. During the fighting, those who adjust most quickly to the unexpected tend to be successful. And in almost all of America’s past conflicts, our top commanders on the eve of war were not those who finished it.