Spinning the War in Iraq

When I read the article in this week’s New York Times, where Brookings Institution scholars Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack argue that “[w]e are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms.” I was elated; when the New York Times has to acknowledge that we might have a chance to win in Iraq, then we are well on the way to doing so. Even so, though…my second thought was that the Left will, somehow, spin this to be a negative, also.

 Sure enough, in today’s Slate magazine, Phillip Carter, an Iraq veteran (it says), posted an article titled “Irrelevant Exuberance: Why the good news from Iraq doesn’t matter.” In this article, he states: 

“But in emphasizing this aspect of current operations, they downplay the more critical questions relating to political progress and the ability of Iraq’s national government to actually govern. Security is not an end in itself. It is just one component, albeit an important one, of a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy. Unless it is paired with a successful political strategy that consolidates military gains and translates increased security into support from the Iraqi people, these security improvements will, over time, be irrelevant.

 One has to be continually flabbergasted by the inability of the Left to welcome success. We all know people like this; whatever you suggest, they will tell you that it can’t be done. No matter how you argue that it can, and bring examples of how it is being done, they will tell you that you are fooling yourself, and you don’t understand the world shattering implications of your effort. You might as well not try, because you can never succeed.

 Here we see a perfect example. For five years, we have been drummed with doom and gloom about how we cannot defeat our enemies. Before our efforts in Afghanistan, we were reminded of failed British, Russian, and Indian efforts to defeat the tribesmen in Afghanistan, and we would face thousands of body bags before we were done. When 12 Special Forces men organized the Afghan tribesmen to beat the Taliban for us, the Left never admitted they were wrong; they saved it for Iraq, where we were, again, warned of thousands of body bags, and years of effort to defeat the Iraqi army, which was dug in and had weapons of mass destruction. When we took Baghdad, with hardly a fight, we were then told the Shi’a and Sunni would never get along, and we can’t get this country organized into one government. When 70% of the Iraqi people risked their lives to come out and vote for a Constitution, when we formed a stable government, and an Iraqi army, we were told that the Iraqis can never learn to fight for themselves. When we finally got Congress to agree to submit to a surge, we are told by another Slate contributor, Fred Kaplan, that the surge cannot work.

 Now that we have an article by knowledgeable sources, Liberals who had previously been as adamant that the our efforts in Iraq cannot work, writing that it is, indeed, working, that the Iraqi army is, indeed, fighting for itself, and is close to becoming a potent force that does not need the United States, we are told that it doesn’t matter…because we lack a ‘comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy.’

 What utter nonsense. My first answer to this doom and gloom message is that we are Americans; we have proven, time and time again, that we can do the impossible, and have never failed at a goal which we have set for ourselves. We built the Panama Canal, when the world said it couldn’t be done. We built the Hoover Dam. We sent men to the moon. If we need a ‘comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy,’ we shall get a ‘comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy.’

 In fact, though, they totally misinterpret what we are trying to do in Iraq. It cannot be our goal to solve all of Iraq’s problems. In fact, it would be absolutely wrong to solve all of Iraq’s problems. The Iraqis, themselves, must come to their own solutions, precisely why we so quickly worked to form an Iraqi government to do so. It is not a perfect government; no Democracy is. It too the United States ten years, and two different Constitutions, before we could be at all satisfied that our government was working, and we have had numerous Amendments to our Constitution to make up for perceived difficulties.

 Our purpose in Iraq is to give the Iraqis the tools to solve their own problems; to build an Iraqi army that is capable of defending itself, and taking the fighting to the enemy. To ensure that the government is working and stable, and is able to solve its problems…and to fix the infrastructure of the country to the point where the Iraqi people can be self-sufficient.

 That is it. We are not looking for an Iraq which is a perfect model of a safe-secure country. Considering the Middle East, where it is, that would be foolish. There will be fighting all over the Middle East for years, and hopefully we can fight along with the Iraqis to make the region better off for themselves.

 The Left cannot see this, though. For the Left, any success is an intrusion on their vision of a world where everyone is more capable than they are, where conspiracies are alive all around them, and, as every Democratic Presidential candidate, and many Senators, such as Senator Charles Schumer admitted, where the Left is simply too stupid not to be duped. Those in power are, at the same time, too stupid to govern, but smart enough to beat them, confuse and delude the Left into doing what the party in power wants them to.

 We are winning in Iraq. General Petraeus will give a report highlighting our current level of success, and telling us that, with just a little more time, we can be successful. It is the Left’s greatest nightmare; not only because it will make them look as if they do not know what they are talking about, and have fought every effort to pursue what is going to be a successful war…but moreso because it demonstrates, to themselves, that they are incapable. They were wrong, they are wrong, and their world view is such that they will be wrong in the future.

 One would almost feel sorry for them.

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