Thursday, December 13, 2007

Iraq: We're fighting for the ability to keep on fighting

Mathew Yglesias (via Andrew Sullivan) hits the nail on the head in his analysis of retired Army colonel Douglas Macgregor’s recent piece in Mother Jones magazine when he says,

The trouble is that the war's rationale has become circular -- "success" means success at putting the military engagement on a sustainable basis. We're fighting for the ability to keep on fighting. But sustaining that posture keeps making the United States and our position in the world as a whole weaker and weaker.

It wasn’t that long ago that there was hope for the transformation of Iraq into reasonably secular, reasonably democratic, economically affluent and stable state from a decades old brutally repressive dictatorship. What resulted from the downfall of Baath rule has been low-level multiple civil wars, a dysfunctional central government, out-of-control crime, an open door to Al Qada and other terrorist groups, approximately two million refugees who have fled the country, approximately two million internally displaced Iraqis, the break-up of the country into three semi-autonomous sections, and outside interference from neighbors whose motives are not benevolent.

Success has been defined down so that now the “surge” has succeeded in stabilizing the conflict so that the United States can reduce the number of troops in Iraq to pre-surge levels. Mind you, the success we're hearing about is not an end to the conflict but stabilization of it (for now). We’re fighting for the ability to keep on fighting while steadily losing ground to enemies and losing credibility with allies both in and out of Iraq. That’s some success.

Macgregor’s article can be found here.

1 comment:

Comrade Kevin said...

We have become so conditioned to hyperbole in this country, particularly in the reporting of events that when events like this are not phrased in big exclamation points and dire prophecies, we lose all interest or focus on other events which ARE couched in these terms.

I admit to being skeptical we could begin to win a war like this. Indeed, a cursory study of history will reveal that the best any occupying force can muster against a determined enemy using unorthodox tactics is containment.