Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reality Does Matter You Know 

Kimberly Kagan contributes a piece in today's Wall Street Journal($) which I recommend you read in full. In her essay, Kagan asserts with great force that the surge is in fact working. And working exceedingly well. And quickly.

Now, for someone who has argued for ages that we already won "the war," it comes as no particular surprise that, once again, our military is executing a counterinsurgency campaign brilliantly that will quite naturally "work."

Why? We have a devious and brutal enemy. In deviousness and brutality, they exceed us at every turn. That is sad. Fortunately, the enemy are for the most part unable to compete with our forces' superiority in just about every other aspect of fighting. You can't simply dismiss deviousness and brutality. But for effectiveness, efficiency, training, intelligence, capability and utility, you simply cannot top the American military.

The current political charade going on in Washington is almost not to be believed. If it isn't apparent to every elected person that we are on the battlefield against Al Qaeda, I cannot imagine what narcotic the exceptions must be taking. We have joined the battle against the largest concentration of Al Qaeda combatants currently in the field. It is a battle taking place at a time and place of our choice (their territorial center), not theirs. And we are destroying them in each encounter. This is one of the myriad articulated reasons why we went to the heart of Arabia. So you can begin to check off another objective achieved -- let's see -- 1) Saddam regime gone; 2) heirs gone; 3) popular government elected; 4) constitution adopted; 5) Al Qaeda in Iraq engaged and defeated (okay, its not over yet, but we know how much I believe in our military capability).

Add to this the immense pressure we have imposed on the Iranian theocracy. They are surrounded by our military along every front. They have extended their resources across the peninsula to Syria, Lebanon and now Gaza. They are supporting an otherwise natural enemy in Al Qaeda. The economic pressure they are feeling is intense -- in spite of their vast oil reserves, Iran is rationing gas supplies. They are now required to fund the destitute Syrian tyranny, Hezbollah and Hamas (since the US and Europe no longer do). And, read the results of this Iranian opinion poll from today's Wall Street Journal ($) authored by Ken Ballen to appreciate the internal pressure for democracy being felt by the Mullahs. While they try to build nuclear weapons and confront the US and the west, Iran simultaneously in closing down TV stations and the press and repressing students at university. How long can that last?

Finally, I would observe that we have benefitted from Pakistan's renewed vigor in the fight against Al Qaeda as well, both in the Red Mosque battle yesterday in which certain significant radical islamic leadership perished, and in activity in Quetta and Waziristan.

Of course, that grand military strategist General Sulzberger missed all that. Sigh.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jul 11, 12:21:00 PM:

#1 Saddam gone OK he will not be missed by many
#2 Heirs gone ditto
#3 Popular government elected Iraq has a government ??? What exactly is it that they accomplish ? I do know that the largest voting block supporting Maliki is the Sadarists and they are certainly no friends of the USA they like Iran much more than us.
#4 Constitution adopted. Well yes but we also told the Iraqi sovereign (?) government no summer vacation until you change it to one we (Sunnis) like more with oil revenue divided better instead of just to the Shia and the Kurds.
#5 Al queda defeated in Iraq ?? How about al Queda CREATED in Iraq. As for being defeated I see no substantial decrease in their numbers or their ability to act. Perhaps you are still believing that their recent actions are "the last death throes of the insurgencey  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jul 11, 01:39:00 PM:


Please. The Iraqis have to deal with a number of political parties to get a cabinet together and produce legislation. There is also a war going on.

The Dems operate as the majority in a two party Congress and they manage to get one, repeat one, part of their platform through (minimum wage), tacked on to the back of a defence bill.

Yes the Iraqis are certainly scofflaws.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Wed Jul 11, 02:02:00 PM:

As for being defeated I see no substantial decrease in their numbers or their ability to act.

Having your head firmly inserted in your rectum will do that. It must be kinda dark in there and not much news gets through.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jul 11, 02:15:00 PM:

Defeating al Qaeda has become more a case of defeating the elite press, most especially the Times, than a military issue. Whatever one thinks of the beginnings of our involvement, I believe our country's strategic and security interests will be better served finishing the job as best we can than by retreat to fortress America.

If the Times editorial board believe some result will occur in Iraq other than an al Qaeda dominated takeover of at least the Sunni portion of the country by us leaving, I'd like to understand what they think that result will be.

It's should be clear, even to dimwits, that today, in Iraq and elsewhere, we are fighting to prevent even more death, more destruction of civilization, inhuman horrors, impoverishment, brutality on an unimaginable scale and constant, growing war all over the world. Is that not a worthwhile fight?

I realize the "fight more war for peace" meme is a favorite of the anti-war faction in the blogosphere, but responsible politicians recognize that for the adolescent silliness it is, so please spare me the false irony postings.

Sulzberger never earned his position and consequently feels little real responsibility in exercising it. What isn't earned is little valued. If he felt a grand statement, like the editorial position they've now openly taken, is in any way justified he has an obligation to answer the question of "what next?". He doesn't. The Times' position is convenient to them politically, and they are not looking past the 2008 election cycle in their analysis of the problem. The impact of any decision we make in Iraq or anywhere else for that matter is viewed only through that very narrow, self-defeating lens. It's a disgusting abrogation of civil responsibility.

Ultimately, financial distress and a change in control will solve the problem. If NewsCorp thought they had a clear run at the Journal the Times would be an even simpler take-over, though perhaps of lesser interest.


By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Wed Jul 11, 02:58:00 PM:

Purple - I will give you full credit. No LOL. I am LAUGHING OUT LOUD. By the way, not only is it hard to see, but I unless I am mistaken, it would be terribly difficult to hear anything as well given the compression. Oh my, the laughter, the tears...

Andrew - great post. you make 2 wonderful points. One, the Sulzberger scion is a reckless buffoon, the idiot son who hasn't earned his position. A remarkable perspective which I'd never previously appreciated. It does explain alot.

Second, I think Murdoch's acquisition of the WSJ, in which I have to believe he will succeed, will hasten the financial collapse of the NYT and the LAT and Boston Globe as well. In much the same way as Fox has decimated CNN, Murdoch ownership of the WSJ will really deal the NYT a death blow I think. And unlike CNN, which has the massive Time Warner balance sheet to mask its financial issues, the NYT has no place to hide.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jul 11, 03:09:00 PM:

CP -- the elite has no interest in fighting AQ whatsoever. They in fact romanticize and back AQ.

AQ does not threaten their power, their control over the media, government, academy, Hollywood, music, and much of social life and Identity Politics organizations.

FIGHTING AQ in any way, here, Iraq, Afghanistan, anywhere DOES threaten that power. Because it makes the elites useless. Of what value are Pinch or Valerie Plame? If I wanted a clueless media heir or trophy wife, well the salons of NYC and DC cry out for that. But not so much battlefields or massive intelligence operations and detention centers.

So, the elites will go on surrendering ala Spain, until we lose three cities or so (what you reward you get more of). Then we will throw off the elites and any/all moral restraints and just start killing people wholesale.

As sad and predictable as anything.  

By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Wed Jul 11, 05:38:00 PM:

We "won"? Huh? what? Meth will not only rot your brain, but your teeth, too. Any blood on your toothbrush lately? ;-)

Should've left Saddam in in retrospect. Nice hedge against the Iranians and radical islam. After all, he was once our ally, right (ask Daddy bush), and we've backed utter scum in the past all over the world.  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Wed Jul 11, 06:16:00 PM:

CC - I appreciate both the honesty and the immorality of your position. "We should have left Saddam in place in retrospect."

The starkness of your position is extraordinary. Should we have left Hitler in place? He didn't attack us of course. Lindbergh and many others said we had no business at war with Germany.

How about Milosevic? Should we have allowed him to stay in place? Noriega?

Should we have bothered sending Pershing to join WWI in 1917? Or Pershing II Missiles in 1983?

Or was it better when we walked on our Cuban allies at the Bay of Pigs, or abandoned Imre Nagy in Hungary when the Soviet tanks rolled in.

Yes, I am not surprised you would take a comfortable positoin with Saddam. I am merely surprised you would so honestly articulate it.

I am pleased to differ with you on it.

And yes, Chris, we won. Victory in war is a simple thing. It takes a long time and hard work to rebuild and stabilize thereafter. Look at our own south after the Civil War. How long did reconstruction take?

Those who don't do war don't ever think one "wins," I guess.

Oh, yes, I don't do drugs. But I think you need your medication.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Jul 11, 09:07:00 PM:

"After all, he was once our ally, right (ask Daddy bush),"

Wrong. Not only are your terms wrong, but your timeline is screwed up.

"and we've backed utter scum in the past all over the world."

Which used to be a fact that liberals hated, because such brutal, dictatorial bastards didn't deserve our support. But I guess now, propping such tyrranies is preferable to going out into the big bad dangerous world to do the work ourselves.

Kudos to you, and the rest of your degenerate friends. You've managed to combine moral bankruptcy and abject cowardice in a way that almost resembles policy...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 12, 08:34:00 AM:

[swims up to CC's bait]


[swims away]  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 12, 01:27:00 PM:

McCain's perspective on Iraq is again worth hearing:

Leaving prematurely would induce Iraq’s neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Egypt to Israel, Turkey and others, to feel their own security eroding, and may well induce them to act in ways that prompt wider instability. The potential for genocide, wider war, spiraling oil prices, and the perception of strategic American defeat is real, Mr. President, and no vote on this floor will change that. This fight is about Iraq but not about Iraq alone. It is greater than that and more important still, about whether America still has the political courage to fight for victory or whether we will settle for defeat, with all of the terrible things that accompany it. We cannot walk away gracefully from defeat in this war. (thanks to Powerline).

Forgetting about the 2008 election cycle for a moment I think those are sentiments with which Bush would certainly agree, and probably also Hillary Clinton would agree.

The Times editorial board needs to answer McCain.


PS: I agree CP- the WSJ takeover, now all but done, will be a big threat to the Times/Globe business model. It's what we in our business like to call a "transforming event". A game changer.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jul 18, 07:21:00 AM:

Why get involved in Israel's fifty year long destablisation of the countries around it?

God help Iraq, that they have oil beneath their soil. The American wars would not be fought if it were not the case.  

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