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August 05, 2007

Comments

Anonymous Is A Woman

Chris, I read the original Times op-ed article by those two Brookings analysts. While it was more optimistic than in the past, it was a very guarded optimism. It suggested that we could win, in some sense, over there and that there might be grounds for hope because some of the Sunni leaders were getting disillusioned with groups like al Qaeda in Iraq and some Shia leaders were getting equally disgruntled by Moqtar al Sadr's Army.

These leaders are more willing to work with Americans than in the past because they are getting tired of both Sunni and Shia extremists who keep trying to institute Sharia law. And that's the basis of the hope that the Brookings analysts write about.
And if they're right, it is a tremendous step in the right direction. But it's still a big if. Although they are willing to work with us, there is still tremendous distrust among the various factions themselves. And that still does not bode well for a lasting peace there.

So this piece was nowhere near as optimistic as you, or Kristol, imply here. It simply was more hopeful than the dire assessments of the past.

And nothing would make me happier than to see those analysts be right. But some of the news coming out since then has undercut their arguments.

Democrats don't want defeat in Iraq. Even if they don't like Bush, they do not dislike their country. Stop equating Bush with America. And stop equating anybody who disagrees with his policies with terrorists. It's sloppy thinking. People can disagree on the policy without wishing for disaster for their country.

A new strategy is needed to get American troops safely out of Iraq. And by that I mean safely for us and for the Iraqis.

Isophorone

Anonymous,

First of all, I am glad that you want the optimists to be right. Precious few people actually say that.

I think the point of the Kristol article is that given how negative the MSM (and particularly the NY Times) have been, seeing any kind of positive, optimistic statement is a major sea change. The more positive news has been relegated to blogs, Michael Yon, and sometimes the more conservatively editorial newspapers or Fox News Channel. Typically, the more left-leaning news outlets have been behind the curve, and once again the positive news items threaten to overwhelm them.

"Democrats don't want defeat in Iraq. Even if they don't like Bush, they do not dislike their country. Stop equating Bush with America. And stop equating anybody who disagrees with his policies with terrorists. It's sloppy thinking. People can disagree on the policy without wishing for disaster for their country."

I have to disagree with you partly. I think that some Democrats are so driven with anger at Bush, or are so greedy in seeking political advantage, that they would do anything to bnring him down even at the expense of our troops. Look at the Kos crowd. The fact that most of the Democratic candidates choose to speak before these radicals and snub their own Democratic Leadership Council is not reassuring. Now among the Democratic candidates, it is easy to see that there are foreign policy differences (with Joe Biden being the least immature), but having any one of them actually in power would not bode well for defending this country against foreign threats, IMHO.

I might also add that several Democrats criticize Bush for actions they approved President doing. One cannot help but apply the cynical "Say no to war unless a Democrat is President label."

I have taken to asking critics of the Iraq liberation what are their criteria for justifying American military action. Usually, I am met with silence, or such a ludicrous explanation that makes Clinton's, or for that matter FDR's European involvement in WWII, illegitimate when following such "logic."

Unfortunately, at the very left end of the Democratic spectrum, there are those (a small, but significant and loud minority) who are pretty openly sympathetic with the old communist regimes (Cuba/North Korea apologists), or those whose opposition to the War on Terror are driven by anti-Israeli/anti-Jewish prejudices.

Now I don't equate those who disagree with Bush's policies with terrorists and their sympathizers. I hope you don't equate those who oppose left-wing economic and social policies with racists the way many left-wing advicates do.

"A new strategy is needed to get American troops safely out of Iraq. And by that I mean safely for us and for the Iraqis."

The technical term for that strategy is "Victory." If you study American (or, for that matter, world history) history, you will see that many wars involved major shifts in tactics and strategy in order to achieve victory and win the peace afterwards. The strategies include both military operations as well as the public relations war.

Look, to some extent both here and in Iraq "everyone loves a winner." There are a lot of people in this country who are war weary, partly because they are not getting the complete picture in the news, and partly because extended involvement in any conflict will do that. In Iraq, positive and negative developments can often take a cyclical turn. We are getting more cooperation from Sunni and Shiite leaders partly because the military successes and new offenses have developed critical mass, which in turn feed more military success. These successes, in turn, have helped reduce the rate of U.S. casualties, something even the MSM cannot ignore, which I suppose has led to more of the media outlets reporting positive developments.

OK, sorry to be so long-winded. I for one do appreciate your perspective.

Chris,

This is a bit off-topic, but I have another book for you: "Our First Revolution" by Michael Barone. In it, he tells the story of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 in England. There are a lot of people, events, and dates, but there are some great nuggets about military strategies, trade, economic development, propaganda wars, etc. The book reads pretty well.

Isophorone

"I might also add that several Democrats criticize Bush for actions they approved President doing."

EDITORIAL NOTE: This should have read "I might also add that several Democrats criticize Bush for actions they approved President CLINTON doing." Sorry about that.

Anonymous Is A Woman

Thanks for the book recommendation and the carefully thought out reply. I for one don't mind at all that it was "long winded." It showed you cared enough to respond. And I'm frequently long winded too :)

A couple of quick points. First, no I don't equate conservatives with racists. Not at all. But I get tired of some conservatives calling all liberals socialists. There is a real difference between socialism and liberalism. Real liberals don't want the government to seize control of industry or nationalize it. They want to spend money on social programs but they would be happy to do it through public-private partnerships.

We may disagree about what programs are worth spending money on and about raising taxes and even the degree to which certain industries (like food and drugs for safety reasons) should be regulated.

But basically, we are both for free trade (although I would throw in a few regulations to make the playing field more level). But I certainly wouldn't want to see the government seizing corporations and running them. I do believe in private property. And I believe in helping people, but I don't believe in "from each according to his means to each according to his need." I realize there will always be some inequality.

So, I get tired of being tarred with a brush that's not accurate.

Didn't mean to divert the conversation from Iraq, but I don't think conservatives are racists or facists and I wish they wouldn't think we are all socialists.

And I tend to agree with you about the Daily Kos crowd and some of the far left. Both righties and lefties have that burden to bear - those who are, shall we say, a bit over enthusiastic about their ideology (and probably are actually nuts).

Anyway, my brief points turned out to be quite long winded too, my turn to apologize.

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