Casting Stones

Casting Stones

Success in Iraq—can the president’s critics accept victory?

The good news from Iraq continues to accumulate. Former critics such as Anthony Cordesman have the integrity and the courage to believe their eyes when they are confronted with “major process in every area” when they visit the nation of Iraq. Cordesman went on to include that “if the U.S. provides sustained support to the Iraqi government—in security, governance, and development—there is now a very real chance that Iraq will emerge as a secure and stable state,” (Anthony Cordesman, “The Situation in Iraq: A Briefing from the Battlefield,” Feb. 13, 2008.)
There is manifold evidence of major progress in Iraq, starting at the local and regional level and now finally bubbling up to the level of the Baghdad government. The military success of the surge has opened the way for breathtaking progress in other areas. The situation in Anbar province has gone from grievous to inspiring. The response of the president’s opponents in the Congress has been “well, of course there’s been military progress against al-Qaida in Iraq,” which has been dealt devastating defeat after devastating defeat. But the president’s critics protest that the inspiring work of our soldiers has been for naught because there hasn’t been “national” reconciliation. The president’s opponents continue to raise the bar. Military success, regional reconciliation, and the fact that nearly a hundred thousand neighborhood volunteers are helping to police a near return to normalcy in Baghdad are not enough any longer.
The same people, who predicted the failure of the surge until it succeeded and then proclaimed that the positive results of the surge in producing regional reconciliation (which they predicted would never happen) are not sufficient, are now demanding nothing less than “national reconciliation.” Perhaps they demanded this because they never thought it would happen, but now it is. What a dilemma for the president’s opponents! The Iraqi parliament approved three tremendous significant pieces of legislation. First, the parliament passed a law granting substantial amnesty for prisoners, four out of five of whom are Sunni. Second, the parliament approved a $48 billion national budget (most of this is from oil revenues) that allocates government revenues to the provinces, including the Kurds and Anbar. Lastly, the parliament passed a law that returns more authority to the provinces governed by representatives to be elected in a vote by Oct. 1. While this last law has been vetoed (yet another symbol of democratic government), most observers feel that this too will be worked out by the representatives of the democratically elected Maliki government. The fact the law passed the parliament in the first place in itself should be tremendously encouraging to those who desire a stable and democratic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East.
How tragic it would be if the president’s critics, in spite of all this undeniable good news, succeeded in forcing the U.S. to withdraw its military and development support from Iraq’s government—snatching catastrophic defeat from the jaws of victory.
The question has to be asked—do the president’s critics detest him so much that they are willing for their country and the cause of freedom to suffer defeat in order to deny President Bush vindication? I hope not.

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O. Blivius

posted March 14, 2008 at 9:49 am

Victory over what, exactly? I have steadfastly maintained that the U.S. had no business invading Afghanistan or Iraq in the first place. We are not the world’s police force; we are but one nation among the nations of the earth. There was and is no credible evidence that either of these countries–or even their leaders–had anything to do with the 9/11/2001 attacks on the most visible symbols of Americanism.
As I have also steadfastly maintained, no existing democracy was ever founded by a foreign power, however benevolent or well-meaning. Only when a people have had all they can stomach of dictators and other despots will they rise up and take matters into their own hands. This happened in France; it happened in Russia; it happened here. It needs to happen in Iraq if their is ever to be a lasting republican regime.
That a modicum of stability has been restored to a nation that our forces single-handedly destabiized–after eight bloody years of war–should not be surprising. Indeed, it’s long overdue. What is much more troubling is the fact that this president, who began his first term by returning–mostly to his monied cronies–over two trillion dollars of surplus Federal assets (the first time our government had been “in the black” since FDR was president) to the taxpayers, is now gouging us to the tune of nearly a quarter-billion dollars a day to prosecute an unnecessary and immoral war.
To call this so-called “war on terrorism” Operation Iraqi Freedom is a dark farce. It has nothing to do with making Iraq free. One needs only witness the uncontested appointment of “contractors” Blackwater and Halliburton to see this global crime for what it is: an opportunity for some really rich and powerful individuals to capitalize on the unfortunate accomplishments of some other really insane individuals (i.e., the terrorists) to make some really big bucks by profiteering by the untold misery of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. What else is new? No wonder Bush is known around the world as “The American Hitler”!

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