Harry Reid has declared the war in Iraq "lost" and our generals "incompetent". But Dafydd ab Hugh at Big Lizards Blog is skeptical.
“...[U]nder a more realistic set of victory conditions, we're actually doing pretty well:
We overthrew Saddam Hussein and the Baathists;
We killed his demented offspring;
We drove Iraqis to vote for a constitution;
We got them to elect a parliament -- twice!
We built up the most powerful Arab army in the region and have worked with the Iraqis to professionalize the army and the national police;
We rebuilt a huge amount of the infrastructure in Iraq, replacing the crumbling antiquities left behind by a couple years of war and decades of rule by Hussein;
We helped turn the Sunni tribesmen away from al-Qaeda, and now they are actually at war with the jihadis;
We have pretty effectively stifled the Mahdi Militia and the Badr Organization (the two main Shiite extremist paramilitary groups), such that neither actually runs the government (as many expected they would);
We have pretty much pacified 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces, and we are now bringing a counterinsurgency campaign to bear on the last three: Anbar, Diyala, and Baghdad;
And we did this all for a cost of about 3,500 American soldiers over four years. While every loss of a soldier or Marine is a personal tragedy, it's still an extraordinarily low number by warfare standards -- especially considering what we have accomplished."
I have several points of my own to add:
While our military has been engaged in Iraq, many thousands of Islamist jihadis have also been engaged there, and thousands of them have fallen under our guns, a point seldom acknowledged in the pages of the New York Times. Also, while thus engaged, Islamist terrorists have been unable to strike another blow for their cause against our civilian population on our own shores, even though they have vowed publicly to do so. Because of our own vigilance since Sep. 11, 2001, many attempts have been discovered and thwarted.
Rosie O’ Donnell proclaimed on the View that over 600,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of our troop presence in Iraq, “so who are the real terrorists?”, she asks. But the truth is that the vast majority of actual Iraqi deaths, as opposed to those in the imagination of Ms. O’ Donnell, have been the result of Baathists and al Qaeda terrorists attacking Iraqi civilians and police, civil officers, legislators, mayors, etc., in a bloody attempt to sway the struggle of the Iraqi people for democracy and independence. Every time a terrorist suicide bomb kills an Iraqi, his or her family is either cowed into submission to the terrorists, or they resolve to resist however they can. The terrorists are not winning hearts and minds of the Iraqi people by indiscriminately killing men, women, and children. It’s a strategy that will, in fact, already is failing.
There is actually only one way that the current situation in Iraq is similar to the conflict in Vietnam, and that is the certainty of a bloodbath if our forces were to withdraw precipitously. The Baathists and al Qaeda would swoop into the vacuum that would be left, and blood would flow in the streets much like the sewage that flows there now.
There are reports of many thousands of Iraqis fleeing the country for other more peaceful countries. The vast majority of them are Sunnis. For many decades the Sunnis have had the wealth and power in Iraq, but not the numbers. The American troop presence in Iraq has upset that balance of power, and Sunnis, seeing which way the wind is blowing, and being unwilling to share their wealth and their power, but being unable to maintain it, are abandoning Iraq in droves.
The post, entitled “the Omnipotence Illusion”, by Dafydd ab Hugh at Big Lizards Blog, is well worth reading. Here’s a link: http://biglizards.net/blog/archives/2007/06/omnipotence_fal.html