And If My Aunt Grows Balls

She’ll be my uncle:

We don’t know what the future will bring, but so far the period between May and November 2007 ranks as one of the most dramatic changes in the perception of a war that we’ve experienced.

And if the past is any guide, there will be fundamental political adjustments from the trivial of pundits repositioning themselves by simple silence about the war, or suggestions they were never really anti-war, or that the improvements came only because of their principled criticism — to the fundamental of having the entire leadership of the Democratic either ignore Iraq, claim the victory was not worth the commensurate cost of the last four plus years, or take proprietorship over Gen. Petraeus’s success — anything other than demanding a timetable for complete withdrawal with an admission of de facto defeat in the manner of the now infamous NY Times editorial.

If Iraq is stable by spring of next year, the entire political landscape here at home will be altered. And more importantly the reputation of the U.S. Army will be not just restored but deservedly at an all time high of fighting a counterinsurgency war in almost impossible conditions-and defeating insurgents while gaining the trust of the local population, something thought almost impossible after Vietnam, Haiti, and Somalia.

It is hard to imagine a more complete display of sneering triumphalism than that gem offered up by Victor Davis Hanson at NRO, and as such, it is probably just mean-spirited to point out that what Hanson is actually celebrating is that the violence is now down to the levels where it was deemed so bad that we needed the surge in the first place. Huzzah! That isn’t to diminish the good news of late- less violence and fewer dead civilians and soldiers is undeniably good news, and I am glad to hear it. It is, however, with no accompanying political reconciliation (the stated goal of the surge), and with the surge ending, I might suggest it is a touch early to be breaking out the champagne bottles or erecting ‘Mission Accomplished’ banners.

Regardless, I will make Hanson a deal- if things continue to get better, and if Iraq is stable (and I mean stable, not just “as violent as it was a year ago” stable, but actually stable, with real political progress), I will be the first to throw $100.00 into a fund for a statue of George Bush, complete with the Powerline’s paean to his genius etched into the base, as long as we begin to bring the troops home. If it isn’t stable, Hanson will promise to be the first to call for an immediate troop drawdown and a timetable for complete withdrawal.

It is a bet I hope to lose, because I want a stable Iraq. I also want our troops home.

*** Update ***

This too, seems to be exceptionally good news:

In a dramatic turnaround, more than 3,000 Iraqi families driven out of their Baghdad neighborhoods have returned to their homes in the past three months as sectarian violence has dropped, the government said Saturday.

Saad al-Azawi, his wife and four children are among them. They fled to Syria six months ago, leaving behind what had become one of the capital’s more dangerous districts—west Baghdad’s largely Sunni Khadra region.

More news like this would certainly make me happy.






57 replies
  1. 1
    Tim says:

    those are some long-ass sentences VDH is throwin’ down.

  2. 2
    nightjar says:

    This should give us a better idea if things have really changed

    “Are they ready to go it alone? No. We understand that,” says one senior US Defense official. “But if you keep them in spring practice, they will never gain confidence.”

  3. 3
    Thom says:

    What they will forever ignore and what will therefore never be resolved is that the war shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Hanson’s and the RW’s in general crowing about a decrease in violence might as well be a father crowing about less of his children being killed. Because he killed them all.

  4. 4
    Rick Taylor says:

    The trouble is the dabate on both sides of the issue has been so simplistic. We’re winning! We’re losing! There’s very little discussion about what our goals are and what the big picture is; almost none.

    So far, this is my favorite discussion of the recent developments in Iraq. The whole thing is worth reading,and I linked to it before. An exerpt:

    During the Petraeus-Crocker hearings six weeks ago, American public attention to Iraq peaked. Then the moment passed, and everyone pretty much stopped talking about Iraq once it became clear that Petraeus had given wavering Republicans the cover they needed. Fine – nobody really expected anything else. What bothers me more is what has happened since then. With the immediate domestic political moment past, the post-hearing period could have become a moment of real reflection about American strategy in Iraq. But it hasn’t. Instead of reflection, we’ve gotten relaxation and a change of topic (along with the opening of the new front between Turkey and the Kurdish zone).

    That’s a shame. Because so much of the Iraq debate has now turned into exactly what we once promised to avoid: political arguments about body counts, while completely ignoring the political dimension which the Petraeus counter-insurgency manual recognized as so crucial. We need to stop falling into the trap of arguing about the momentary success or failure of tactics. 3 fewer US soldiers died last week than in a similar period last year – we’ve won! Iraqi insurgents launched 157 attacks last week compared to 163 in a similar period last year – they’ve lost! Even worse, it seems like the US is committing the cardinal sin of once again falling victim to our own propaganda, believing our own spin, and substituing domestic public opinion management for hard thought about where we’re heading. The relatively uncritical approach to the good news narratives now coming out of Iraq is eerily reminiscent of so many earlier periods of “good news from Iraq”. Forget Iran – even in the coverage of Iraq it’s as if we’ve learned nothing from the last four years.

    Body counts are only one small part of a much larger puzzle. What I want to know is not the day to day casualty trends, or good news stories from some carefully selected hamlet, or the latest assassination of an Awakening shaykh. I want to know: does the devolution to the local level make strategic sense, even if it reaps short-term tactical sense? Towards what endpoint are the tactics leading? Do we want to see a unified Iraq with a sustainable political accord – the official goal of American policy, as Undersecretary of State Nick Burns reminded the DACOR audience yesterday? If so, are American political and military tactics encouraging or discouraging such an outcome?

  5. 5
    RSA says:

    It is a bet I hope to lose, because I want a stable Iraq. I also want our troops home.

    This would be great. I’ll add one further hope: that if the Iraq war reaches a peaceful resolution within the next year, the Bush administration does not take this as evidence that attacking Iran would be a good idea. (I realize that among the neocons, the current state of Iraq is a good enough reason to attack Iran, but still, I can hope for everyone else.)

  6. 6
    maxbaer (not the original) says:

    I’ll add one further hope: that if the Iraq war reaches a peaceful resolution within the next year, the Bush administration does not take this as evidence that attacking Iran would be a good idea.

    That’s the thing that worries me. I’d be willing to say that invading Iraq was the most brilliant idea ever and a crippling blow to islamofascism, as long as we don’t do anything comparable for the next 50 to 100 years.

  7. 7
    r€nato says:

    I guess neo-cons still haven’t learned much about hubris.

  8. 8

    There’s very little discussion about what our goals are and what the big picture is; almost none.

    It’s a bit hard to have that discussion when the Bush administration has never–and I’m not exaggerating here–never said precisely what its goals are or what the big picture is. You think Vietnam was directionless? That war was a model of solid goals compared to this catastrofuck of a war.

    In order for there to be a discussion of the type you envision, the Bush administration has to give us some idea outside of vague comments about victory and democracy f exactly what they want to accomplish, and so far, they’ve refused to do so, because if they do, they can be held accountable for just how shitty a job they’ve done so far.

  9. 9
    Ned R. says:

    Thing about VDH’s piece of puffery is that he’s only saying it to boost himself up. He’s clearly hoping he’s on the right side of history because otherwise all his many earlier glowing posts over the past few years will make him an unavoidable laughing stock (as opposed to a conditional one). It’s not an exercise in sneering triumphalism, it’s an exercise in self-motivation, and as such reads about at the level of Leo Buscaglia.

  10. 10
    racrecir says:

    How about if Hanson agrees to spread the credit around.

  11. 11
    wasabi gasp says:

    Hello, I’m the mission. My name is Earl.

    (That’s how my Gra’mammy would pronounce it anyhooz.)

  12. 12
    Buck says:

    Most any war is winnable, if you stay in it long enough and throw enough money and human fodder at it.

    Do you think Hanson gives a damn about the deaths of all those Iraqi civilians? Do you think he gives a damn about the deaths of our young servicemen? Does he mind that our coffers are bare? That it’ll take a full generation or so to repay the debt?

    No. I don’t think he does. Party before country. A bet before humanity. Those are the things Hanson gives a damn about.

  13. 13
    Mark S. says:

    This is the same bs the right wing says anytime there’s any good news coming out of Iraq, but I found this interesting:

    And more importantly the reputation of the U.S. Army will be not just restored but deservedly at an all time high . . .

    No, dipshit, it’s not the army’s reputation on the line: it’s you and your neocon buddies’ reputations that are on the line. No one is blaming the army for not succeeding in a hopeless scenario; they are blaming the idiots who got us into it in the first place.

  14. 14
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    The reports I’m seeing suggest that the current dimunition in violence (as John says) has very little to do with any reconciliation between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites — which, of course, is a necessity to resolve the situation, and without which the violence level will simply start rising again the moment we absolutely have to start drawing our troop levels back down for logistical reasons next spring. (Note that those Sunnis have returned to one part of Baghdad — which is still partitioned up between majority Shiite regions and heavily fenced minority Sunnis districts — for one reason and one reason alone: al-Sadr has ordered his militia to stand down for the moment. Anyone care to take bets on that continuing after we pull out?)

    And still more to the point, even a totally successful resolution of the situation in Iraq is strategically trivial compared to the need to reduce the nuclear dangers we currently face from pakistan, North Korea and Iran.

    As for VDH: well, shucks, anyone who spent the last four years until the Surge started yelling that we didn’t NEED any more troops in Iraq — that we only needed to have the ones already there be far more ruthless about inflicting civilian casualties — is not really in any position to be crowing about the supposed strategic errors of his opponents. But then, of course, if he didn’t do so shamelessly and loonily, he wouldn’t be an Iraq Neocon.

  15. 15
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Yes, that Christian Science Monitor piece that Nighjar linked to is REALLY encouraging:

    “The Iraqis seem ready, even if they are still shaky, as a recent operation illustrated. And militants have infiltrated both the Army and the police and continue to tip off insurgents to imminent operations, say US officers.

    “On Tuesday, for example, about 450 Iraqi soldiers and policemen and 60 US soldiers, backed by heavy US air support, made their way to villages in the remote northeastern corner of Salahaddin.

    “They carried a list of 12 militant-cell leaders they hoped to capture. But when they got there, all they found were women and children: no militants.

    “In one case, a woman was questioned about the whereabouts of her sons. She told an Iraqi police officer that they had gone fishing and would be back in two weeks. But after the Iraqi unit found two mortar launchers in her home, she admitted militants had just been in her village and that they executed 20 people and terrorized the village. She said that there was nothing she could do…

    “Army Lt. Col. David Hsu, who leads the US Army team advising the Iraqis and accompanied them that day, says it’s very conceivable that the people on the wanted list were tipped off by Iraqi soldiers. ‘It’s a huge concern,’ he says. ‘There are elements in Army, police, and [concerned local citizens] that work with insurgents.’

    ” ‘Concerned local citizens’ is a catch-all phrase that US forces use to describe tribal leaders and civilians who may have previously sympathized with insurgents or collaborated with them but have now declared their support for US and Iraqi forces.”

  16. 16
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    VDH’s lamentably premature victory dance reminded me of this Gahan Wilson Cartoon which was circulating around while I was in the Mekong Delta. That was another war wherein the Hansons of the time kept coming up with “proof” that we were winning. Like anyone else who’s lost and doesn’t know where he’s going we keep turning corners and we keep winding up in the same place.

  17. 17
    ConservativelyLiberal says:

    Another reason things are settling down is that the areas that have been hardest hit with strife are essentially ethnically cleansed now. All that is happening is the population of Iraq is stratifying, and the government is essentially doing the same thing. Thus the reduced fighting. The presence of additional troops is helping to suppress fighting, but the insurgents know that all they have to do is snipe at us for now and wait us out. We can’t sustain the ‘Surge’, and they know their chance will come again.

    Nothing is getting resolved, there is no real progress on any front other than fewer deaths (which is great!). Still, IMO it is a powderkeg that is only waiting for the fuse to be lit again.

    And chances are it will be blow up again. As long as the government over there can’t resolve anything and move forward, nothing really changes. All we are doing is propping up the ‘house’ right now, we did not build a new foundation for it. If we step away for a second, the house will collapse in a heartbeat.

  18. 18
    jcricket says:

    That quote was long and windy. Sum it up for me. How many FUs until things are all un-FUBARed in Iraq and we can send the troops home?

  19. 19
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Well, actually, Mr. Cricket, VDH didn’t say much of anything other than what Cole quotes him as saying — that things are really improving (without any further description whatsoever of this, possibly because that would require him to talk about the lack of political progress that serves as a deadly Achilles heel for that “progress”), and that, boy, if we win this war after all, won’t all those old sourpusses that said we couldn’t look silly? (As I say, Hanson himself has already managed to look ridiculous by suddenly dropping his long-time very shrill song that we didn’t need a Surge at all, but only needed our existing troops to be more bloodthirsty and indiscriminate in who they shot.)

  20. 20
    Svensker says:

    Army Lt. Col. David Hsu, who leads the US Army team advising the Iraqis and accompanied them that day, says it’s very conceivable that the people on the wanted list were tipped off by Iraqi soldiers. ‘It’s a huge concern,’ he says. ‘There are elements in Army, police, and [concerned local citizens] that work with insurgents.’

    Remind me again, who’s on “our” side, and who’s the enemy? And what is our goal in Iraq (besides having a US-friendly government, a pipeline to Haifa, and a base to bomb the crap out of the rest of the M.E. at will)?

    In short, what is the point of the whole shebang?

  21. 21
    Perry Como says:

    If Victor Davis Hanson grew balls, he could be your uncle too.

  22. 22
    KCinDC says:

    Forgive me if I wait for some confirmation before referring to anything where the source is “the government said” as good news. Statistics about what’s happening in Iraq that come from the US government or the Iraqi government aren’t exactly the most unbiased or scientifically determined numbers.

    When the news media are able to wander around Iraq freely, without escort, and give us reports about the situation, then maybe I’ll believe things are settling down. Of course, that’ll probably be because everyone that someone wanted to kill is already dead or fled.

  23. 23

    It is a bet I hope to lose, because I want a stable Iraq.

    Well, you’re obviously lying. As VDH craftily points out, America-hating critics like you would pretend they were rooting for us to win all along, and that things succeeded only because of your “principled criticism.”

    Just read back through the archives, and we learn from VDH’s example that war critics are evil leftist America-haters, that we have always been at war with Iraq, and we have always been winning in Iraq.

    Incidentally, we have always been at war with Iran, too.

  24. 24
    jake says:

    And if the past is any guide, ^the President will drop Iraq like an empty coke vial, get the US embroiled in another long and pointless war in the ME and I’ll be just as gung-ho for that one because I’m a brain-dead little shite who would cheerfully kill his mother for a chance to kiss the President right on the asshole.

    Fixed, muthafuka.

  25. 25

    Ha ha, here’s a fun one, “Democratic Suicide,” from May 2005. The conclusion: Democrats “will keep losing — no matter how much the economy worries, the war frightens, and the elite media scares the American people.”

    Prescient.

    I can’t read this guy without the Tek Jansen theme running through my head. Except instead of sci-fi, it’s Pelopponesian War fanfic.

    Oh, and advocating pointless wars that kill lots of people.

  26. 26
    OxyCon says:

    This too, seems to be exceptionally good news:

    In a dramatic turnaround, more than 3,000 Iraqi families driven out of their Baghdad neighborhoods have returned to their homes in the past three months as sectarian violence has dropped, the government said Saturday.

    Saad al-Azawi, his wife and four children are among them. They fled to Syria six months ago, leaving behind what had become one of the capital’s more dangerous districts—west Baghdad’s largely Sunni Khadra region.

    ==================================

    Iraqi refugees return to ‘death row’
    Many reluctantly leave safe-havens of Syria, Jordan to return to ‘death row’
    By OMAR SINAN
    Associated Press Writer
    The Associated Press
    updated 6:07 a.m. ET, Sat., Oct. 20, 2007
    DAMASCUS, Syria – Their money gone, Iman Faleh and her family packed their belongings to reluctantly return to Baghdad — a journey they said was like going to “death row.”

    The religiously mixed family — Iman is a Sunni Muslim, the others are Shiite Muslims _ fled their home in a mostly Shiite part of east Baghdad in July and took refuge in Syria, joining an estimated 1.5 million other Iraqis here.

    But in early fall, they became part of a growing wave of Iraqis leaving Syria for home, not because they are confident of Iraq’s future, but because they ran out of money.

    Others are returning because the Syrians have made it more difficult to stay. Most Iraqis cannot work legally in Syria and survive on savings or handouts from relatives.

    “Going back to Baghdad means going to `death row,'” said Iman’s 27-year-old son, Zaid, as he hauled luggage from the family’s US$1,200-a-month apartment in Damascus. “But we have no money left that could allow us to go on living here.”

    From their old home in Baghdad, Zaid said Friday that the family was trying to cope. “When we first got here we could not sleep for the first couple of nights because of the blasts and all-night-long shooting, but now it had become a routine,” he said.

    Zaid said they mostly stay inside “because it’s not safe to go out.” And they are trying to collect money to return to Syria — a goal made more uncertain by new visa requirements imposed by Damascus.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21387023/

  27. 27
    OxyCon says:

    Syria makes changes to stem the flow of Iraqi refugees
    By Thanassis Cambanis

    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    DAMASCUS: Long the only welcoming country in the region for Iraqi refugees, Syria has closed its borders to all but a small group of Iraqis and imposed new visa rules that will legally require the 1.5 million Iraqis currently in Syria to return to Iraq.

    The change quietly went into effect Oct. 1. Syrian officials have often threatened to stem the flow of refugees over the last eight months, but until now have backed down after pleas from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

    For more than a year, 2,000 to 4,000 Iraqis have fled into Syria every day, according to UN officials. On the last four days that the border remained open, the officials said, 25,000 Iraqis crossed into Syria.

    http://www.iht.com/bin/printfr.....id=7976855

  28. 28

    Hmm. Hey, help me here — those 3K people? Are they the same ones who were forced to return to Iraq because they’d run out of money in Syria? I hope that they’re not, but I have a feeling that they are.

  29. 29
    nightjar says:

    Elvisberg says

    Just read back through the archives, and we learn from VDH’s example that war critics are evil leftist America-haters, that we have always been at war with Iraq, and we have always been winning in Iraq

    Enlightening Dispatch from Uber Podperson VDH –resident of Planet Wingnut. Do Not Fall Asleep! They take you when you sleep.

  30. 30

    It is a bet I hope to lose, because I want a stable Iraq. I also want our troops home

    I’m with you on this one. I’m in for $100, and I hope to lose, as well.

  31. 31

    And more importantly the reputation of the U.S. Army will be not just restored but deservedly at an all time high . . .

    No, dipshit, it’s not the army’s reputation on the line: it’s you and your neocon buddies’ reputations that are on the line. No one is blaming the army for not succeeding in a hopeless scenario; they are blaming the idiots who got us into it in the first place.

    This reminds me of the idea common among wingnuts that this bush administration equals the U.S., i.e. if this administration fails, the country fails; or if you criticize this administration, you criticize the U.S.

    VDH and Fred Kagan are freaking HISTORIANS not military advisors. I know they are around supposedly to keep us from repeating the mistakes of the past, but I read Kagan’s “Choosing Victory” and that’s not what happened.

    k, now I’ll go read the rest of the comments. . . I’m putting off my own writing for as long as I can. It’s just too depressing.

  32. 32

    crap I forgot about the tags. . .

  33. 33
    TenguPhule says:

    If the violence ever really ends in Iraq, it will be because we killed every last man, woman and child there.

    Otherwise, it’s just business as usual.

  34. 34
    jcricket says:

    John, you need this quote from a comment at Washington Monthly regarding the worst blog posts to be Balloon Juice’s new tagline

    A tesseract of stupidity ever folding-in upon itself under the sheer weight of its own wrong assumptions.

    It’s perfect, no?

  35. 35
    Davis X. Machina says:

    What they will forever ignore and what will therefore never be resolved is that the war shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

    Precisely. If a drunk driver makes it all the way home without killing anybody, that doesn’t make his having gotten behind the wheel a wise decision, never mind a NASCAR candidate, nor is it likely to keep him from doing the same dumbass thing next Friday night.

  36. 36
    Perry Como says:

    Precisely. If a drunk driver makes it all the way home without killing anybody, that doesn’t make his having gotten behind the wheel a wise decision, never mind a NASCAR candidate, nor is it likely to keep him from doing the same dumbass thing next Friday night.

    Why do you libtards have to keep bringing up President Bush’s youthful discretions?

  37. 37
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    Why do you all keep pretending that the war in Iraq is President Bush’s fault? If Bill Clinton had dealt forcefully with Saddam and killed Osama bin Laden and also invented Perpetual Motion then we wouldn’t be in this mess. It’s almost as if you prefer getting blowjobs and being prosperous and at peace.

    Commie rats.

  38. 38
    mabman says:

    Pardon me for asking, but when has Victor Davis Hanson been right about anything, and why should anyone outside of Darkest Wingnuttia pay the slightest bit of attention to what he says? He first achieved notoriety in 1989 with the publication of The Western Way of War, an analysis of ancient Greek warfare that classical scholars have subsequently ripped to shreds; his latest book on the Peloponnesian War contains extensive passages contradicting most of what he claimed was “representative” of Greek warfare 18 years ago. His subsequent books made increasingly grandiose claims about the inherent superiority of Western warfare through the ages, and military historians have shredded those as well. His only real expertise lies in his utilization of media outlets for his own self-aggrandizment; there’s nothing to take seriously about the man or his ideas.

  39. 39
    Redhand says:

    claim the victory was not worth the commensurate cost of the last four plus years

    There is no way any “victory” in Iraq can possibly be worth the thousands of ruined lives and billions spent on this débâcle. As a classicist VDH ought to know that any “victory” here will a “Pyhrric” one.

  40. 40

    mabman, you clearly are not familiar with wingnut welfare.

    It is a deep and supports even those who otherwise would have never gained tenure.

    He looks the part and writes the part. What more could wingnutais ask for? Had I know what joys and money lie in revisionist history, I would have plunged full in and you all would have been citing me!!!!

    Alas, I chose to teach the English and am left here to comment on blogs :)

  41. 41

    crap, I should know when to hang it up too.

    crap.

  42. 42
    Delia says:

    VD Hanson (what a felicitous choice of initials) will soon expound unto us his theory of how the Athenians won the Pelopponesian War.

    Also, they weren’t gay.

  43. 43
    The Other Andrew says:

    I like how he uses next spring as the benchmark–um, let’s see what happens after the surge has been over for a few months, mmkay?

  44. 44

    mabman– VDH says things that nativists like to hear.

    The fact that he’s never been right about anything is quite beside the point.

  45. 45
    The Other Steve says:

    Man, those leftards are going to feel so stupid when we find those WMDs!

  46. 46
    glasnost says:

    John, we’ve had token refugee resettlements since the beginning of the surge. Estimates of the displaced – internally and externally – run at 3 to 4 million. The casualty decline is about as important as you pegged it – mediocre. 3000 returnees to Baghdad is less important – probably most accurately described as trivial.

    You want links, you can have them. Ask.

  47. 47
    scarshapedstar says:

    Man, those leftards are going to feel so stupid when we find those WMDs!

    Don’t you know we already did?

    500! 500 artillery shells! Some of which may have actually been usable! And don’t you dare ask anything like “whoa, man, after that last bonghit I just thought, if Saddam knew these were there, why didn’t use use them during the invasion?”, all you stuck-on-stupid leftard moonbats.

  48. 48
    scarshapedstar says:

    I like how he uses next spring as the benchmark—um, let’s see what happens after the surge has been over for a few months, mmkay?

    I’m getting a vision. It’s early 2008 and violence is on the rise again. And a pundit is blaming Democrats for ending The Surge…

  49. 49

    […] On that front there is a mix bag. Iraq may be seeing a noticeable turn for the better. If we have indeed “won” in Iraq, I would be among the first to gladly gobble a heaping helping of humble pie but as some note we are merely at the same level of violence that necessitated the surge to begin with. […]

  50. 50
    fleinn says:

    In a dramatic turnaround, more than 3,000 Iraqi families driven out of their Baghdad neighborhoods have returned to their homes in the past three months as sectarian violence has dropped, the government said Saturday.

    You /do/ know it’s Eid, right?

    I mean, I can see Bush being impressed that there’s no violence every Friday evening, and that he might want to change the Mesopotamian calendar into only Fridays, in one moment of genius – but please..

  51. 51
    RSA says:

    If Bill Clinton had dealt forcefully with Saddam and killed Osama bin Laden and also invented Perpetual Motion then we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    If Bill Clinton hadn’t been responsible for the failure of cold fusion, I wouldn’t be paying such high utility bills today.

  52. 52
    jcricket says:

    John, we’ve had token refugee resettlements since the beginning of the surge. Estimates of the displaced – internally and externally – run at 3 to 4 million.

    This is like cheering the single month or two when job creation outpaces the population growth within the US. While ignoring the 20 months before it when the opposite was the case.

    Ah, the soft bigotry of low expectations (“look, deaths not as bad as they were last month. Woot!”)

  53. 53
    fleinn says:

    Pfft. If Bill Clinton hadn’t been responsible for shaming the president’s office in the first place, everything Bush would do afterwards would go down in history as great and glorious deeds!

  54. 54
    jcricket says:

    If Bill Clinton hadn’t been responsible for shaming the president’s office in the first place,

    Right. If not for the shameful Clenis, we would have been greeted as liberators in Iraq. Flower petals strewn at our feet. Insurgents would have just given up.

    :-)

  55. 55
  56. 56
    fleinn says:

    Petals! Oh, there were petals. I certainly believe there were petals! But if it wasn’t for Clinton’s environmental regulations, there would be perfectly cut rose- gardens blooming in the green- zone right now.

  57. 57
    Charles says:

    John, the country is being ethnically cleansed for soft partition. As Sunnis flee Shia areas and Shias flee Sunni areas, there’s less opportunities for sectarian violence.

    Something like 3% of the country is dead. They’re not fighting. How many more are seriously wounded and incapable of being combatants? How many have fled abroad? About 5%? They’re definitely not involved in the civil war. Add all the categories up, and probably 15-20% of the population is “pacified.”

    Statistics don’t apply to a situation like this. The place to look for progress is the appearance of a political settlement, something that would allow the country to function in the future. An agreement to share oil revenues, for example, which is a key sticking point for Sunnis. Legal guarantees of tolerance for religious pluralism, critical to keeping professionals like doctors. Things like these.

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  1. […] On that front there is a mix bag. Iraq may be seeing a noticeable turn for the better. If we have indeed “won” in Iraq, I would be among the first to gladly gobble a heaping helping of humble pie but as some note we are merely at the same level of violence that necessitated the surge to begin with. […]

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