Thursday, December 08, 2005
How true it is
John O adds: Could such defeatism have continued into April, 1945? Considering recent statements from Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Ried and John Kerry, it would seem so. Wretchard observes:
The purely military war in Iraq is over and America has won. The US casualty count carefully kept at Global Security has never gone back to its 2004 levels and (in my view) probably never will. But though the politics may be bloody, the dynamics of the electoral arena described by Iraq the Model suggest something quite revolutionary has taken place.Clearly we have achieved a great victory in Iraq. But Democratic defeatism will have long term concequences. Bryan Preston:But more important than all of this is the fact that in these few years, we have witnessed the birth of a sensibility that was buried for decades -- Iraqi patriotism. This sense is currently represented in three political alliances/parties that ignore the ethnic and sectarian issues in their platforms. Relatively speaking, they are looking at Iraq as a whole.Factions are struggling for control of Iraq through the ballot. Assisted by bombs, intimidation, bribery, and disinformation it's true, but through the ballot.
Our enemies are no longer intimidated, as they were in early 2003 after we had handily taken down two rogue states in 18 months' time. Our allies are wary, and are planning ways to counter the threats they perceive in their own way. That may sound good, as though it gets us off the hook. But it doesn't. It only means that the Pax Americana is probably over.Indeed it has. In fact, if one really thinks about conduct of the Iraq war, one will notice the pernicious effect Democratic shenanigans had on it -- and will have on US policy going forward. Wretchard:
The perception of defeat that the Democrats have created from the win in Iraq has made the world a far, far more dangerous place for the next several decades.
If the objective of OIF were to forestall the emergence of a nuclear weapons capability among "rogue states", there is no getting around the fact that it has hardly affected the development of such weapons in Iran and North Korea. And if it's goal were to prevent chemical weapons from reaching terrorist hands -- weapons that are widely available on the arms black market -- the invasion would be useless as well. The only sense in which OIF would have diminished both the nuclear and chemical weapons threats to America was to the degree in which it succeeded in sending a deterrent signal to states considering supporting terrorist groups. This is the consideration which is not only explicitly missing from the pre-war intelligence estimates but largely absent from the subsequent discussion about whether "Bush lied and people died". The strange omission of geopolitical goals from the story of OIF will continue to have unfortunate results, because the measure of the war's success or failure never lay in its ability to neutralize atom bomb manufacturing facilities -- those are by all accounts operating day and night in North Korea -- but the degree to which it has deterred 'rogue states' from sponsoring terrorist organizations. If the Murtha resolution is any indication, what OIF has proved to every rogue state watching is that another OIF is unlikely to ever happen again. What started out as a demonstration of resolution intended to deter terrorist state supporters of terrorism has morphed into proof that all such demonstrations are hollow -- at least for now.
Although the pre-war intelligence estimates of Iraq now turn out to be inadequate in many ways, its principal defect was that it attempted to measure the wrong thing. It ought to have focused on the extent to which Iraqi Ba'athists and regional terror groups would have mounted a Lebanon or West Bank type defense; identified the key hurdles in creating a replacement Iraqi state; and specified the requirements necessary to win this campaign in an impressive and overwhelming manner in order to demonstrate to the rogue state audience what the consequences of aggression against the United States were. But this subject was verboten, and so instead intelligence spoke to the strategically irrelevant minutiae of Yellowcake and centrifuges, casting a wavering light, like the drunk searching for a lost coin in the story, not in the area where it would be found but in the only place he could shine a beam.