Fareed Zakaria writes a safe too little too late article on Iraq; no single money quote:
Obama still has the power to shape a decent outcome in Iraq. In doing so, he could help change the political dynamic within the Arab world and present a new model of America's relations with a modern, Muslim, Arab country.
Not that any other President of the United Staes was talking about that 6 and 1/2 years ago (when it was tough) or anything....
(Since I'm gonna go through the article graf by graf, I'd like to pre-emptively (there's that phrase again) inform Mr. Zakaria that his opinion on the liberation of Iraq and the surge remains as irrelevant now as it was in 2003 and 2007. The only reason I comment on his opinion now is because the drive by media gives him more coverage than he deserves.)
Next, emphasis on slow:
Iraq is going through a slow but crucial transformation, from war zone to new nation-state. The next set of policies that Washington and Baghdad decide upon will determine how well this turns out.
When the surge was announced in January 2007, I was somewhat cautious about it. I believed that more troops and a proper counterinsurgency strategy would certainly improve the security situation—I had advocated more troops from the start of the occupation—but I believed that the fundamental problem in Iraq was political discord among the country's three main sects and ethnic groups. The surge, in my view, would alleviate those tensions but also postpone the need for a solution. Only a political agreement among these groups could reach one.
Insert the word might between but and also and everyone believed this; what's your freaking point?!?
Also, rephrase "Postpone the need for a solution" with "Buy Us Some Time" and the surge suddenly looks a lot better.
I was wrong in some ways. First, the surge turned out to be a more sophisticated strategy—encompassing political outreach to the Sunnis—than I had imagined. Second, the success of the surge empowered the Baghdad government, brought Sunni rebels out from hiding and thus broke the dynamic of the civil war. Sunni militants have now been identified, their biometric data have been collected and their groups are being monitored. They cannot easily go back to jihad. The Shiite ruling elites, secure in their hold on the country, have less to gain by ethnic cleansing and militia rule.
Calling the surge sophistocated; how magnanimous of you!!! I'm glad you were wrong in some ways!
They cannot easily go back to jihad. No kidding (I'd use a scatalogical reference were I feeling less charitable). Credit where it's due to the admittedly flawed Nuri-al Maliki with David Petraeus and Ray Odierno getting the assists on the goal.
Jihadists biodata being held by the US Military; why didn't the drive by media tell me about that in 2007 or anything?!?
An adviser to surge commander Gen. David Petraeus told the reporter Nir Rosen that the civil war in Iraq would end when the Sunnis knew that they'd lost and the Shiites knew that they'd won. Both now seem to be true.
Petraeus' adviser told you the war would be won when the Sunni's knew they'd lost and the Shiites knew they'd won....Gee, I'm sooo glad you and everyone else in the drive by media made that sooo easy from 2003-January 20, 2009 (btw, I could find a million more links on this topic if I felt like investing the time). At least both now seem to be true....
while a renewal of the civil war—and a return to high casualty levels—is highly unlikely
Speaking for myself, I'd say damn near impossible over highly unlikely. They again, I'm an optimist when my country takes courageous actions overseas.
Oh, and, by the way, I'm sorry your original concerns about the Surge remain. I had forgotten that Fareed Zakaria's personal opinion is our primary metric for judging the success of America's Iraq Policy.
American influence is not what it was a few years ago.
Duh. Thank you Fareed Zakaira. Had I never heard or read you say this, I might not have lived a personally satisfying life.
Today, Arab regimes paint a picture of Iraq that suggests that American-led democracy has led to chaos, collapse and, perhaps more crucially, to Shiite tyranny. This is a damning indictment because for the rest of the Arab world—which is overwhelmingly Sunni—it suggests that democracy is something to be feared. It is also a convenient lesson because it means that Arab dictators can postpone indefinitely any need to open up their own political systems. But the message does resonate: opinion polls show that large majorities view Iraq as a failure and a sham democracy.
That's right because your buddies in the drive by media didn't have anything to do with this....
(Sorry, Common Dreams was the only site that still has that story up. That said, much like the last link I could find a million more stories on a similar there if I felt like investing more time on this).
It isn't. There is much going on in Iraq that is admirable. Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis are beginning to work out their differences through negotiation, not violence. Freedom of speech abounds. A new economy is taking shape, in which entrepreneurs are creating jobs and a civil society. Elections are punishing thugs and theocrats who cannot deliver services and rewarding more-pragmatic forces. The appeal of radical Islam is waning.
This was not Barack Obama's war. But it might well turn out to be his greatest legacy to the Arab world. Ambassador Ryan Crocker ended his distinguished stint in Iraq with these fitting words: "In the end, how we leave and what we leave behind will be more important than how we came."
Fareed, when we win this war, it will be George W. Bush's legacy to the Arab World. Barack Obama will get the credit that Mariano Rivera gets when he comes into the game with Yankees up by 17,000 runs because he needs some work.
I end this post with the full text of my e-mail to Fareed Zakaria about this article:
In other words, what you're saying is that now that George W. Bush is out of office, it's OK for the drive-by media to say nice things about America's policy there.
How we leave being more important than how we got in has been true since day 1; the only thing that's changed since then is the American President's last name and the weather.
Some of us had the courage of our convictions to stick with Iraq when it was unpopular.
Generations from now, George W. Bush will be remembered as the American Hero he truly is while insignificant intellectual poseurs such as yourself will fade into the irrelevance you deserve.
To paraphrase Davy Crockett: You can go to hell; I'll stay in Texas.
Adam Cahn Austin, TX
P.S. "War of Choice" my ass.
I hope this helps.
That is all.