Friday, May 11, 2007

Just tell me what success is

by shamanic

Random thoughts in reading this post... Just tell us what "victory in Iraq" is, so we can determine if it's possible.

If "victory in Iraq" is:
  • National elections
  • A constitution
  • An elected parliament
  • A consensus Prime Minister...
Then we've won. Let's declare victory and come on home.

If "victory in Iraq" is:
  • A violence-free nation
Then I think we're unlikely to ever win. And I think this is what most of the polling data suggest, that the public, suspecting that the definition of "victory in Iraq" is that we're going to quash a civil war there, is similarly doubtful that said quashing can be achieved.

And I think we all doubt it can be achieved with an additional 30,000 troops.

Look, I know the failures of the past have been battled over until they're pointless, but (to delve in once again) this all goes back to the initial rush to invade and the diplomatic failures that left so many so angry at America's approach to the world in the run-up to the war. Had we acted with wisdom, coddled a few other western leaders, and generally sought consensus in fighting a despotic head of state in Iraq, we might have had the opportunity to tap into real numbers of coalition forces throughout the occupation. I also believe that a true multinational presence would have increased the legitimacy of the occupation in the eyes of Iraqis, rather than simply coming off as another heavy-handed American intervention.

I know, the past is over. Mistakes were made (but strangely, not by anyone in particular. Well, maybe France) but it's time to look forward and move on. But to what? What is victory in Iraq, and what is failure?

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