Monday, June 30, 2003
EVEN THE CONSERVATIVE PRO IRAQI INVASION WARBLOGGER TACITUS SEZ...
To be frank, the warbloggers--now that it's becoming clear what a nightmare scenario both Iraq and Afghaninstan are becoming and the complicit nature of our clueless incompetent Resident in Chief in the aforesaid imbroglio/quagmire to be--aren't really writing too much about the war. Oh yeah, Den Beste can write about Nevada brothels that he would never step foot in (right) or how Lilek's wife lost her job so--get this--his life will be a little harder now. I thought you loved the Bush administration? You should fully embrace the Economic Dark Side, especially when it fucks you in the ass. This from a guy who, to my knowledge, has never grieved about innocent dead Palestinians, let alone the problems they're having with their mortages when their hovels are steamrolled...Pathetic, cowardly and sad. Of course, Instapundit is on vacation. Who could blame him with his track record of prediction. And let's not even talk about Pejman "I'm going to do for my Iranian homeland just what I'm doing to Iraq and Afghanistan and what do you mean I have no sense of irony or shame...?" Yousefzadeh. Let's just not.
Let's give credit to one conservative pro warblogger (check out his romantic recall of the good times at Bob Jones U...not a liberal) who calls them on their silence about the many admininistration failures and mounting dead soldiers, who you guys supposedly like. With friends like warbloggers who needs rooftop snipers...(?) Here's Tacitus:
Our two kidnapped soldiers in Iraq are, as one might have expected, dead. The thought of it is horrifying in itself, moreso than a death by combat would be. One hopes their end was swift, but the reality -- especially given the military's refusal to divulge cause of death -- is more likely something along these lines:
Why Jessica Lynch got the four-star treatment, while Gladimir Philippe and Kevin Ott got cold-blooded murder, I'll leave to the sidewalk psychologists to work out. What matters here is that kidnappings, executions, and attacks on personnel and infrastructure all add up to something more than resistance from isolated pockets, banditry, or Ba'athist holdouts. It's a guerrilla campaign -- one with substantial popular support -- and the refusal to acknowledge it on the part of our leadership is simply mind-boggling. I've always been a fan of Donald Rumsfeld's plain-talking style; now I'm seeing that he may have adopted it because to do otherwise is to make him sound just plain foolish.
Q: Mr. Secretary, as the senator just mentioned, American forces are losing someone virtually every day now. Are American forces engaged in what can now be characterized as a guerrilla war?
Rumsfeld: I think it's been accurately portrayed that the major combat has been concluded, and that there are a lot of Ba'athists and Fedayeen Saddam still in the country that are associated closely with Saddam Hussein, and that they are out doing things that are unhelpful to the coalition, and that the coalition is taking every step possible to root them out.
In addition, the Iraqi police force is being developed, the Iraqi army is being re-recruited, and those capabilities will be put to that same task, and it will take some time.
Q: In that interim, though, we've gone from a traditional, if you will, set of circumstances, rules of engagement, to more of a guerrilla war. Isn't that accurate?
Rumsfeld: I don't know that I would use the word. There were something in the neighborhood of a hundred thousand people turned out of their prisons. Those people are out there; they're doing things that are unhelpful to the Iraqi people. It's also no question but that there are leftover remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime that are doing things that are against the coalition.
Steve Gilliard over at Kos never saw a news story on this war that he couldn't spin as a portent of the End Times, but one theme he's hammered at -- entirely correctly -- is that to blame the late unpleasantness on the Ba'ath party is self-deluding and dishonest in the extreme. I've been doing the same here without the hyperbole, but I have to wonder where the rest of my pro-war fellow-travelers are on this. Hey, we supported this war -- let's not turn away from its consequences when they don't fit the script.
And since I did support the war, let me reprint, from comments here, my response to Jim Henley's query on what I think should be done henceforth in Iraq.
Rapid re-establishment of social services. But not just that -- the Israelis provided running water and electricity to their subject Arabs too. The key to victory is giving the Iraqis some stake in American success -- which in turn means making them feel as if they're in charge of their own destiny, and that the Americans are the agents of that empowerment.
This entails, say, not cancelling elections in Najaf; accepting and working with as much as possible clerical political power; instituting an Iraqi government, even if it's a complete puppet of Bremer's; setting and enforcing consistent rules for censorship rather than doing this ad hoc exercise we have now.
And, as I've written before, the military approach has to change to a small-unit infantry, community-based, long-term residency model that works with Iraqi augmentees.
All this, of course, is predicated on massive increases in certain types of manpower....namely, Arabic-speaking managerial experts manpower....
Nice, vague ideas for improvement from a keyboard general. But, I'd like to think, common sense as well. But then, common sense doesn't seem to matter -- what we hear from Iraq instead are forehead-slappers like this and tales of apparent incompetence like this. Somewhere on Kevin Drum's site -- I can't find the cite -- I recall his posting rescinding his support for war on Iraq: he didn't trust the Administration, describing them as a gang that couldn't shoot straight. Do I think my reasons for supporting the war remain valid? Yes, I do. Did I misplace my trust in the basic competence of the agents of that agenda?
I'm starting to think so.
UPDATE: Corollaries and helpful links from Drum here.