Iraq – A Sobering Assessment

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

Despite the pie-in-the-sky propagandistic high-fives of those in the non-reality-based community, it seems that things in Iraq aren’t going that well:

In interviews and briefings this week, some of the generals pulled back from recent suggestions, some by the same officers, that positive trends in Iraq could allow a major drawdown in the 138,000 American troops late this year or early in 2006. One officer suggested Wednesday that American military involvement could last “many years."

But the officer said that despite Americans’ recent successes in disrupting insurgent cells, which have resulted in the arrest of 1,100 suspects in Baghdad alone in the past 80 days, the success of American goals in Iraq was not assured. “I think that this could still fail,” the officer said at the briefing, referring to the American enterprise in Iraq. “It’s much more likely to succeed, but it could still fail."

He said recent polls conducted by Baghdad University had shown confidence flagging sharply, to 45 percent, down from an 85 percent rating immediately after the election.

The senior officer who met with reporters in Baghdad said there had been 21 car bombings in the capital in May, and 126 in the past 80 days. All last year, he said, there were only about 25 car bombings in Baghdad.

I mention this, of course, because it is the truth, not because I approve.  The Bush Doctrine simply has not manifested itself in the way that its proponents are claiming.  There’s no reason to think that it might eventually work, but that day is not upon us yet.  And even if peace and democracy do come to Iraq, it still does not translate to a “domino theory” of democracy spreading throughout the Middle East.  More importantly, it does not translate to a safer America.  Remember, 9/11 is what started this.

SIDEBAR: Speaking of “installing democracies” as being central to Bush Doctrine Version 3.0, let’s remind ourselves of how little that was a part of the original doctrine.  This time, let’s remind ourselves with linkety goodness.  There was no mention of “democracy” in President Bush’s address to Congress and the nation on September 20, 2001. Aside from a reference to Russia, it cannot be found in the June 2002 West Point speech. “Democracy” was absent from Bush’s September 12, 2002 address to the UN and his October 7, 2002 Iraq war justification in Cincinnati. And in the run-up to the invasion, democracy promotion remained essentially invisible in the 2003 State of the Union (ironically, it is mentioned regarding Iran), March 17 press conference, and even during Bush’s March 19 address to the nation declaring the commencement of hostilities.