Friday, November 23, 2007

Krauthammer: No Reason to Abandon Iraq Yet

Charles Krauthammer's article , "Benching Benchmarks", at National Review Online speaks volumes about how we have been achieving success in Iraq, and that we should not give up yet. He opens up with this statement.

It does not have the drama of the Inchon landing or the sweep of the Union comeback in the summer of 1864. But the turnabout of American fortunes in Iraq over the last several months is of equal moment — a war seemingly lost, now winnable. The violence in Iraq has been dramatically reduced. Political allegiances have been radically reversed. The revival of ordinary life in many cities is palpable. Something important is happening.

And what is the reaction of the war critics? Nancy Pelosi stoutly maintains her state of denial, saying this about the war just two weeks ago: “This is not working. ... We must reverse it.” A euphemism for “abandon the field,” which is what every Democratic presidential candidate is promising, with variations only in how precipitous to make the retreat.

Very, very true. All of our military's work, and the efforts of the surge, are showing more and more signs of success. We're on the cusp of really breaking through and ending this occupation in a favorable, victorious manner...and these anti-war Dems still can't accept that.

Their excuse is found in the statement "Iraq has not achieved the political benchmarks set". Krauthammer acknowledges that having all of these benchmarks achieved is a good thing, and would make for a faster end to all of this...but it's not quite necessary at this point. Read on...

But does the absence of this deus ex machina invalidate our hard-won gains? Why does this mean that we cannot achieve success by other means?

Sure, there is no oil law. But the central government is nonetheless distributing oil revenues to the provinces, where the funds are being used for reconstruction.

Sure, the de-Baathification law has not been modified. But the whole purpose of modification was to entice Sunni insurgents to give up the insurgency and join the new order. This is already happening on a widening scale all over the country in the absence of a relaxed de-Baathification law.

As for federalism, the Kurds are running their own region, the Sunni sheiks in Anbar and elsewhere are exercising not just autonomy but control of their own security, and the southern Shiites are essentially governing themselves, the British having withdrawn in all but name.

Yes, a provincial powers law would be nice because it would allow for provincial elections. We should push hard for it. But we already have effective provincial and tribal autonomy in pivotal regions of the country.

So, while the legislative benchmarks have not been reached from the top down...success is being reached from the ground up. Krauthammer continues...

Why is top-down national reconciliation as yet unattainable? Because decades of Saddam’s totalitarianism followed by the brutality of the post-invasion insurgency destroyed much of the political infrastructure of the country, causing the Iraqis to revert to the most basic political attachment — tribe and locality. Gen. David Petraeus’s genius has been to adapt American strategy to capitalize on that development, encouraging the emergence of and allying ourselves with tribal and provincial leaders — without waiting for cosmic national deliverance from the newly constructed and still dysfunctional constitutional apparatus in Baghdad.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is in disarray, the Sunni insurgency in decline, the Shiite militias quiescent, the capital city reviving. Are we now to reverse course and abandon all this because parliament cannot ratify the reconciliation already occurring on the ground?

Good question. The answer is simple...there is no reason to do so. Our troops are playing a big part in helping Iraqis build stability in their own nation from the ground up. Soon enough, the central government in Baghdad will be stabilized, and we'll begin to see that despite all of the violence, bloodshed, and lives was not in vain, but for a more secure world for everyone, including you and I, to live in.

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