For Once I Hope Rich Lowry Is Wrong
But I Think He Is Right
By Erick Posted in War — Comments (51) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
The editor of my favorite magazine has turned pessimistic on Iraq. Rich Lowry writes
In Iraq, as in Vietnam, we face a vicious insurgency that has worn down the will of the American public. In Iraq, as in Vietnam, we have failed to cut off the enemy from re-supply. In Iraq, as in Vietnam, we have had ever-shifting military strategies. In Iraq, as in Vietnam, we have had trouble building effective, clean governmental institutions in the soil of an alien culture. Most importantly, in Iraq, as in Vietnam, we face the prospect of defeat. . . .
But what is that strategy? President Bush sometimes seems not to realize that having a fierce determination to see things through is only the precondition for a winning strategy. For too long, his administration has seemed content to do the bare minimum in Iraq, hoping to hold things together just enough to allow troop drawdowns that justify the administration’s assurances of progress. This hasn’t worked, since the violence in Iraq has belied the rhetoric of progress and prevented any reduction in troops. Bush would be much better served by forthrightly acknowledging Iraq’s distressing circumstances and backing an all-out push to secure Baghdad even if it takes thousands more American troops in the country.
I think Rich is right. I have picked up, more and more from families and friends supportive of the war, a general frustration that we are pulling punches, failing to engage, and trying to just get by. The country almost seems split down the middle between those who want to retreat and those who want to fight like hell. Meanwhile the administration wants to stay the course, er . . . "adapt and win."
We do, in fact, need to adapt and win. We need to fight. It does us very little good to coddle or otherwise allow people like Moqtada Al Sadr to be coddled. And it does us very little good to win hearts and minds when we and friendly Iraqis are being blown up.
I agree with Rich Lowry that we could lose Iraq. I think the best way for us to win is to make sure the Democrats do not win in November and undercut the war effort. But I also think there is no point in continuing the fight in Iraq unless we are actually going to fight.