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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

To surge or not to surge?

William F. Buckley Jr., founder of the greatest conservative magazine ever, says that were he a Republican congressman he'd vote "no."

There are several sins of omission and a few half-truths in WFB's short analysis. (I'm allowed to call him "WFB" because I pay for the privilege. I'm a subscriber.) Let me address three of them in turn.

WFB: "America has been at war in Iraq for nearly four years. No sacrifice of a corporate character has been asked of the American people."

Me: Incorrect, Sir. America has continuously been at war in Iraq since February 1991, starting with Desert Storm, continuing through containment, Desert Fox, more containment, OIF, and through our occupation, our final and decisive phase of a war lasting a decade and a half.

WFB: "If success in Iraq would bring an end to the movement of which Iraq is now the apex, the answer [to surge] would clearly be yes. Has the president persuasively argued that it would do so? No."

Me: Those of us who supported our land invasion of Iraq in 2003 also want "an end to the [terrorist] movement of which Iraq is now the apex." And noting the Administration's communications problems is, frankly, ground already well covered... by both Left and Right, doves and hawks. Is success in Iraq without value for its own sake? Especially when you touch on -

WFB: "The sectarian character of the Iraqi population, which is the source of divisiveness extending beyond any dislike or resentment of America.

A geographical division of Iraq is inevitable. The major players are obvious. It isn't plain how America, as an outside party, could play an effective role, let alone one that was decisive, in that national redefinition."

Me: I don't agree that a division is inevitable. The Iraqis are more nationalistic than we give them credit. Yes, by western standards they're very tribal and yes, sectarian strife is real, but our goal isn't to create a simulacrum of a western democracy. Rather, the goal is to enable them to defend against their domestic and foreign enemies, which will, as an intentional side effect, make the US safer. I honestly don't know if the additional troops Bush wants to send will have this desired effect. Effective? We'll have to wait and see.

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