The Assessment section of the Iraq Survey Group Report (ISGR) is very good, very hard-hitting. It reflects what certainly seems to be unpleasant conditions in Iraq. However, Iraq Report here on AT makes the very important case that corruption is endemic to Arab cultures, so we have to remember to use Thomas Sowell’s rule when examining human endeavor “as compared to what?”
And there is another very important point. The despair reflected in the ISGR is based on the alleged chaos in Iraq. But our primary concern is the situation in America, and that situation is very good – we have had no terror attack in five years. I think that it is pretty clear that the Iraq War has been seriously undermanaged by the Bush Administration, particularly in developing and monitoring our strategy in Iraq, which is far far more than a military problem.
But, that said, one of our objectives in Iraq was, by going on the offensive in the War on Terror, to make the opposition respond to our initiative rather than we responding to and being victimized by their initiative. And that has succeeded. The ISGR falls into the solipsism of blaming ourselves for the violence in Iraq whereas the primary responsibility falls on those who are attacking their fellow-religionists and citizens. And….to the extent that al Qaeda’s resources have been committed to defending in Iraq – and they have – that is a win for us in strategic terms. Yes, we have been incurring casualties in Iraq. But that is what happens in war. The opposition has had to throw in their “best” in Iraq, so far to no good purpose. Iran may be smug about the outcome in Iraq but that is only because the Iranian leadership, like all totalitarian leadership, has no regard for its own citizenry and forces.
No, things are not going well for us in Iraq. But they are not going well for the opposition either, and we are achieving a critical one of our strategic objectives – to make the opposition fight on their own ground in response to our initiative.