Sunday, March 05, 2006

What will they do if we win?

It seems to me that a lot of people on both the left and right have staked a great deal on the United States failing in Iraq. From Buckley to Murtha, they need defeat for the sake of their own credibility.

Ralph Peters in his recent oped Dude Where is my Civil War makes the point that there is more to this story than we are getting.

I'M trying. I've been trying all week. The other day, I drove another 30 miles or so on the streets and alleys of Baghdad. I'm looking for the civil war that The New York Times declared. And I just can't find it.

Maybe actually being on the ground in Iraq prevents me from seeing it. Perhaps the view's clearer from Manhattan. It could be that my background as an intelligence officer didn't give me the right skills.

And riding around with the U.S. Army, looking at things first-hand, is certainly a technique to which The New York Times wouldn't stoop in such an hour of crisis.

Let me tell you what I saw anyway. Rolling with the "instant Infantry" gunners of the 1st Platoon of Bravo Battery, 4-320 Field Artillery, I saw children and teenagers in a Shia slum jumping up and down and cheering our troops as they drove by. Cheering our troops.

All day - and it was a long day - we drove through Shia and Sunni neighborhoods. Everywhere, the reception was warm. No violence. None.

And no hostility toward our troops. Iraqis went out of their way to tell us we were welcome.

Instead of a civil war, something very different happened because of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. The fanatic attempt to stir up Sunni-vs.-Shia strife, and the subsequent spate of violent attacks, caused popular support for the U.S. presence to spike upward.

read it all.

Mark Steyn is one of my favorite commentators and in a recent article even he made reference to Bush's attempt to force democracy on people.

I don't think that is true at all. I don't think Bush is going to depose the King of Jordan or kick the shieks out of Qatar and the UAE, but democratic reform is a slow process and the end result will be a product of that culture, not ours.


chuck said...


I also track our price of freedom link, and it seems to me that deaths are still trending downward. I just wish the Iraqis would be a bit faster on getting the new government together. Ja'afari as PM seems to be the main sticking point at the moment.

What will all the naysayers do if we win? I expect many will deny that any such thing ever happened. There will always be *something* to bitch about. And the news will have to get out and be blessed by the gatekeepers before it becomes true. On the other hand, there might be some honest souls who try to discover just why they got it wrong. What they write could be interesting -- for others who got it wrong.

So, are we winning? I remain optimistic but sometimes it is a strain. The steady drumbeat of pessimism in the media is hard to resist, and I expect it is even more so for those in the business. Thank God for those like Peter's who actually get out where the action is.

I can tell you one thing. If we win I am going to be absolutely merciless on those who spent the last several years whining and bitching. I will take no prisoners, nor would I expect mercy from the other side if things don't work out.

flenser said...

If we win, those who bitched and moaned for the last several years will claim that we won thanks to their bitching and moaning.

At least if the Cold War is any precedent.

Charlie Martin said...

In the mean time, my buddy John Derbyshire and Cliff May are mightily annoyed at Peters for all this cheerleading.

terrye said...


This is true.

terrye said...


My grandmother always told me not to tempt fate. I hope that is not what is going on here.