Quiet Consensus on Iraq

It is a better read than the normal Mark Steyn tosh, but ignores the fundamental reality of the situation:

The shortcoming was never the number of U.S troops per se, but our self-imposed straightjacket on rules of engagement that apparently discouraged the vital sorts of offensive operations that we have at last seen the last two months.
Memories are short - such offensive operations occured last year and this year when Fallujah and Ramadi were flattened. The insurgency went elsewhere.

The flypaper strategy is simply not credible. The insurgents in Iraq are not the same as the plotters of the World Trade Centre attacks - they are a new phenomenon. The insurgents are drawn from former Iraqi Army personnel and from foreign fighters taking advantage of the porous borders. The disparate anti-Saudi and anti-Western franchise/coalition that is known as Al Qaeda will continue to generate plotters and bombers with their eye on strategic targets in the US, Europe and Asia. The main difference is that the invasion and inept occupation has created a climate of greater sympathy for these terrorists in areas with a Muslim population. Finally, these terrorists are no fools and are not going to be simply distracted by the insurgency in Iraq.

I don't know what the political situation is like in the US. It appears that there is no broad anti-war consensus such as most European nations have - for example, the 2million march in London in 2003. However, I suspect there is no broad pro-war consensus. The clock is ticking, Dubya's ratings are falling and the casualty count is rising. The real test of opinion will be the midterm elections next year. Incidentally it was interesting to see Dubya give his first press conference for four months in an attempt to placate his fundamentalist Christian supporters.
A more reasoned response than the usual flag-waving hubris. There are however, a number of points that need to be examined.

The Howard Dean/Michael Moore/Cindy Sheehan fringe of the Democratic party so far has made almost no inroads into mainstream party thinking. Perhaps this new Copperhead movement to find political resonance has failed because most Democratic stalwarts — senators Kerry, Clinton, and Biden — themselves voted to remove Saddam. And these erstwhile supporters of the war can offer nothing much different on Iraq now except to harangue about the need for more allies or more multilateral/U.N. help.
Kerry, Clinton et al's decision to vote in support of action must be viewed within the agenda that was set by the administration in the lead up to the 2002 elections. The Post 9/11 support for monkey was so high and the preposterous "you're with us or the terrorists" frame painted dems into a corner. It had nothing to do with the correctness of the policy, but rather it had everything to do with being politically outmanoeuvered. There's also the issue of the fact that the consensus exists only because no-one on either side has the first fcuking clue about how to get out of the mess that Monkey-Boy has put us in. Let it never be forgotten that this was a war of choice.

It is easy to be pessimistic about Iraq, given the media's constant barrage of bad news. But why then are there not millions in the street as in the fashion of Vietnam-era moratoria? Why doesn't the Senate move to cut off funds? Why don't the Democrats bring forth another George McGovern?
There's a lack of mass protest on the street because there's no draft. Nixon figured out that once you remove the prospect of members of the general population having to choose between going to war, going to prison or going to Canada, they won't kick up too much of a fuss about some other poor sod having to go. As people have started to take hits elsewhere, the economy, public services being reduced etc. in order to pay for Iraq and the big tax cut for millionnaires, they start to get angry, hence Monkey-Boy's poll numbers tanking ( http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/10/06/opinion/polls/main924485.shtml )

True, most Americans are tired of Iraq; but they wish to win rather than withdraw immediately and lose the country to the terrorists.
And what happens when you try to get them to define what they consider a 'win' to be? Peace with honor... now where have I heard that before?

In one of the strangest developments of this entire war, the Western world hears almost nothing about the aggregate number of jihadists killed by coalition forces in Iraq, even though we suspect it may have been several thousand — 10,000, 20,000, 50,000?
Classic trick, word an assertion that can't be substantiated so that it takes the form of a question. Most people don't notice the difference and there for this conjecture gets confused with an estimate. The real question for me is, how many of these Jihadists were in the game before the invasion took place?

But after bombings and assassinations in the United Kingdom, Spain, and the Netherlands, the almost weekly arrests of Middle Eastern suspects from New Jersey to Lodi, California, few now deny that we are in a war with real jihadists, who are energized by an Islamo-fascistic creed that flares up from Bali to Pakistan.
And of course the West is entirely blameless for its image problem. It's not as if we've been rolling over there, taking their land and their resources willy-nilly for half a milennium now, is it? Oh, wait... It doesn't matter in any case, the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy has quickly and decisively acted to allay fears of a overbearing, paternalistic superpower breathing down their necks.

Far from being a Puritanical, messianic vision of forcing Islamic cultures to follow a cookie-cutter American model...
Clearly no-one sent that email to Karen Hughes. (See above.)

There is a quiet but growing assumption that there is really not much of a choice other than to come down on the right side of history and support the democratizing efforts now under way. Freedom and the rule of law offer the best hope of undermining Islamic fundamentalism faster than it can subvert consensual government.
Ah, more Post-Marxist Hegelian nonsense a la Francis Fukuyama, who drank the Kool Aid in the midst of Post Cold War euphoria to confidently pronounce that liberal democracy and capitalism was the highest plane of human existence, in a state of complete ignorance of other cultures and intellectual and philosophical traditions. The very fact that 'Islamic extremism' and the 'Asian values' movements exist is to challenge this very notion. It is a very arrogant type of person who admits to having all the answers. How is liberal democracy and capitalism working out for the American underclasses?

Better then to draw them out and hit them abroad than just play defense at home.
Yeah, because they're attracted to Iraq by the fact that it's easier to go up against the US Army than the TSA. :roll: YOU ARE NOT FIGHTING THE SAME TYPE OF PEOPLE!

The elections of October will be followed by even more voting in December. For all the predictions of Sunni boycotts and subversion, at some point the wiser ones will participate
...in an electoral process that makes 1950s Mississippi pale in comparison for being rigged towards achieving a particular outcome. It's not much different than the plebicites that Saddam used to organise.

I could go on, but I'm knackered and I need some kip.

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