Monday, January 29, 2007


I have spent some time in the last few days thinking about Iraq. A few things have come together, and while hardly groundbreaking, I wanted to share them here.

The Troop Surge:

When we invaded Iraq there were questions about the appropriate size of the invasion force. Clearly the numbers were sufficient for Iraq's capture. The big debate since then has been the size of the occupying force. Many of the President's critics touted the numbers argument as a key reason why we were having so much difficulty subduing the insurgency. Now that a surge has been proposed, many of those critics are bowing to political expedience and opposing any addition of troops. Opposing the surge without offering any alternatives is to accept and work for defeat. Bret Stephens concurs in his Wall Street Journal column:

These are our options in Iraq: We can withdraw troops and equipment as fast as our Galaxys and Globemasters can carry them home (or to Okinawa). This is the Murtha Way. We can cap troop levels at 140,000 and withdraw them no later than Inauguration Day, 2009. This is Hillary's Way. We can redeploy our forces outside of Iraqi cities, conduct limited training and counterterrorism missions, urge reconciliation among the various political factions and seek diplomatic openings with Syria and Iran. This is the way of Sens. Chuck Hagel and Joe Biden. We can advocate and facilitate the partition of Iraq. This is the (Peter) Galbraith Way. Or we can surge troops into the toughest neighborhoods of Baghdad, Ramadi and Najaf and keep them there indefinitely.

That is the President's Way. It is going to mean many more American casualties -- perhaps as many in the months ahead as we've seen over the past four years. It may fail for lack of troops, or insufficient cooperation from the Iraqi government. It could be defeated in the field, or it could succeed -- only to be undermined in Washington, much as Gen. Creighton Abrams's 1972 battlefield victories in Vietnam were. It lacks an endgame. It's a political loser. But it is the only strategy on the table that aims at victory and has a chance of succeeding.

I agree. No one who opposes it has proposed an option that has as much chance for success. The political mess frustrates me to no end.

Poor reporting by the media:

Our best bet to find the great and important stories from the War on Terror are from citizen journalists like Michael Yon. They usually pay their own way, are not affiliated with any major media outlet, and they provide the most in-depth coverage of our soldiers.

Yon has a long dispatch but it is well worth reading. Please read it and see what our soldiers go through. Yon is not a Pollyanna, but there is an optimism to his writing that is born of his faith in our fighting men and women.

Bill Indolino has some very interesting photos from Iraq, providing a glimpse of our troops in some rare moments.

The American Iraq

Finally, this piece explores the state of Iraq in its historical and present context. Iraq is still worth fighting for.


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