Friday, April 27, 2007

Taheri asks Reid, To Whom Will You Surrender?

Amir Taheri has a cutting essay today on Harry Reid and his impact on the war debate.

Without meaning to do so, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pushed the debate on Iraq in a new direction. Reid claims that the war is lost and that the United States has already been defeated. By advancing the claim, Reid has moved the debate away from the initial antiwar obsession with the legal and diplomatic controversies that preceded it.

At the same time, Reid has parted ways with Democratic leaders such as Sen. Hillary Clinton, who supported the war but who now claims that its conduct has been disastrous. What they mean, by implication, is that a Democratic president would do better than George W. Bush and win the war. Reid's new position, however, means that even a Democratic president wouldn't be able to ensure a U.S. victory in Iraq. For him, Iraq is irretrievably lost.

Some antiwar analysts have praised Reid for what they term "his clarity of perception." A closer examination, however, would show that Reid might have added to the confusion that has plagued his party over the issue from the start.

Because all wars have winners and losers, Reid, having identified America as the loser, is required to name the winner. This Reid cannot do.

The reason is that, whichever way one looks at the situation, America and its Iraqi allies remain the only objective victors in this war.

Reid cannot name al Qaeda as the winner, because the terror organization has failed to achieve any of its objectives. It hasn't been able to halt the process of democratization, marked by a string of elections, and it has failed to destroy the still fragile institutions created in the post-Saddam era. Al Qaeda is also suffering from increasing failure to attract new recruits, while coming under pressure from Iraqi Sunni Arab tribes, especially west of the Euphrates.

. . . What about the remnants of the Saddamite regime? Can Reid name them as victors? Hardly. . . .

Reid may believe that Iran, either alone or with its Syrian Sancho Panza, is the victor. If that's the case, Reid shares the illusion peddled by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Convinced that the Americans will run away, mostly thanks to political maneuvers by Reid and his friends, Ahmadinejad has gone on the offensive in Iraq and throughout the region. By heightening his profile, he wants to make sure that Iran reaps the fruits of what Reid is sowing in Washington.

But even then, it's unlikely that most Iraqis would acknowledge Ahmadinejad as winner and bow to his diktat. The Islamic Republic cannot act as victor solely because Reid says so.

It's possible that Reid imagined that his analytical problems are over simply because he has identified the war's loser. The truth is that his troubles are only beginning. He must tell Americans to whom they wish their army to surrender in Iraq.

That Reid is desperately trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory isn't surprising. His party requires an American defeat in Iraq in order to win the congressional and presidential elections next year. . . .
Read the whole article here. Even as events are advancing for the better in Iraq, fully 55% of Americans polled by the WSJ now believe that victory is not possible in Iraq. It is incredibly disheartening. What happens between now and September is crucial. American's had every right to demand much more from our government. By any measure, the Bush administration followed a magnificent military campaign with fumbling to a degree usually only seen in a Three Stooges short. But the Iraq of today is a far different animal then it was on election day last year, and I question just how many Americans want to embrace defeat in Iraq, with all the ramifications thereof, just to punish Bush or to reward the far left.

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