Prev | List | Random | Next
Representatives of the Iraqi government and US forces are meeting with "insurgents". Good. There are two ways to end protracted combat: 1 - Kill everyone on the other side (or at least enough to make further resistance useless) or 2 - Negotiate. Most wars in history were ended via option 2, with strong incentive for one side to avoid impending option 1 usually a catalyst. The question remains - in Iraq, who is negotiating from a position of power? And which side sees itself as close enough to being on the losing end of option 1?
According to Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, it's the US that is in danger of being destroyed:
"Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."You can read Al Jazeera's coverage of Hagel's claims here. His remarks were also used by Moveon.org in a new advertisement supporting immediate withdrawal from Iraq. (Hagel also claims that he now "objects" to their use of his very publically made statement.)
If the warm reception his comments received from the opposition in the war on terror isn't sufficient enough wake-up call, there's also some circumstantial evidence in the form of ground truth from Iraq suggesting that perhaps it's Senator Hagel who needs a reality check.
The negotiations with insurgents are nothing new - Time magazine first broke the story last February, a period when insurgent attacks had lulled in the wake of their failure to halt or even disrupt the Iraqi national elections. Quite obviously the US and Iraqis were negotiating from a position of power. My comments at that time:
...the insurgents are on the ropes. Make no mistake about it - they are capable of killing people in large numbers, but their political effectiveness is virtually nil.I stand by those words today. Also note from the link that even at that time the US and Iraqi forces were stepping up operations in Al Anbar province, with Operation RIVER BLITZ providing a stick to contrast with the carrot that negotiations represented. This approach worked last year in quelling the Shiite group led by Muqtada al Sadr - his fighters in Najaf had lost any popular support they may have had and were being hammered by coalition forces, and a political solution was suddenly very attractive.
This week in Iraq Operation SWORD was launched - the latest effort to deny foreign fighters entering Iraq from Syria passage to the country's interior. The US and Iraqis are not negotiating out of weakness - far from it. And though the insurgents are still capable of killing large numbers of people in a spectacular manner their political effectiveness, once nil, has since dwindled.
Except for in the United States. A year of smashing coalition military successes, gradual improvement of Iraq's economy, free elections and an embrace of democracy by a people who had been denied it for most of their history has led a Senator to conclude that the US military has failed in it's mission - we're losing in Iraq.
Senator Hagel is wrong (as is this Cuban news source that shares his point of view). In the upcoming days here at Mudville we're going to look back at the past several months of combat in Iraq in hopes of answering the fundamental questions: Are we winning? And if so, why are so few people aware of it?
Hope you'll join the conversation.
(More to follow.)
Could not agree more, Greyhawk. I have dropped the Senator a few notes expressing my total disgust with him, and suggesting he needs to go to Iraq and see what we have been accomplishing before making idiotic statements like that. What a total jackass.
Oh, and good luck with that presidential bid, Chucky.Posted by Bill W at June 30, 2005 03:06 AM
It is hard to hear the comments of Durbin, Pelosi, Reid, Hagel, et al, and not have the word "Traitor" come to mind. Watching MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc., etc., you can't escape the impression that at least their talking heads are cheering for the terrorists and against America. If we can't prosecute these pukes for the hatred they bear for OUR country, could it be that our only other recourse is to ignore (or vote) them into irrelevance?
Thanks for the great BLOG and for being part of one of the most noble of professions, the Armed Forces of the United States.
With Great Respect,