Quote of the day 2

One felt at the end of the week that Iraq will continue as a long and ongoing story, that it is unlikely that we will find a perfect moment to leave, that it will always be too soon, the situation too delicate. It will always seem a place perched on a precipice over a canyon.

Peggy Noonan, on a week that American citizens waited for, for months:  only to learn that it will be business as usual in Iraq.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 49erDweet
    Sep 18, 2007 @ 13:57:46

    I think you vastly overestimate the numbers of “Americans” who were actually ‘waiting’ for that report. By that I mean expecting a report leading to a quick end,

    Poll numbers can often mislead, and in my view in this case “most” want the war to end, but know it will take longer than we would wish. And may never “end” in a way we would hope it would.

    The folk hyping the ‘importance’ of the September report date were mostly politicians and media types, and already had their minds made up as to the outcome anyway, so really didn’t need to wait for fresh facts. I believe recordings of the sessions fully bear this out. Question, question, question, and then turn away and ignore all attempts at answers.

    Anyone actually expecting a fair and impartial venue for gathering facts and data upon which to base reasoned future decisions is simply naive. Politicians don’t want facts! They wanted sound bites!

    None of this means I support the war. I want it to end, too, But walking away now would be the second-most cowardly thing our nation has done in the last hundred years. In my opinion.

    I can rant on about numbers one and three, but they were not the point of this piece.

    Cheers

    Reply

  2. Stephen
    Sep 18, 2007 @ 16:32:32

    It may be true that Americans weren’t waiting for Petraeus to report. If so, it speaks ill of the American people. This is a hugely significant policy issue, and Americans ought to be engaged.

    With respect to explanations — what explanations were relevant? The surge had a specific purpose: to create space for the Government of Iraq to overcome some of its dysfunctionality. That didn’t happen; ergo, the surge failed to achieve results, as measured against the criteria that were established in January.

    General Petraeus offered excuses and tried to find a bright side. Should Congress have said, “Oh, that’s all right then”?

    Should Congress make up new criteria to fit the results on the ground after the fact? That’s the Bush model, and it isn’t a good way to do business.

    Reply

  3. 49erDweet
    Sep 19, 2007 @ 10:52:05

    Fair comment, but incomplete. Most of us already know what the ultimate outcome must be. The general had recommendations to make, but few gave him the opportunity to express them. He is an extremely bright man, and definitely not an administration toady. To assume otherwise is almost simple-minded. So were the politicians after information or merely confirming their mindset? Your response clearly answers that question.

    The question is already moot. No matter what is publicly said, the US is ‘leaving’ Iraq. The only issue is: “When”? Calls for “cutting and running” are easy to make from the sidelines. What is more challenging is to orchestrate a disengagement without exposing too many potential victims of anarchy to reprisals and worse. Difficult decisions must be made, but those charged with making them seem to prefer working from a position of ignorance and prejudice, using ‘sound bites’, rather than to employ the benefit of sound counsel.

    That’s my POV. Cheers

    Reply

  4. 49erDweet
    Sep 19, 2007 @ 10:57:49

    And for the record I agree the US totally “blew it” by not anticipating the scope and breadth of the complete civil anarchy that followed the sudden demise of the extant Iraqi government in the days immediately following the invasion.

    The words “shoulda, woulda, coulda” come to mind.

    Reply

  5. Stephen
    Sep 19, 2007 @ 11:37:34

    What is more challenging is to orchestrate a disengagement without exposing too many potential victims of anarchy to reprisals and worse. Difficult decisions must be made, but those charged with making them seem to prefer working from a position of ignorance and prejudice, using ’sound bites’, rather than to employ the benefit of sound counsel.

    Basically I agree with that POV. In order to minimize the damage decision-makers must (1) acknowledge that a pull-out (or at least a shifting of troops to other places — e.g. the Kurdish border) is inevitable, and (2) strategize about how to avoid a worst-case-scenario for the Iraqi people.

    Note that circumstances are already deplorable, and can only get worse as the troops pull out.

    Reply

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