Monday, June 27, 2005

Pejman comments on Iraq

As someone who has never been anything other than opposed to the war in Iraq, I have to say that this post by Pejman Yousefzadeh strikes me as being on target. I have a lot of respect for this man's intelllect and integrity.

Despite the regular gnashing of teeth over "the rage of the Arab street," the fact is that many an Arab regime possesses a great deal of diplomatic and policy savvy when it comes to the reconstruction of Iraq. Which is why it comes as no surprise to see that Egypt wants us to stick it out until the job is done. I don't for a moment intend to downplay the momentous nature of the challenge in reconstructing Iraq. But as is clear, the stability of the entire region--not to mention the chances of greater democratization--depend upon a successful outcome in Iraq. And setting arbitrary timetables for withdrawal and losing our nerve does little to bring about a successful outcome.

I favor strongly stringent examination and criticism regarding the execution of our reconstruction policy in Iraq. If mistakes are made, they must be corrected. But there is a significant difference between saying "correct mistakes" and "the sky is falling." And sadly, the rhetoric here seems to be pulling more towards the latter--even as the Arab world simply wants us at the most to pay attention to the former and to see the reconstruction project in Iraq through towards a successful completion.

I like that he distinguishes between mistakes and the sky is falling.
The first comment of the thread (as well as the next two) is also noteworthy.

I am sick to death of hearing pundits on both sides of the fence use the term "losing the war." We won the war. That needs to be emphasized. We. Won. The. War. It took about two months and we can win a war the same way anywhere we choose. Let's stop denigrating the capability of our military.

After winning the war, we have struggled mightily in nation building. We may fail at nation building, but we won the war. Saddam is gone. Iraqis have our support in moving forward from there. It's on them as much as us how this turns out.

Responding to another commentator who points out that our manpower reserves have tapped out, the same writer follows up in another comment...

I spend a good deal of time reading Russian forums, and make no mistake about it, their military command was rattled by our swift victory in Iraq. They know well that they designed the defense of Iraq similar to how they would defend themselves, and they now know with certainty would could quite quickly depose their existing government. It's nation building we don't have the manpower to accomplish. But our military surely kicks ass.

Make no mistake about it. I may be a pacifist, but I am not a fool. They don't call it realpolitik for nothing.

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