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Goldstein: The Tenuous Case for Strategic Patience in Iraq

August 8, 2007

I’m too busy to write my own stuff, so I’ll pass along this quote from Jeff Goldstein: “The Tenuous Case for Strategic Patience in Iraq: A Trip Report” [UPDATED]

The great lie from the anti-war side is that people like me don’t recognize the difficulty — or inherent tenuousness — of what it is we’ve been trying to accomplish in Iraq. But why else do these comfortable defeatists and inveterate contrarians think some of us have devoted so much time and energy to beating back their attempts to undermine the effort?

No strategy to combat the threat of Islamic terrorism is without risk. But maintaining the pre-911 status quo — which was once comfortable enough to declare we’d reached the end of history — is just a way of kicking the can down the road, something that liberal Boomers have proven themselves expert at. That the hard left supports those who would have us do nothing — well, bracketing calls to either “tolerate” a certain level of terrorism, or invade Pakistan, or nuke Iran, should they step out of line — suggests a marriage of convenience between the craven and the demagogic.

Read the whole thing, especially the part about mistaking possible progress for definite failure. Why do so-called progressives seem to fear change so much?

Heck here it is, I’ll save you a click:

It will never occur to [many of the anti-war agitators and defeatists] that some Sunni parties are threatening to bolt the gov’t as leverage against the Shia precisely because the Sunni insurgency is being defeated and is now switching sides to fight AQI. Nor will it occur to them that such can lead to: (a) more realistic negotiations on the pressing issues of reconciliation, oil revenues, etc; or (b) possible replacement of unrealistic Sunnis in the gov’t with more realistic ones, such as the tribal chiefs Maliki has been wooing as of late.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. Nobody knows what’s going to happen. One thing is clear though: those who would say there is only bad news and therefore we should withdraw need to modify their argument. A tenuous situation requires commitment to succeed.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2007 9:31 am

    Bingo; very true and very well stated.

  2. August 10, 2007 12:59 pm

    No, I want only fail-proof, costless foreign policy interventions from my government. If we can’t do something brilliantly, we shouldn’t do it at all. That will show everyone how moral we are, and they’ll just fall back in amazement and stop doing anything hurtful.

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