Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Anti-Obama Duplicity In The Washington Post

When I saw this unsigned editorial last night, my thoughts were, "It's no surprise that the author lacked the courage to attach his name to it," and "I'm tired, so I'll wait for others to reply to it." So far I've come across a post in Tapped taking on the Post's characterization of Obama's positions as "eccentric"
One wonders what word the Post will use to categorize McCain's policy when someone asks him whether he'll stick by his pledge to leave when Iraqi leaders request it. Peculiar?
and a TPM Election Central post taking on the Post's claim that Iraqi officials don't support Obama's plan. But I think a response should also be made to this claim:
Other Iraqi leaders were more directly critical. As Mr. Obama acknowledged, Sunni leaders in Anbar province told him that American troops are essential to maintaining the peace among Iraq's rival sects and said they were worried about a rapid drawdown.
Right now, the U.S. is maintaining the status quo in Iraq. The Sunni factions would like to regain control of the entire nation. They surely have some justifiable fear that if the U.S. pulls out, they might become subject to treatment similar to what they dished out to Shiite factions under G.H.W.B.'s watch after the first Iraq War, or given the short end of the stick on oil revenues. But the reality is, one of the reasons there is so little meaningful progress on political reconciliation is that right now the Sunni factions don't have to negotiate. They can stonewall, and fall back on U.S. protection. A drawdown, rapid or otherwise, could force them into a political compromise that gives them far less than what they want. But maintaining the status quo gets us no closer to any sort of compromise.

Also in the Post, Ruth Marcus lets us know that, in a military conflict and post-conflict occupation, the "reward of careful perseverance may become visible only in the long arc of history", something that of course can be said about any armed conflict. Unfortunately, it does not inexorably follow that continuing an occupation will inevitably make things better, nor does it inexorably follow that the costs (financial and otherwise) of continuing an occupation will outweigh the possible long-term benefits. (And we face those great unknowns even if we hand out lots and lots of candy to Iraqi children.)

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