Friday, August 3, 2007

War and Spin

The Iraqi parliament has left for a month-long vacation, although it doesn't appear that they'll be particularly missed, as they're not accomplishing anything anyway.
The administration and its allies are busy laying the groundwork for the September-is-too-soon-to-judge argument about the "surge" and we should give Petreaus at least until November now. This is, of course, merely a variation on the tried and true "the next six months is critical" story line we used to get during the pre-Petreaus era. Like tomorrow, the next six months never comes, though. It's always in the future.
The administration's allies have been energetic lately, with aggressive attacks on bad-news bearers and defeatists. They've drummed up some selective statistics and made up others when needed to provide a veneer of respectability to their arguments. They have been especially energetic in arguing that we are making some "military' progress with the surge strategy and therefore it's working.
Of course, in a counterinsurgency it's fairly common for there to be "military" successes. Indeed, any military "failures" such as a base being overrun, a platoon or company-sized unit being defeated in battle or the insurgents seizing nontemporary control of a town or region is a serious sign of the probable imminent collapse of the government.
What we are seeing very little evidence of is any progress at all on the political front, which is by far the most important part. Absent something there, the endgame will be the same.
The American people, however, are past spinning, and the administration and its allies in punditry are fast running out of time. Having been told September is the time, I'm not sure how much more time Bush can buy himself. I suspect that the clock will run out for good with the end of the year and Americans will demand an end to the war in 2008. 2009 will not be an option.


  1. By not leveraging the peak of its military presence in Iraq, recent short-term gains on the battlefield, and the balance of power implications of the proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council states, to work toward a legitimate national government in Iraq, the U.S. is perhaps squandering the long-term prospects of the emergence of a stable, relatively friendly government in Iraq. Down the road, this failure could lead to the transformation of Iraq, or at least a sizable part of Iraq, into a de facto Iranian satellite.

  2. An Iraq that's merely an Iranian satellite may be one of the lesser evils if it should come to pass. There seem to be grimmer possibilities that are more likely.