Saturday, August 23, 2008

Victory in Iraq Confounds Antiwar Forces

A couple of months back I wrote a post outlining the ever-shifting antiwar positions in opposition to the Iraq deployment (going all the way back to 2003).

This year, for example, when John McCain made remarks in January about having a U.S. commitment in Iraq for "100 years," his comments were twisted by
war opponents to mean a century of anti-insurgency, urban combat, and Dover landings. As progress has continued more recently - and as long-term U.S. basing arrangements in Iraq haven been discussed - the 100-year meme has been described as "neo-imperialism." Now, amid signs that a preliminary security pact with Iraq is near agreement, as well as reports suggesting that the Iraq army is being transformed to a stand-alone fighting force transitioning beyond counterinsurgency to the defense of the nation's borders from outside threats, there's some antiwar buzz insisting that Iraq's army is ill-equipped for robust, independent operations, and that security on the ground is tenuous - a condition that would strengthen Barack Obama's electoral position on the war.

Alas, the antiwar elements look like some of
those long lost Japanese soldiers who continued to fight long past the surrender of Japan in 1945.

These are the misfortunes of the left's antiwar forces. As it turns out, Noemie Emery has examined the irrationalism of Barack Obama and the Democratic antiwar base now that defeat on the ground has essentially been ruled out:

McCain and his party ... wanted to win the war all along, but for Obama and many Democrats, the sudden lurch from the catastrophic Bush failure to unexpected victory has caused incoherence. Last year, in damage control, Chuck Schumer declared that the surge itself had been counterproductive: "The violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge," he insisted, without quite explaining it. "It wasn't that the surge brought peace." Nancy Pelosi said the surge hadn't worked, and then said it worked only because Iran let it. To Time's Joe Klein, the surge is whipped cream on top of the pile of excrement that is the war, a debacle that somehow produced undeniable victory. "The reality is that neither Barack Obama nor Nuri al-Maliki nor most anybody else believes that the Iraq war can be 'lost' at this point," Klein wrote on July 22, a day after he compared the war effort to fertilizer, and the same day he called the war he said had been won a "disastrous" enterprise. Obama tried the same thing when he called the surge a tactical success within a larger strategic debacle, but a success he would still vote against - knowing in advance it would still be successful - if once again given the chance.

A commander in chief who votes against the success of his own armed forces? Is this the judgment - and change - that we can believe in?
Last month, amid all the political jockeying over the definition of "time horizons" in Iraq, Spencer Ackerman exclaimed:

The Iraq war is and has always been an obscenity, a filthy lie born of avarice and lust for power masquerading as virtue. This is what imperialism looks like.
Actually, this is what denial looks like. But they do keep trying.