Day By Day

Friday, January 12, 2007

How Does The Surge Play in Iraq?

Amir Taheri notes that many Iraqis responded to President Bush's "surge" speech with "sighs of relief." He writes:

"Maybe the Americans aren't running away after all," said the resident, a Sunni Arab, over the phone moments after President Bush unveiled his new plan. "The message seems to be that the United States will remain committed as long as Bush is in the White House."

Some 70 percent of Baghdad's violence is concentrated in five neighborhoods, where both Shiites and Sunnis have been the targets of rival death squads for months. Other Baghdadis say the population of those areas will greet the American troops with sweets and flowers.

The fear that the United States, bedeviled by internecine feuds, might cut and run has been at the root of the violence since Iraq's liberation in 2003.

Jihadists have fought not because they hope to win on the battlefield, but to strengthen the antiwar lobbies in the United States and Britain. Some in the new political elite have become fence sitters because they regard the United States as a fickle power that could suddenly change course. Others have created or expanded militias, in case the United States abandons Iraq before it can defend itself against internal foes and predatory neighbors.

The new Bush plan has raised Iraqi morale to levels not known for a year.

Read it here.

This has been a problem we have faced in every conflict since Vietnam -- the expectation that eventually we will cut and run, abandoning our allies to a gruesome fate. We are paying the price today for past inconstancy of purpose and are simply not trusted, even by our strongest allies. Our enemies know that all they have to do is to hang on for a few years and we will give up and go home. Dubya has, to his credit, tried to reverse this perception, but has been undercut at every turn by the Democrat opposition. Once again he has demonstrated that he is a far, far better man than his critics.

I'm talkin' to you, Hagel!

No comments: