From Understanding Wood Finishing comes this little nugget of wisdom:
The real reason for secrecy is the necessity of concealing the fact that there is nothing to conceal.
I wonder if historians will look back onto our age and note that the war on terror was won, as much as it could be won by mid 2002 and we just kept on going. That would explain the decision to go into Iraq, that is to say the short term problem was solved for a while, so why not work on the long term problem?
Update – I mis-phrased this. It should read more like “we solved the problem, and then tried working on the condition with no avail.”
While it’s common now to hear reports of the surge working, I’m curious to know how much the drop in violence correlates to the ethnic cleansing that’s been happening in Iraq for the past few years. All of the Iraqi on Iraqi violence is purposeful, i.e. designed to drive the Sunni out of Shia neighborhoods and vice versa. What if the militias and insurgents are just wrapping up the ethnic cleansing and there’s no one handy to kill?
I imagine it’s hard to find mixed neighborhoods these days, which would make the murders and bombings more difficult to commit. A good way to test the theory would be to see if inter-ethnic violence increases as extra-ethnic violence decreases. The recent tribal push against AQ is some evidence of that as without readily available Shia AQ has nothing to offer the Sunni tribes.
So many questions, so little data. I guess another way of putting it is “what if Iraq completed it’s civil war while everyone was debating the meaning of “Civil War”? (note, I still dislike the term to refer to the conflict, Gang war is the better term.).
Randy Barnett has an interesting article on libertarian opinion and the Iraq war in the Wall Street Journal. It had this little nugget of pessimism disguised as hope
They hope that the early signs of progress in this offensive will continue, so that American and Iraqi forces can achieve the military victory necessary to allow the Iraqi government to assume responsibility for protecting the Iraqi people from terrorists, as well as from religious sectarian violence. They hope this success will enable American soldiers to leave Iraq even before they leave Europe and Korea, and regain the early momentum that led, for example, to Libya’s abandonment of its nuclear weapons program.
WWII ended in 1945, the Cold War in 1991, and Korea has been at truce, if not at peace since 1953. that means we would be in Iraq until 2040 at the earliest?
First, there is this depressing report on civilian casualties in Iraq. The numbers are all going the wrong way.
Second is this post from Ross Douthat about the long term impact of Iraq, and how similar wars have affected the US and the British.
Last is this post from the Belmont Club. I haven’t read that site in quite some time (it’s a weird combination of gloom and optimism), but Wretchard does do sweeping phrases well. To wit:
Al-Qaeda, like all the evil vapors of the world through history, inevitably comes to resemble its predecessors. Soldiers of the dark eventually find themselves wearing the same livery. Flowers bloom in myriad ways, but evil, like pornography, is repetitive. It marches to same dull beat that all the Lost of the ages have heard call. Poor men, these al-Qaeda, they who would remake the world in their ostensibly new vision only to find it had been templated long ago by some sad and ancient corruption.
From Stephen DeAngelis, who is in Kurdistan right now.