Thursday, January 06, 2005


William Raspberry Is Wrong On Iraq.

But don't take my word for it, read Sobekpundit's take on Raspberry's latest Washington Post editorial.

Permit me add a few observations to Sobek's comments:

-- The "Pottery Barn Rule" is cute shorthand for a deadly serious concern: the moral (not to mention geopolitical) consequences of abandoning the Iraqi people.

Think it's no big deal to leave in the middle of a war, let the enemy win? Tell that to the boat people.

-- Of course things were better under Saddam Hussein.

For Saddam Hussein. And Kofi Annan. And Jacques Chirac.

Hey, the Jews had it pretty good under the Nazis, until that midnight knock at the door. Good thing we waited until a few million were dead before we decided to make things worse for Europe so it could eventually get better.

My guess, and it's only a guess, will say that it was pretty dang hard to be a Negro slave during the Civil War. Boy, we shoulda never upset *that* apple cart, huh?

It's a fact about war: things always are the worst before they get better. It's kind of logically unavoidable.

You know when the bloodiest summer of the Civil War was? 1864, three years after it began.

America's most savage battles in World War II occurred more than three years after Pearl Harbor.

Our enemy is not fighting to draw. He's not fighting to score political points, or gain concessions at a peace table. He may have real political goals-- power, money, land-- but he is unwilling to use political means to achieve them. He will fight to the death in Iraq. If we leave Iraq, he will follow, just as he followed when we left Iran, Lebanon and Somalia.

But it's so easy to just declare victory and get out.

Hey, here's a novel thought: how about winning the war, and leaving victorious? Did that ever occur to Raspberry? Or did he always think the war was unwinnable? If so, what made it unwinnable?

There's no need for Mr. Raspberry to sit on the fence. Although that is what he seems to be best at.

Yeah, counterinsurgencies are hard. Tell that to the British who fought in Malaya. Or the Americans who fought in the Philippines. Or the Greeks who fought the Communists in the Balkans.

You know what those nations all have in common? They each defeated the insurgents they faced.

No war is unwinnable. However, a first step towards losing one is definitely to stop trying to win it.

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