First, and with all due respect, you (not directed at me--Darren) are wrong about this. Very, very wrong. Come join me in Baghdad and work with my Iraq staff of Shia, Sunni, Kurd and Christian for even a week and then tell me there is not such thing as the Iraqi people. They are Iraqis - they have extremely strong ties to their religious groups as is part of their culture but they all firmly believe they are Iraqi. The majority of Iraqis are not extremists. This is SO important to understand. They don't have to agree with the insurgents but to disagree without the weapons to defend yourself is certain death in this town.
Second, the attacks in Baghdad have increased because the troops are coming. 20K Americans and 6 Brigades of trained Iraqi troops. The insurgent groups are striking hard while they can - before the neighborhoods are cut off and cleared out. Even Sadr has ended is boycott of the government and come back to the table.
Third, this is no puppet government. It was democratically elected by the Iraqi people and the historic significance of that fact should not be belittled. Get that idea out of your head. Are they strongly influenced by the US? Yes. We expected too much of them to think they could hit the ground running in 2006. There is corruption - no argument, but there is corruption in EVERY government. Deal with it.
Lastly, 90% of the violence in Iraq occurs in only 4 of the 18 provinces. Only 4. What do you think is happening in the rest of the country? Progress. What would be fool hardy would be to pull out now. You are believing the media hype. A stable, democratic Iraq is very much a possible future reality, but we have to stay the course.
There's one person's view, a view I agree with (for the most part) from a person whose views I respect even when I don't agree with them.
Of course I watched the State of the Union speech last night. I think it would have been more accurate for the President to say, "Our nation is strong, but the state of our union is weak." Honestly, genuinely, truly, I think there are people in Congress who want us to lose this war. This isn't the war we wanted, but it is the war we've got, and some want us to lose it so they can gain political points.
I now fear that Iraq can become like Vietnam--but not in the way the lefties claim. General Giap later wrote that he was ready to sue for peace after the Tet '68 Offensive. Make no mistake about it--we were surprised by that offensive, but reacted quickly and violently and stacked up Viet Cong bodies like cord wood. In fact, Tet was such a military blunder for the VC that the Cong ceased being an effective fighting force; after Tet '68, the North Vietnamese Army was our principal foe. Giap knew they had lost and was ready to sue for peace--until he saw the American media describe America's defeat. At that point his plan changed from winning to not losing; he would simply wait the Americans out.
Even then we tried to fight a politically correct war. We allowed the enemy sanctuary in Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam. We forbad our aircraft to fire unless fired upon, the proverbial Catch 22. We kept trying to negotiate a peace instead of win a war.
Still, our soldiers fought on. And they did an exceptional job. Even fighting with one arm tied behind their back as I described above, they still punished the enemy. The NVA was abused. Let's not forget--our last fighting men left Vietnam in 1973, but it wasn't for two more years, in 1975, that the North Vietnamese could mount the invasion that finished off South Vietnam. That's a pretty bad thrashing they must have taken, not to be able to strike decisively at the South for two years.
And what happened after we abandoned the South Vietnamese--while the Soviets continued to assist the North? The history is well-known, there's no need for me to detail it here. The history of communism is consistent, if nothing else--executions and reeducation camps top the list, with numbers of victims rising well into the millions. With Vietnam you can add the "boat people", those who fled on anything that would float to get to freedom. I've heard the stories firsthand, I've worked with boat people. They knew what they were leaving behind, and were willing to risk perilous days on rickety boats just for a chance to exchange their lot for freedom. How many people died on the boats? How many were "reeducated"? How many were tortured? The Left doesn't like to answer those questions; those are "unfortunate events" that occur whenever there's a "change in government". Euphemisms are the stock of the Left.
This brings us back to Iraq. It's difficult to fight a real war today--war is ugly, it's brutal, and free people don't have much of a stomach for seeing such brutality on tv. We try to fight it nicely, all civilized-like, while our enemies slice throats and put the video on YouTube. Just like in Vietnam, our news media serve us a daily dish of "the war is lost", "it's hopeless", "we're losing". Like General Giap, our enemy sees this and knows that they need only hold on long enough to outlast the American public. We could win, but many in Congress want us to withdraw--just as we did in Vietnam. We see the difficulties that exist today; is there any reason to believe the strategic situation will be any better, for us or for the Iraqis, if we abandon them like we abandoned the South Vietnamese?
I think of World War II, and wonder how today's media would have dealt with that war. After getting hit at Pearl Harbor we got lucky at Midway. After that we bled our way across the Pacific, but at least we had a few patches of sand in the ocean to show for our efforts. Let's look at the European Theater.
1941: Japanese conduct secret attack on US Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Why are we fighting the Germans?
1942: U-boats sink allied shipping at will. This is unwinnable; we need to withdraw and let the Brits deal with this themselves. The Nazis didn't have anything to do with Pearl Harbor.
1942: US 8th Air Force begins daylight bombing raids over continental Europe. Casualties are atrocious, reaching as high as 25% on any single mission. This expenditure of American blood and treasure is too costly and isn't stopping the Nazis at all. That's because the Nazis aren't fighting for a country, they're fighting for an ideology--and you can't fight an ideology militarily. We need to negotiate--or let the British fight this fight. We should "redeploy" our forces to North America and defend our borders. We've already lost more men than we lost at Pearl Harbor--a "grim milestone".
1942: Americans land in Algeria and Morocco--and are attacked by French forces, our supposed allies. This is an obvious failure of diplomacy, showing what a political lightweight Roosevelt is. He should stop smirking with that cigar in his mouth.
1943: Our first encounter with the Germans, at the Kasserine Pass, goes horribly for the Americans. Our men are outgunned, out-trained, and out-generaled. There's no reason for us to be fighting in North Africa. It's time to discuss impeaching Roosevelt.
1943: Still bombing the Germans, but they're still fighting. How much is this war costing us each day? How many bombers are we losing? How many schools could we build with the money spent on the bombers that are shot out of the sky each day?
1943: American amphibious landing at Anzio, near Rome, results in heavy US casualties. We're no closer to defeating the Germans. Italy is a quagmire.
1944: We're still bombing the Germans, and they're still fighting back--harder than ever. How many more airplanes must we lose before we realize this is a lost cause? We keep sending and losing more aircraft and men, with no end in sight. Congress is abdicating its oversight of the executive branch.
1944: D-Day invasion results in an allied toehold on continental Europe. It took two weeks for allied forces to achieve the objectives that they planned to reach on the first day. Obviously Roosevelt and Eisenhower had no plan for dealing with German opposition. Normandy is a quagmire. What companies are getting rich off this war?
1944: Allied movement across France requires carpet bombing. How many innocent French have to die for Roosevelt's war? We bomb their houses, destroy their towns--and we expect them to welcome us as liberators? Republicans should press for a non-binding resolution to demand the President stop sending more troops to "liberate" Europe.
1944: Germans counterattack through Belgium in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge. They achieved complete surprise over the allies, whose losses were heavy. Where was allied intelligence? How come they had no idea the Germans were coming? How could the Germans mass such forces right under allied noses and the allies not know it? Republicans in Congress should consider hearings on the conduct of the war. Europe is a quagmire.
1945: Germans surrender. Roosevelt betrays Eastern Europe to the communists. Wait, we like the communists. But Roosevelt is a warmonger. How should we cover this?
I've said it before: our Fourth Estate is a Fifth Column. It gives aid and comfort to our enemies. It didn't do so in WWII, but General Giap himself said it did in Vietnam, and it's doing so in Iraq today.
Is it too early to wonder, and fear, if night is descending on civilization itself?
Update, 1/25/07: I don't usually read the Huffington Post, but this post ties in with what I've written above. The comments on that post indicate why I don't usually read the Huffington Post.