Among the many instances of chutzpah that make my eyes explode is the strange brew of logic exmplified by ABC News here:
The Success of the Surge Seemingly Puts Obama on the Defensive
July 15, 2008 2:22 PM
Though a majority of the American people support ending the war in Iraq and think the invasion was a mistake, Republicans have tried to put Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, into a box as he prepares for his first trip to Iraq since securing his party's presidential nomination.
The idea that the "surge" is a success hinges upon so many caveats that you'd have to attend a few months of Latin class to keep up. I'll just name a few:
- It first required successful ethnic cleansing to put an active civil war on 'hold'
- It required abandoning our holds on other territories
- It required arming and paying our prior enemies, now friends with American blood on their hands
- It required battling our well-paid prior friends, now enemies with American blood on their hands
- It required more American blood
- It strengthened Iran's role in Iraq
- It has not improved Iraq politically, which was the stated goal of the time
- Iraq wants us out even more
- It is unsustainable
You would think that any of the above would disqualify the "surge" as a success, or at least the last one, with anyone with a modicum of intelligence.
Granted, in this case, we are dealing with Jake "I Dated Monica So Give Me a Career" Tapper, so I'll save the commentators that point. And we're dating with the DC villagers who don't often like to mix facts with their statements of fact -- proven by the alternative universe in which China is drilling off the coast of Florida, no oil spilled during Katrina and John McCain is a steadfast Maverick straight-talker.
By which I mean, I get it, the surge is a "success" regardless of the facts on the ground, because enough people who pretend to like the food at Lauriel Plaza say it is. The people eating food in Iraq? Who listens to them.
Multiple bombings kill 40 in northern Iraq
Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2008
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Bombers killed around 40 people and wounded scores in several attacks in northern Iraq on Tuesday, days after the government vowed to expand a crackdown against militants in a region where al Qaeda retains influence.
In the worst attacks, two suicide bombers killed 27 people and wounded 68 when they blew themselves up outside an army recruitment centre in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, an Iraqi security source said.
The New Yorker wieghed in on this this week, again equating the current situation with "success". Even if they pin the credit as much on luck as surging...
At the start of 2007, no one in Baghdad would have predicted that blood-soaked neighborhoods would begin returning to life within a year. The improved conditions can be attributed, in increasing order of importance, to President Bush's surge, the change in military strategy under General David Petraeus, the turning of Sunni tribes against Al Qaeda, the Sadr militia's unilateral ceasefire, and the great historical luck that brought them all together at the same moment.
As for me, I'm just ranting I fear. Because the "surge as success" meme seems to be destined for long term, unargued "fact" -- regardless of whether it is also destined to join our successes with, say, getting so Soviets out of Afghanistan, helping Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, and I'd keep going on but it's hard to simultaneously type and bash one's head against the wall.
Because what really gets me, is how this idea of a success in Iraq seems to negate the "being wrong about Iraq in the first place."
Mickey Kaus, ladies and gents:
A reader emails:
People seem to think it's somehow a stroke of political genius that Sen. Obama is taking Sen. Hagel with him on his trip to Iraq. But why doesn't this highlight Obama's lack of judgment on the surge, by bringing along the man who considered it a catastrophically bad idea?
Actually, Hagel called the surge "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam." ... Is Obama cannily trying to demonstrate why Hagel would be a horrifying VP pick? Is he trying to deflect attention from his own poor surge judgment ("the surge has not worked") by bringing along as a lightning rod someone whose judgment was even worse than his? ... Imagine how embarrassing it would be if Obama went with an antiwar Republican like Gen. Zinni, who supported the surge, with what now looks like contrarian wisdom. ... 1:40 A.M.
So, Hagel, hated by Kaus for being RIGHT on Iraq as a whole, is now even more hated for being WRONG about the surge, even if he may not, in fact, have been wrong about the surge. (Since we're arming and paying God knows who for short term ends (see the aforementioned soviet afghanistan), we should all know by know how those chickens come home to roost).
I see this a lot. Political Correctness about the surge is seeming to absolve a lot of pro-Iraq warriors of all their prior wrongness about the war. Certainly, that's McCain's point -- although he's at least trying to rewrite his own history of being pro-EVERYTHING that Bush did about the war.
I would think the easiest way to deflect this would be to argue the point that the surge is a "success" -- at least in conjunction with Obama's "Iraq doesn't matter in the war on terror" point. But maybe the fact is too far entrenched to try.
I wish it wasn't. For my own forhead bruising purposes. At least Jon Stewart made a point of Maliki's handing out our US Aid dollars to citizens like, as Stewart said, "Sanatra at the Sands."
BAGHDAD - It is a politician's dream: Handing out cold, hard cash to people on the street as they plead for help. Iraq's prime minister has been doing just that in recent weeks, doling out Iraqi dinars as an aide trails behind, keeping a tally.
In that China-drilling, Katrina-non-spilling, free money for everyone just not Us, alternative universe, no wonder the surge is a success!