Thursday, November 22, 2007

Something to be thankful for: Progress in Iraq

From Prospect Magazine:

"Understanding this expensive victory is a matter of understanding the remaining violence. Now that Iraq's big questions have been resolved—break-up? No. Shia victory? Yes. Will violence make the Americans go home? No. Do Iraqis like voting? Yes. Do they like Iraq? Yes—Iraq's violence has largely become local and criminal. The biggest fact about Iraq today is that the violence, while tragic, has ceased being political, and is therefore no longer nearly as important as it was. Some of the violence—that paid for by foreigners or motivated by Islam's crazed fringes—will not recede in a hurry. Iraq has a lot of Islam and long, soft borders. But the rest of Iraq's violence is local: factionalism, revenge cycles, crime, power plays. It will largely cease once Iraq has had a few more years to build up its security apparatus."

Anti-war Democrats---including all the candidates for the Democratic Party's nomination for president---will continue to ignore the positive developments in Iraq at their party's peril. If present trends continue, by the time the Repugs and the Democrats have chosen candidates, it may be so obvious even San Francisco progressives won't be able to ignore it. The danger is that Republicans will be able to make the usual charge about the Democrats being unreliable on national security issues, and they will be able to make it stick with an increasingly stable Iraq as a cautionary tale: "See, we told you so. When the going gets tough for America, the Democrats want to cut and run." The best-case scenario for the Democrats: they will essentially choose a candidate in the early primaries, and he/she will be able to modify his/her anti-war position to fit the realities on the ground in Iraq.

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