Victory No More? The Debate Continues

I received a few intriguing posts regarding my brief piece on Iraq. To be completely honest, I quickly penned it not only to discuss the recent New York Times Op-Ed, but also to open the door to discussions about a possible win in Iraq. Look, I’m not in denial; I know how bad it has gotten, but can we truly be shut off to all hope? Yes, the war has been mismanaged. I get it. But what I cannot seem to grasp is the shear surprise individuals have when confronted with “war” in general.  People are dying which is heartbreaking, but what typically happens in war?  I’m not sure where our surprise is; maybe it’s media and the ability to actually view the carnage first-hand; I’m not sure (and I’m not saying this opposition to war is wrong; it’s simply perplexing.  I’m guilty of it at moments too).

Personally, I despise war. I have always believed that there is a way to connect with the heart, mind and soul of each and every individual. Unfortunately, my Utopian ideology has been proven incorrect throughout the course of history.

The problem that I have with the anti-Iraq War sentiment isn’t the stance itself, rather it is the rhetoric and the incessant insistence that we are failing and that victory is virtually impossible. Sure, it does seem as though a win is nowhere nearby, but I can’t help but think that we’ve all given up prematurely. I’m not saying that Iraq is totally justified, rather I am questioning what we’re thinking and doing as Americans. Have we convinced ourselves through blogs, media outlets and other lenses that look negatively at the war (whether this negativity is warranted or factual is not the issue here) that prevailing simply cannot occur?

This is such a complex topic, but I will try to complete at least a base understanding of what I’d like to convey; I’ll expound upon my feelings further at a later date. First, allow me to address BrianR. Brian, thanks for the post but the Brookings Institute is a self-described semi-centrist, but left leaning institution. Hence these words from the organization’s web site:

“An independent research and policy institute with a left-liberal inclination, which seeks to improve the performance of American institutions…”

And yes, both authors are being extremely cautious – which is good. If they weren’t being cautious I’d have serious issues with that as well. With this said, what if Americans continue to ignore positive advances – if there are truly any at all? What if we are finally engaging in a methodology that has the potential to lead toward peace and prosperity in Iraq?

I’m simply worried that we’re all so negative about the situation that we’re ignoring and shoving off any and all signs of progress. It’s not a simple equation; it is a debacle that will take years to rectify itself. And Carol, allow me to clarify that O’Hanlon and Pollack are “liberals” on the subject of Iraq; there is, as you mentioned, much controversy over their past stances on the issue, but that’s truly not important to my arguments. What is important is that we all need to muster some objectiveness and utilize it to take one last look at Iraq. The Times article, despite the controversy surrounding it, is a spark that just could ignite what we need to ensure we make the best possible decision for Iraq and for America.

The purpose of my mention of the NY Times (and I like the “liberal rag” reference”) was to merely show that there may be hope somewhere underneath the carnage. I’m not entirely disagreeing with you, Carol. And I wasn’t taking joy in the fact that deaths were down among Americans. I mean, to be realistic – do you think they’ll go down among Iraqis once we leave and the terrorists have free reign (assuming they don’t hop back on over to the U.S. again)? I am sympathetic to the Iraqis as well; I was simply presenting a benchmark — which to some degree represents positivity in the region.

And BrianR, I’d like to briefly respond to this:

“Also, I think it’s unfair to say liberals will be upset by progress in Iraq. Most liberals I know have no faith in Bush or Cheney and they want to redirect the strategy in Iraq.”

Most people – not just liberals want benchmarks set. As far as I’ve seen no liberal has paid any homage to any positive event in Iraq (and there have been some, despite popular belief). The only solution offered has been: send the troops home. I did not mean to be offensive by insinuating that there may be opposition to positive news on Iraq; it just seems as though positive news means, “Hey maybe we should stay for awhile longer,” and liberals don’t seem too on par with that idea (I’m not even saying I am; I’m merely presenting thoughts and hypotheticals).

And as far as faith in leadership goes – maybe liberals (and conservatives) should try a little harder. Redirecting strategy in Iraq doesn’t mean ripping troops out of the region; we need a middle ground which no side seems willing to meet on.