iraq situation update
Tacitus takes the antiwar bloggers to task for following the casualty count closely but not celebrating the appointment of a governming council in Iraq. Fair enough; here are my comments, cross-posted from a discussion thread at CalPundit.
Although I opposed the war in Iraq -- and partially on the grounds that the post-war situation would be much more difficult than Bush and Company seemed to imply -- I agree that we now have no choice but to stay the course there. We can't afford to fail; much more so than before, Iraq truly is a vital American security concern.
I, for one, am willing to accept this development as a positive sign. (Kudos, for example, for including three women on the 22-member council.) However, it really doesn't matter what bloggers on either side of the issue here think. The vote that counts comes from the Iraqi people, and the jury's still out there, according to the WaPo:
Although Bremer and his top political aides contend that the council's members represent a cross-section of the country and will have wide public support, it is not clear how Iraqis will react to a group that was handpicked by the occupation authority. While some Baghdad residents said they would adopt a wait-and-see attitude, others dismissed the group as American lackeys. "We cannot trust them," said Mohammed Abbas, an Oil Ministry employee who joined legions of Iraqis in watching the announcement of the council on live satellite television.
And I can't say the Bush Administration's track record in Afghanistan gives me much confidence. Leaving the Taliban matter aside, the fact is that we sponsored a loya jirga there, but now its rulers have control only of Kabul, and only barely that. I see little to indicate that Karzai's government is expanding its authority over the warlords, let alone the Taliban and al Qaeda strongholds along the Pakistani border.
The United States was able to establish friendly governments in Vietnam, too. That's the easy part. Getting the populace to accept those governments as legitimate is the hard part, and then the governments must actually have the ability to govern.
So yes, it's a positive development -- a welcome and badly needed one. But no, we have not established an independent government yet, nor is our involvement with Iraq anywhere close to over.
So, yes, it's a positive development, and one we should all hope takes root. But it remains to be seen whether this council will be successful in its mandate, and make no mistake about it, the US is still occupying Iraq and facing no small amount of hostility in doing so. Success will be truly measured when our soldiers are no longer dying there.