Monday, February 19, 2007
Although attacks happen here and there, the general feeling is still closer to hope and appreciation of the plan than pessimism. More families are returning to the homes they were once forced to leave, and we're talking about some of the most dangerous districts such as Ghazaliya and Haifa Street.
I'm not saying things won't change, I'm not saying long term prospects look positive. I'm saying they are positive enough to warrant giving the plan a chance to do some good instead of blocking it or strangling it Murtha style. Or Hillary style--now that she's called for starting a pullout in 90 days. How do you surge and "redeploy" at the same time?...
P.S.: It's not too early to say that Hillary's performance in the opening weeks has been impressively unimpressive. It's pretty clear in retrospect, that the war with Iraq, however it comes out, was a bad gamble. A mistake, in other words. But now that we've made the mistaken gamble, it also seems clear--to Mohammed at least--that the surge might do some good. The correct position, by these lights, was War No, Surge Yes. It would be selfishly callous, in a stereotypically American way, for us to invade Iraq, make a mess, and then not be willing to pay any extra price to help fix the mess we've made. (Murtha's demand that the troops be given "a year at home"--and the heck with what happens to Iraqis like Mohammed--only emphasizes this self-interested perspective.)
Yet through a conscientiously applied mixture of high-minded comity, Machiavellian calculation, stubbornness and bad expert advice, Hillary has managed to arrive at a position that's precisely wrong on both counts: War Yes, Surge No.
Didn't most political observers sour on Hillary in 1994, when she stubbornly clung to her grand, high-minded health care plan long after it was clear to everyone that it was a lost cause? Wasn't she supposed to have learned her lesson from that episode? Isn't she making exactly the same error again--stubbornly clinging to her refusal to say her Iraq vote was the mistake it was? ("She wants to maintain a firmness," an unnamed advisor told the NYT.)** And then, in this case, trying to compensate for her stubbornness by indulging the left's pullout impulses?
She should maybe take a breather to watch The Queen, which is all about how a strong woman (Queen Elizabeth II) is talked by Tony Blair into climbing down from a stubborn position (refusal to ostentatiously grieve over Diana) that, even though it makes sense to her, is out of touch with reality. ...
But if Hillary's judgment is that bad ... well, we get to choose our queens and kings. Do Americans need all the drama?
P.P.S.: Who is Hillary's Tony Blair? It was supposed to be Bill. Where is he? Off zipping around with Ron Burkle?...
Update: See also Iraqpundit, whose relatives in Baghdad have been able to move back to their home, at least temporarily. He acknowledges that the sectarian "thugs" might "eventuallly" return. [via Insta ] Note that Mohammed is hearing firefights, which suggest to him that the targets of the "surge" are not just lying low: