Monday, November 19, 2007
Hold The Confetti
It turns out that Stephen Biddle's best-case scenario by which recent encouraging developments in Iraq might solidify into stable outcomes entails the continued presence of 80-100,000 American troops for 20-30 years, with just one added ingredient: A whole lot more of the same dumb luck that conspired to save our ass in the first place. So I'm officially backing off from any declarations of an Iraqi endgame until further notice.
That said, it does seem like the new dynamics in Iraq warrant at least a holding pattern to see whether they stick. They certainly make another round of the Congressional Democrats' humiliating, masochistic war-funding strategy an ill-advised exercise in pathetic futility. There were certainly arguments to be made for opposing the Surge and pulling the plug on the War this past spring. They are less compelling now, whether or not the longterm chances for a satisfactory outcome have been fundamentally improved.
At any rate, the drawdown of the Surge has already begun. So a more effective political approach would be to simply applaud the recent turn of events, set a date for reassessing the situation once the Surge has been fully drawn down, and call attention to the risks our new strategic alliances have created. I don't think it would hurt to try to get a more active UN involvement in the peacekeeping and nation-building efforts, in a civilian capacity for sure, with the possibility of turning some of the symbolic functions now carried out by Coalition contingents to UN Blue Helmets.
Most importantly, Democrats need to pound the message home that fortuitous as it may be, the recent improvement in the security environment does nothing to change the underlying strategic catastrophe in terms of lives, money, prestige and influence lost as a result of the Iraq fiasco.