Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Totten has a piece in Commentary about the dismal state of affairs in Iraq:
For the past two weeks I’ve been embedded with the United States Army in Baghdad, and I find myself unable to figure out what to make of this place. Baghdad, despite the remarkable success of the surge, is as mind-bogglingly run-down and dysfunctional as ever, even compared with other Arabic countries. Iraq is a dark place. At times it feels like a doomed country that has only been temporarily spared the reckoning that is coming. Other times it is possible to look past the grimness and see progress beyond the mere slackening off of violence and war. Is Iraq truly on the mend, or has a total breakdown been merely postponed? Opinions here among Americans and Iraqis are mixed, but nearly everyone seems to agree about one thing at least: terrorists and insurgents will respond with a surge of their own in the wake of the upcoming withdrawal of American forces.
This has been my concern for some time now. So much of the success in Iraq is built upon factors like the Anbar Awakenings, population shifts, etc. It could all crumble in an instant once we leave. Perhaps there's nothing for it but to collapse. Perhaps our mission was accomplished those many years ago when Bush stood cockily beneath that banner: Saddam was deposed. Iraq had been freed. End of story. Perhaps this has merely been an exercise in futility these past five years.