Strong opinions, weakly held

Thirty years from now

You know what I’m going to hate, if I’m still around? Thirty years from now, people will be talking about how we could have won in Iraq if only whichever President takes office in January, 2009 would have had the guts to see the war through.


  1. I still have trouble understanding why this is called a “war” and why we have to “win”. This “war” is not between an enemy combatant and the United States, it’s between two different religious factions within Iraq battling for control — and the U.S. military unfortunately is stuck in the middle because they cannot choose sides. I always felt we’re in Iraq because we’re there to restore order and help the Iraqis get on their feet. The fact that this is not working is not because we’re “losing” a war, nor should we “see it through”. The issue is one of semantics but the Bush Administration and their supporters sold this whole thing as a “war” to the media and the people so that is what it is called; and that ultimately is the price we have to pay.

  2. I think you’re way overestimating. I saw Charlie Daniels on TV the other day already blaming the politicians (by which he meant the Democrats) for losing the war because they’re keeping the soldiers from “fighting hard enough”.

  3. I think Cameron makes an excellent point. I’m a big Jim Webb (D VA) fan and I’ve heard him make the same point. I’m surprised that I don’t hear any of the other politicians picking up on it.

    Anytime it seems there is criticism of Iraq policies the republicans slough it off on the troops i.e. You don’t want us to win? withdraw, surrender, emboldening the enemy, America Hating and all the other silly sound bites they have successfully spread to the public.

    Because they have been doing this for so long they have created the false climate of defeat that the troops will carry with them when this thing is finally over. Its really a shame that these “Pro troops” politicians cannot accept blame for all of their misjudgments and mistakes. Instead they put the load square onto the backs Sgt Neighbor, and Corporal Mary next door just home from Iraq to trudge around with for the next 30 years.

  4. I agree with both of you, of course. The US is just one of many factions in Iraq, all of which are pursuing their own, often conflicting goals. There are various Shiite factions, various Kurdish factions, various Sunni factions, other smaller ethnic groups, the United States, Iran, Syria, terrorists, criminals, and so on. Various coalitions there cooperate when it suits their interests and shoot each other when that suits their interests.

    Iraq will stabilize when a critical mass of the competing factions decide that politics serves their interests more than fighting does. I am not confident at all that the US presence in Iraq is any way helpful in achieving that goal.

  5. I don’t know — 35 years after we left Vietnam, I don’t hear anyone say we could have won it if LBJ or Nixon did anything differently. Everyone pretty much says it was a mistake. Hopefully history will see leaving Afghanistan for Iraq in the same way.

  6. I think Matt makes an excellent point above. If the situation in Iraq plays out in a way at all similar to the situation in Vietnam, then most of the projections currently being thrown around in the mainstream are just plain wrong.

    There are those that believe we could have won in Vietnam if Nixon wouldn’t have changed the game. From what I understand, this belief is widely held amongst the same neo-conservatives that got us into Iraq initially and are keeping us there today.

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