Carol Platt Liebau: The Good News in Iraq

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Good News in Iraq

As General Petraeus has testified before Congress this week, Americans have been hard pressed to find MSM that will report on the progress the General and Ambassador Ryan Crocker have described. Luckily, this piece in The Wall Street Journal does. Here are some key passages:

The Iraqi government puts its cell phone spectrum up for auction: It nets a better-than-expected sum of nearly $4 billion. At a recent conference in Dubai, "hundreds of Iraqi businessmen met an equal number of foreign investors newly interested in acquiring shares of business in Iraq." Iraqi oil is now flowing out of the country via Turkish pipelines, and the International Monetary Fund predicts economic growth for Iraq of 6% this year.

In the vicinity of Abu Ghraib, 1,700 men--many of them former Sunni insurgents--have joined the Shiite-dominated Iraqi Security Forces. The Iraqi government is quietly offering jobs or retirement packages to thousands of former soldiers, many of them one-time members of the Baath Party. Significantly, it is doing so without taking the politically sensitive steps of declaring a general amnesty or enacting legislation on de-Baathification.


In his testimony, General Petraeus noted that violent civilian deaths have declined by 45% in Iraq and 70% in Baghdad. Car and suicide bombings are down by nearly 50% since March, another astonishing turnabout. Here, too, the good news comes from the least expected of places: Anbar province, where Sunni tribal leaders and many former insurgents have realized their best interests lie with the U.S. and a democratic Iraqi government in which they have a say, and not with al Qaeda. Critics claim this realization has nothing to do with the surge, but surely the tribal sheikhs would not risk fighting al Qaeda unless they believed the U.S. and Iraqi government had shown the will to stay and prevail.

Of course, only a fool would expect the Democrats to acknowledge any of this.
It's worth noting that the only consistent stand Democrats have taken on Iraq for several years now has been that anything President Bush does there is wrong. As Ann Coulter has astutely pointed out, Democrats once argued that there could be no political solution without national security. Now they argue the converse. The only common theme to all their talking points? America is messing things up.

Anyone can see why. It's because the Democrats, willingly or unwillingly, have become invested in effecting a humiliating defeat in Iraq. They understand that, for better or worse, their party has become the mouthpiece for pessimism and failure in Iraq -- and the only way to maintain their political standing is to make sure America is defeated there. Even at that, they probably will not be able to avoid being tarred with the McGovernite label of defeatism once again for the next generation . . . It will, perhaps, be a just punishment for having treated a war (and, by extension, the lives of our military men and women) as nothing more than a political chew toy.


Blogger Earth to Carol said...

I was interested to learn from Petraeus or Crocker when those 15 out of 18 benchmarks, that haven't been met, will be met. They bobbed and weaved, gave anecdotal evidence but never addressed completing the necessary goals of the surge.

When asked why Petraues's numbers are at odds with other reports, he explained that the past one to five weeks of data were very good and especially the past week.

We know that in August the violence and fighting subsides due to their 130 (f) degree summer. We also know that the Iraqi government went on vacation. So when we compare each month of 2007 to each month of the previous year, all conditions are worse.

When Sen Warner asked Petraeus if what we are doing in Iraq is making the US safer, Petraeus said he doesn't know.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

This piece contains most of the mistakes common to previous pieces:

1. incorrect statements of fact. The casualty figures cited are, shall we say, highly selective. In the battle of numbers, a great many different numbers have been thrown around. Most of the numbers I have seen show no significant change in overall violent deaths. The figures Mr. Petraeus cites are based on highly contrived calculations. The most notorious of these is the exclusion of any deaths due to bullet wounds in the front of the head. If it was in the back of the head, it was an execution and thus is counted as political, but if it's in the front of the head then it is counted as criminal and not included in Mr. Petraeus' figures.

2. egregious partisanship. Rather than discuss the ideas, Ms. Liebau leaps to blame Democrats, even though not all Democrats agree with each other on these matters, and some Republicans agree with some Democrats on these matters. This simplistic black and white partisanship is for football games, not political analysis.

3. wild suppositions. "only a fool would expect the Democrats to acknowledge this" -- actually, there are some Democrats who believe that the surge is working. "Now they argue the converse". Again, "they" is a pretty big pronoun in this case. I just read Mr. Obama's speech and he's been quite consistent that there simply wouldn't be any political reconciliation ever.

I could go on, but I'm beginning to lose hope that Ms. Liebau is susceptible to reason.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

Not good news - Death follows Bush's photo-op in al Anbar.

AP News:

BAGHDAD - The most prominent figure in a U.S.-backed revolt of Sunni sheiks against al-Qaida in Iraq was killed Thursday by a bomb planted near his home in Anbar province, 10 days after he met with President Bush, police and tribal leaders said.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

More bad news from the NYT:

"A carefully constructed compromise on a draft law governing Iraq’s rich oil fields, agreed to in February after months of arduous talks among Iraqi political groups, appears to have collapsed."

Of course, some readers here will simply dismiss this as all lies from the evil subversive NYT.

9:40 AM  

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