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May 13, 2004

BELMONT CLUB, whose track record has been better than most on this subject, surveys what's going on in Iraq:

This was not supposed to happen. April was supposed to mark the death rattle of the American occupation in Iraq. It was never meant to lead to joint Marine-Iraqi patrols in Fallujah or Iraqi commandos hunting down Moqtada Al-Sadr in Najaf. Yet the change did not proceed from "more American boots on the ground" nor from the provision of additional guards for the Baghdadi antiquities or an influx of NGOs. Still less was it the consequence of a grant of legitimacy from the United Nations or the messianic arrival of French troops. In fact it coincided with the departure of the Spanish contingent from Iraq. The change sprang from the correct application of the original strategy: building a democratic and free Iraq by recognizing the leadership which arose from the circumstances. It arose not from an imposed set of politically correct commissars in Baghdad but in complementing indigenous efforts with American strengths.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Read this column by Austin Bay, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails:

It is ironic that Bush is accused by the left of oversimplifying matters and while Kerry claims to be more "nuanced." In fact, what is beginning to emerge into public view is an Iraq strategy that is working and which is working only because it is extremely nuanced.

Perhaps he's been misunderestimated.