I don’t like to make predictions – most importantly, because I am lousy at it and have a terrible track record. If you were to see my stock portfolio or a printout of my (infrequent, thankfully) results in Vegas you would know what I mean. I also had to eat crow on my own blog a few years ago, having made some (again, thankfully) now-forgotten predictions.
I am, in sum, no Nostradamus, but neither, according to various critics, was Nostradamus himself. So, with my head ducking appropriately, here goes The Big Prediction – or more exactly, predictions:
The US will win the War in Iraq, and Hillary Clinton will be elected our next President.
Contradictory? Yes, I know. So what? And – okay, okay – I also know defining what constitutes winning in Iraq is no easy thing. It’s highly unlikely that Bin Laden, Moqtada al Sadr, or whoever, will sign an armistice agreement with David Petraeus and all will be solved. In fact, the thought borders on the ludicrous. But, I submit, “winning in Iraq” is rather like what Louis Armstrong said when asked to define “jazz” – “Man, if you gotta ask, you’ll never know.”
Well, not quite. But near enough. Of course some people wouldn’t declare it a victory even if Bin Laden, al Sadr, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah all disarmed, publicly renounced jihad and pledged allegiance to liberal democracy forever, while signing a document in blood and repeating it all nightly on Al Jazeera for ten years. And we should probably be skeptical if they did, what with the translation of hudna and all. And, of course, Iraq is only a way station in a struggle that could last for decades.
But still, returning to the Satchmo approach, I think we can agree on some generalities for winning in Iraq – increased quiet and lower violence, political progress with a relatively stable democratic system, economic growth, and, finally, the ability of the Iraqis to take care of themselves to some extent. In other words, not necessarily Denmark, but decent enough by comparison with the vicious dictatorship that proceeded it.
And that seems to be happening. For proof, you don’t need to believe recent reports from PajamasXpress bloggers Michael Ledeen and Victor Davis Hanson . These brilliant gentlemen are, I admit, biased (aren’t we all?) and tarnished, at least in Michael’s case, with the dreaded re-upped “n” word (neo-whatever-it-is). You can believe instead the major Democratic Party candidates – receiving basically the same information – whose criticism of the war has become strangely muted and who, to a man and woman, refused to promise to be out of Iraq by 2012. Why? If it was or is such a disaster, shouldn’t we be cutting our losses and getting the hell out? Good money after bad and all that…
But, no, these candidates are afraid to take a stand – or a solid one anyway – preferring to play games about who was against the war first, enough to placate the Moveon/Kos/Huffpo crowd, but not very much more. They seem more concerned at this point with health care, the environment and other traditional Democratic issues. So something’s up. And that something is more than likely a victory of sorts, propelled, at least in part, by Petraeus’ counter-insurgency strategy (aka “The Surge), which should have been put in place years before.
But no matter. How long will it take now? Well, as I said, I’m no Nostradamus and certainly not enough of one for that. But I will make this corollary prediction, which should be obvious: most people will be reluctant to admit this victory has occurred when it does. The right, having learned from Bush’s naivety (“Mission Accomplished!”) on the aircraft carrier, will be smart enough to keep its mouth shut (I hope so anyway), and the left has no vested interest in admitting anything anyway. So mum’s the word on Iraqi victory. Don’t look for it on the six o’clock News or in the New York Times – not on the editorial page anyway.
Instead, look for a Hillary victory in ’08. It’s almost pre-ordained – and we all know the reason. All together now:
“No good deed goes unpunished!”
We all remember that quote – attributed to Claire Booth Luce – because it is so often true. Here’s another, slightly more complicated, this one from William Morris (the Victorian socialist, not the agent):
“Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes out not to be what they meant, other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.”
And speaking of names, while they may be treated better in some distant future history books, those dreaded bearers of the reviled “n” word – who are accused of instigating this wrong-headed and “fruitless” war – are not likely to be getting much vindication in the short run from victory, whatever its extent. Not fair? Sorry, that’s the way things go. Again, cf. Claire Booth Luce.
But they can console themselves with this. I found a link on the Tigerhawk blog to an October 19th article in Reasononline. It seems that the next President of the United States may herself be a “neocon.”