Iraq, yes, but also...
The papers and airwaves are full of commentary about the end of the American war in Iraq. Henceforth, aside from soldiers training Iraqis, and perhaps the occasional provision of air support, our troops will sit in bases, outside Iraqi cities, minding their own business. Rather like Europe.
Many smart people, including former VP Cheney, are worried that it might be too soon. Terrorists are still operating in Iraq. Will the Iraqis be able to manage it? To put the matter differently, we won the war in Iraq, might we now lose the peace by abandoning the battlefield prematurely?
The trouble with the debate is that, as usual, it ignores the real issue, which is the war itself. The question about Iraq is the wrong question; you can't answer it without addressing the broad war, of which Iraq is just one piece.
The real question is, how are we doing in the broad war (the one that stretches from Afghanistan into Europe, with active battlefields in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Palestine and Lebanon)?
The answer must involve Syria and Iran--the two countries that are providing the bulk of the terrorists' support--and Saudi Arabia, which funds the global indoctrination of would-be terrorists. If we're going to win the war, we have to thwart Tehran and Damascus, and, at a minimum, get the Saudis to stop paying for pre-terrorism radicalization all over the world.
The answer, then is: we are doing very badly. Indeed, we're not doing at all. Au contraire, we and our feckless Western allies are, for the most part, actively appeasing those whom we should be confronting. We famously dithered as Iran crushed the incipient revolution (a revolution that would have enormously mitigated the threat Iran represents). It's obvious that Obama et. al. were annoyed and embarrassed by the outpouring of passion for freedom all over Iran, because it interrupted their efforts at lovemaking with the regime's leaders. Meanwhile, Obama announced he is sending an ambassador to Damascus, where Bashar Assad is Iran's most faithful friend in the region. And nothing at all is being done to restrain the Saudis' multi-billion dollar funding of the global radical Wahabbi madrassas, from which radicalized young muslims emerge.
But nobody is asking the real question, not even Cheney, who behaves as if he just doesn't want to talk about Iran. Did he have anything to say about supporting the revolution? If so, I missed it. He could authoritatively provide the proper context for the debate, but he doesn't.
Faster, please. Sigh.
UPDATE: From the AP, “The top U.S. military commander in Iraq on Tuesday accused Iran of continuing to support and train militants who are carrying out attacks, including most of the ones in Baghdad. Gen. Ray Odierno said the attacks have fallen in number but are still a problem. He made the comments just after the U.S. relinquished security for Baghdad and other urban areas to Iraqi forces, part of a security agreement that will see all American soldiers out of the country by the end of 2011. ‘Iran is still supporting, funding and training surrogates who operate inside of Iraq. They have not stopped and I don't think they will stop,’ Odierno told reporters at the U.S. military headquarters outside Baghdad. ‘I think many of the attacks in Baghdad are from individuals that have been in fact funded or trained by the Iranians.’”