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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Victory challenge

The Oklahoma blogger Red Stater has issued a "victory challenge" to "liberal" bloggers. He wants bloggers on the left to declare that the US cannot leave Iraq because that means defeat. He recently left this challenge in a comment on one of my recent posts.

Oh, and he thinks I'm in denial about Iraq.

Recently, he left a comment on my December 4, 2005 post "Failed state?"
So you can't determine (or guess) if US troops supporting Iraq's Democracy is a stablizing factor or not...yet you already determined that removing US troops would be destablizing.

Therefore, if removing US troops is bad then keeping US troops in Iraq is good.
(for democracy)

Your hatred for Bush is obviously affecting your ability to draw correct conclusions from your own findings.
I tried to leave the following reply, but there were too many links for haloscan:

You are commenting on a December 2005 post -- written nearly 13 months ago. The circumstances have drastically changed.

For one thing, the new October 2006 evidence suggests that innocent Iraqis are dying at a much higher rate than anyone knew at that time. The US is not there specifically to kill them, but they are dying as a direct and indirect cause of the US-backed war. On your blog, you attribute a strawman argument to me.

For another thing, the old post pre-dates the February 2006 mosque bombing that made the conflict much more of a sectarian civil war.

More-and-more, Iraq already looks like a failed state. The US troops seem to be irrelevant to that fact.

However, there is very little chance that this makes Iraq like Afghanistan in the 1990s. Al Qaeda is Sunni and the dominant Shia in Iraq simply will not tolerate a Sunni-based terrorist training site.

Civil war will be bad for many Iraqis, but there's very little reason for the USA to participate.

The US couldn't defeat the Vietnamese insurgency with nearly 185,000 troops in 1965. It didn't fare a lot better in 1966 with 200,000 more, nor a lot better in 1967 with another 100,000...nor better in 1968 with another 50,000.

The US currently has no real prospect of putting anywhere near those troop levels in Iraq. Even the US generals say peace has to be achieved politically; this will not be a military victory.

Note: Professor Juan Cole has a thorough answer to many of the myths about Iraq promulgated by bloggers like Red Stater.

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