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Opinion – Doug Thompson

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“Progress” in Iraq
By Doug Thompson

I saw too many “Progress in Iraq, retreat in Washington” stories over the holiday week. I advise people who are easily offended to pass this column by.
OK, open-ended commitment fans who are still reading this. Let’s go over this again: We won the war in 2003. We overran the country. We defeated their army. We seized their capital. We dug their evil dictator out of his hidey-hole. We destroyed their weapons of mass destruction, which sure didn’t take long. We pacified the country.
So why are we anti-war naysayers ignoring the “progress” in Iraq now?
Because we are no closer to having a viable Iraqi government to hand the “pacified” country over to than we were in 2003.


Because four years ago we had the whole country under control and its slate clean, and nobody would claim it then.
Compare post-invasion Iraq in 2003 to today.
This is progress? This is something more likely to inspire a coalition government to pick it up?
No, it’s not.
The military aspect of this mess was never a problem.
Here, let me repeat that:
The military aspect of this mess was never a problem.
Our troops have routinely, reliably and consistently been able to clean the insurgents’ clock whenever a clock cleaning was required.
The failure has, is, and apparently will continue to be political. Let me repeat that. The failure is political: Political, political, political, and political.
What’s Gen. Petraus, the author of this new progress, griping about these days? He’s griping that the Iraqi government is not taking advantage of the relative lack of killing and mayhem that his “surge” has provided.
Wow. What a shock.
How could we see that one coming? It was only the problem in late 2003, all of 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, and will apparently be the problem in 2008.
Gee, could it be that the “government” in Iraq is a bunch of separatists representing regional loyalties? That perhaps they only ran for office to prevent the other factions from forming a national government in their absence?
(Expletive deleted,) how many (expletive deleted) more times do we have to go around this (expletive deleted) mulberry bush?
Why can’t our government knock some heads together and fix this?
Because George W. Bush is not Richard M. Nixon, that’s why. He’s a Nixon wannabe.
Nixon could go to China. Nixon could look the South Vietnamese leadership and say, with total candor, that he really didn’t care what they thought, whether their country survived, or whether they did. Nixon ordered the mining of Haipong Harbor and bombed bridges and a whole lot of Cambodia.
Sometimes, forcing a peace takes a real son-of-a- (expletive deleted), not some wannabe who isn’t fooling anybody and who has confused resolve with being pig-headed.
I’m not praising Nixon as any example of what a president should be. I can say truthfully that Charles Manson sports a mighty fine growth of beard without approving of him as a religious leader. I’m saying that at least Nixon could end a war.
But the North Vietnamese ran over South Vietnam shortly after, you say? I could say Nixon had left by then, but the more honest answer is this: He got us out. I don’t think he was under any illusions that he’d saved South Vietnam. I don’t think we were, either.
People who aren’t very nice are usually the ones who can end wars because ending a war usually requires some head knocking.
Abraham Lincoln, one of the most revered presidents of American history, would never have ended the U.S. Civil War without Gens. Grant and Sherman to do his dirty work.
Significantly, Lincoln spoke with inspiration of “binding the nation’s wounds” shortly after Sherman burned Atlanta and much of the Carolinas and while Grant was bleeding the Army of Northern Virginia to death.
We can’t get a peace in Iraq until we kick its “leaders” out of the Green Zone and tell them the survivors are welcome to come back when they want to get some work done.
The “progress” from this surge lessens the pressure on the Iraqi government to do anything. This drives any real peace further off.

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