Thursday, March 26, 2009

The V-Word

As I've written, I'm not quite ready to declare victory in Iraq, but I have a date in mind should the situation in June seem to justify a retrospective declaration.

Jacoby is not shy and wonders why the anti-war side is unwilling to utter the V-word:

For a long time the foes of both the Iraq war and the president who launched it insisted that none of this was possible - that the war was lost, that there was no military solution to the sectarian slaughter, that the surge would only make the violence worse. Victory was not an option, the critics declared; the only option was to partition Iraq and get out. Time and again it was said that the war would forever be remembered as Bush's folly, if not indeed as the worst foreign policy mistake in US history.

Even now, with a stubbornness born of partisan hostility or political ideology, there are those who cannot bring themselves to utter the words "victory" and "Iraq" in the same sentence. But six years after the war began, it is ending in victory. As in every war, the price of that victory was higher than we would have wished. The price of defeat would have been far higher.

Of course, my caution is based on not wanting to be premature given our path to achieving this victory. The anti-war side, as the comments sadly reveal, are simply aghast at the thought of military victory by America. That they cannot accept that we are at least winning is damning. Their advice on war has been worthless so their failure to recognize victory is understandable. Victory is messy and imperfect. We won World War II despite the advance of the Soviet Union into central Europe. Or would you argue we didn't win World War II until 1989?

We've won (or are winning) the war in Iraq, despite problems that we still must cope with.

Debate the reasons for war if you must. Or the cost of what we've achieved. But to get so heated over the concept of our victory just makes those people appear (dare I say it?) to be hostile to the very idea of our victory. That couldn't be true, could it?