Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven’t proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.
The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then infuriated, that Americans aren’t on the scene to protect them and to punish the aggressors. And so they join the clothing merchant who says that everything is the fault of the Americans…
…A problem for American policymakers — for President Bush, ultimately — is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed.
One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom.
The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence.
This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure. It can defend itself historically, standing by the inherent reasonableness of the postulates.
I can’t allow myself to concede that a democratic Iraq is an outright failure. The attack on the Golden Mosque was a devastating blow to the Shiites, which proved to be too much for them, and they reacted. However, the violence can still be brought under control and we need to let the Iraqi government, Iraqi forces, and American military do their jobs to get this done. The last thing our troops need right now is more Americans piling on.
If I write off the effort of democracy in Iraq, I am no different than Howard Dean.
Kim Priestap blogs at Kim Priestap: A Conservative Blog in Flyover Country