October 25, 2005

The new constitution.

The Iraqis have adopted their constitution. The announcement came today, with the first news of the results for Ninevah, one of the Sunni-dominated provinces. Opposition did not rise to the two-thirds level, which, added to two other Sunni provinces, would have defeated the constitution. Now, it seems, the Sunnis' interest lies in electing members of Parliament, that is, working within the new system.


Sloanasaurus said...

I think once the permanent Parliament is elected in December, it will be next to impossible for the former baathists or terrorist to rise again to take control of the state. They will never be able to gain the legitimacy that the elected government has (unless they win in the elections) and it is clear no thay they have been defeated militarilty (you no longer hear of organized tactical victories by these groups, only bombs and IED). Removing Saddam was our main goal. Leaving a stable government is part of that goal...which eliminates Iraq from the WMD game and makes the world safer.

It is a good possibility that democracy could fail there or be limited or delayed such as in South Korea. However, our mission in Iraq is coming to an end. We should continue to assist the Iraqi's in fighting the terrorists and to be around in case anyone is thinking about an unfriendly Military Coup However, we can do that with far fewer troops.

My prediction... the troops start withdrawing on Dec 16, a day after the elections.

Simon said...

I agree with Ann, and I think that Sloan is absolutely right that the end of the insurgency is rapidly approaching. For that reason, expect it to get ever more violent in its death throes. When your back is against the wall, you fight ever harder.

Goesh said...

The need for vengeance runs deep in patriarchal cultures, especially when rigid, religious dogmatism runs equally deep. I have never regarded blowing up civilians in stores and hospitals and killing educators as acts of insurgency, but be that as it is, blood feuds and simple political revenge will not run their course simply because a written document now exists. It is cause for hope, certainly, and hopefully will enable many citizens to report suspected and known terrorists that clearly are present.

Too Many Jims said...
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Too Many Jims said...

I would not be surprised to see some "token" troops come home soon after the December elections. But if you look at what both military and U.S. civilian leaders are saying, we will be there for some time.

Recently Gen. Casey said that the average insurgency lasts for about 10 years and he sees no reason to expect that Iraq's will be shorter. People who support what we are doing over there really should stop pushing "the insurgency is in the last throes angle."

My guess for why the Iraq operation is losing support stateside is because the American people were told it would take weeks not months to achieve our goals. Then that moved to months not years. Now we are into measuring it by years. If we think we might have to be there years from now, we better get busy acknowledging that; if the troops come home sooner no one will be upset.

And can't we all agree that at the time of the invasion Iraq had already been eliminated from the WMD game (not that he wouldn't have liked to have been a participant)?

EddieP said...

Jim, all due respect, but I've never heard one administration official claim the war would be over in weeks or even months. Many pundits seemed to think that was the case, but the night Bush announced the beginning of the war he said it would be a long effort. Rumsfeld repeated that often. When Bush made his speech aboard the USS Lincoln whose crew was returning home after it's mission was accomplished, Bush again stated that though major combat operations were over, the war itself was far from being over.

I think the lessening of support among americans is the direct result of the constant drumbeat of defeat at the hands of the MSM. Regards

Sloanasaurus said...

I heard that the bombs on the Palestine Hotel (where many journalists stay) was actually a planned event to kidnap a bunch of journalists. The plan which failed miserably and was thwarted by Iraqi security guards. How pathetic for the insurgents.

Good idea kidnapping journalists though if you realized that the negative drumbeat from the media was your last and only hope for victory.

JBlog said...

The reason the war is losing support stateside is that the average American has a four-second attention span and is constantly bombarded with shallow, one-dimensional, biased reporting on the war.

And anyone who thinks Saddam was eliminated from the WMD game before the start of the conflict probably should read Duelfer report -- you can find it here: http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/

While the large stockpiles may have been gone, he maintained the money, the manpower, the mindpower, the facilities and the seedstocks necessary to reconstitute a program -- large or small -- at any time of his choosing.

When it comes to WMD, there's no such thing as "a little bit."

Too Many Jims said...


Here is a quote from Cheney on "Face the Nation" (3/16/03):

"CHENEY: My own judgment based on my time as secretary of Defense, and having operated in this area in the past, I'm confident that our troops will be successful, and I think it'll go relatively quickly, but we can't...


CHENEY: ...we can't count on that.


CHENEY: Weeks rather than months."

To be fair, he may have actually been talking about merely the defeat of Saddam's forces which probably is best measured in weeks. Later in the conversation he went on to say: "The challenging part of it to some extent may come in the aftermath once the military segment is over and we move to try and stand up a new government and turn over to the Iraqi people the responsibilities to their nation." But he didn't put a time frame on that. Even though, the "time to defeat" vs. the "time to occupy" is a real difference, it is not one that resaonates with the American public. There is a reason the administration does not trot out the "Mission Accomplished" pictures at this point.

Even if Cheney did mean for his comments to be limited to the time it would take to defeat, he indicated that he did not believe that a sizable occupation force would not be needed for long. On the same date as the "Face the Nation" appearance, he appeared on "Meet the Press" where he he was asked: "The army’s top general said that we would have to have several hundred thousand troops there for several years in order to maintain stability." His response was: "I disagree. We need, obviously, a large force and we’ve deployed a large force. To prevail, from a military standpoint, to achieve our objectives, we will need a significant presence there until such time as we can turn things over to the Iraqis themselves. But to suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, after the conflict ends, I don’t think is accurate. I think that’s an overstatement."

I agree that waning support is due in part to MSM coverage and an American attention span of a gnat's, I just think it would be better to be honest about how long this is going to take and how much it will cost rather than suggesting that the breaking of the insurgency is just around the next corner.

John(classic) said...

Boy, you all assume that back in March of 2003 the administration knew exactly what would happen.
I think part of the classic Clausewitzian description of war is that you never know very well what will happen. It is even worse than politics, marriage, or a new recipe off the internet.

One of the most thoughtful pieces I have seen on changing tactics and strategy in Iraq is Frederick Kagan's new article . I don't know that I agree with his conclusions, but I think he does an excellent job of charting the changing circumstances and mission, and the successes and failings of our responses.

His article also emphasizes exactly how poisonous to success Sen. Feingold and others are when they demand firm dates for withdrawal.

PatCA said...

Hutwa bi hutwa, step by step.

Rome wasn't built in a day, nor America, and I don't care if we stay as long as we did in Germany and Japan.

An equally salutary event was the attack on the Palestine Hotel, signifying the utter stupidity of the terrorists. I guess Zarqawi decided to give the civilians a break and attack his last outpost of support, the media. How desperate can they be? Also notable: The armed followup attack was smashed by Iraqi police, not coalition.

I honestly don't think people parse each Cheney statement, as we are wont to do, to decide on their support for the war. As an average American, I supported the war if, and only if, they fought to win, as opposed to what they did in Vietnam. AFter the surrender in Falluja, I had my doubts, but it appears that they are committed. We lose every war until we win it and this is no different.

John Moreschi said...

The anti-war people are so consumed by the question of why we went to war in Iraq, and what was said about it back then. Why is this important, or even interesting today?

The heart of the question is what is happening now, and what we should do. Even those who have been convinced that Bush and Cheney "lied" about why we went in, or how long we would be there, need to consider the only real question now - what are the consequences of staying or leaving now?

I remain in Bush's camp with the idea that to abandon Iraq to Zarqawi and al Qaeda is a suicidally stupid idea. Even if it was a collossal failure to go in, it would be a failure on a much larger scale to leave without establishing an Iraqi government that actively opposes the Islamofascist terrorists, with the ability to succeed in that opposition.

Bruce Hayden said...

I have seen the Tipping Point mentioned in other contexts (i.e. Miers) recently, and my best friend brought up the book today. I think that we may be there, or almost there, in Iraq right now.

There are just too many currents flowing in the one direction, and too few in the other:
- the recent election, esp. how much less violent it was than the previous one.
- a lot of recent successes up towards the Iraqi border.
- including that some of the Sunni tribal leaders in that area are now talking to us about renting their militias to the Iraqi govt. for help in border security.
- the recent arrest of one of Saddam's close family members with the help of the Syrians.
- that the vast majority of those being killed these days by terrorists are Iraqis, including a lot of Sunnis.
- potential suicide bombers going back home and telling the people there that they changed their minds after finding that they probably couldn't hurt the Americans they had come to fight, but rather would be killing innoncent Iraqis.
- Iraqis taking over ever more of the front line security in the country, esp. as they are much more able to detect foreign terrorists, etc.
- leaving our troops free to much more agressively close down the infiltration routes coming down along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. (But again, with a lot of Iraqi security force help).
- and now this - trying to blow up the journalists whom are their putative allies in the Western world.

Sloanasaurus said...

I still think the "tipping point" was the day Sadr was defeated in Najef. At that point any chance of a Shia rebellion was put to rest and we were assured backing of 80% of the country (which was proven last week).