The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost.
Limited, sometimes sharp fighting and periodic terrorist bombings in Iraq are likely to continue, possibly for years. But the Iraqi government and the U.S. now are able to shift focus from mainly combat to mainly building the fragile beginnings of peace — a transition that many found almost unthinkable as recently as one year ago.
Despite the occasional bursts of violence, Iraq has reached the point where the insurgents, who once controlled whole cities, no longer have the clout to threaten the viability of the central government.
That does not mean the war has ended or that U.S. troops have no role in Iraq. It means the combat phase finally is ending, years past the time when President Bush optimistically declared it had. The new phase focuses on training the Iraqi army and police, restraining the flow of illicit weaponry from Iran, supporting closer links between Baghdad and local governments, pushing the integration of former insurgents into legitimate government jobs and assisting in rebuilding the economy.
What I find interesting is that the piece all but acknowledges that former "insurgents" are now part of the Iraqi government. How is that a successful conclusion to any war? The enemy we have been fighting--and that has been killing Americans--has now been integrated into the government that we have been supporting with our blood and treasure. The enemy is not defeated--the enemy is working for the people we kept from being killed.
In any other situation, that would be a serious defeat. We have simply given up, signed off on a massive compromise, and now the killers of American troops draw weapons we provide to the Iraqi government and go about their business in the open. Imagine if we, in 1969, found ourselves supporting the South Vietnamese government's program to integrate Viet Cong guerrillas into the South Vietnamese security apparatus, and if we found ourselves working with the people who had killed tens of thousands of Americans rather than against them.
We have not "won" the war in Iraq. That was won in the first three weeks. We have lost the occupation by accepting the legitimacy of the insurgents who took up arms against us and by doing nothing to stop them from being integrated into the Iraqi government. We looked the other way. Did we even have a ceremony for this?
Since when does victory mean leaving the enemy in command of the government, the field of battle, with partial political power and his forces largely intact and fully armed? Your tax dollars are putting weapons in the hands of men who, until recently, were killing Americans. Where is the outrage?
And, just so you know, it's also not considered winning when your former enemies run a shakedown scheme to get more money out of you.
Where do these people come up with this crap? If we could leave Iraq, maybe then you could claim we've won. This story from the AP is ridiculous and premature.