History's End

History will end only when Man does

Location: United States
Blogroll Me!
  • E-Mail me
  • Thursday, January 06, 2005

    Short Term Victory, Long Term Defeat?

    Jack over at TigerHawk has a post up describing the latest Geopolitical Intelligence Report by Stratfor founder George Friedman. Its too long to cite entirely, and requires a subscription, so go over to the post itself. A short excerpt:

    We ... do not agree with the view that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. It had a clear strategic purpose that it achieved: reshaping the behavior of surrounding regimes, particularly of the Saudis. This helped disrupt the al Qaeda network sufficiently that it has been unable to mount follow-on attacks in the United States and has shifted its attention to the Islamic world, primarily to the Saudis. None of this would have happened without the invasion of Iraq.
    That is the victory part. Here is the defeat part:
    As frequently happens in warfare, the primary strategic purpose of the war has been forgotten by the Bush administration. Mission creep, the nightmare of all military planners, has taken place. The United States has shifted its focus from coercing neighboring countries into collaborating with the United States against al Qaeda, to building democracy in Iraq. As we put it in May: "The United States must recall its original mission, which was to occupy Iraq in order to prosecute the war against al Qaeda. If that mission is remembered, and the mission creep of reshaping Iraq forgotten, some obvious strategic solutions re-emerge. The first, and most important, is that the United States has no national interest in the nature of Iraqi government or society. Except for not supporting al Qaeda, Iraq's government does not matter."
    The rest is to be checked out as well.

    My own thoughts are that it is too early to tell how the long term victory (or defeat) in Iraq is turning out. However, we are fast approaching a transparency point, a period of time where we can observe more accurately than most times just how well things are going. That period concerns the elections in Iraq. If the elections turn out well, especially in the Shi'ite areas, with few fundamentalist/ pro-Iran types in the government, than I would say things are going well. The Sunnis will be a problem, of course, we simply have to accept that. But if the rest of the country turns out well than I would count that as a victory. Not a total victory, but certainly not a defeat.

    Friedman is quite wrong, by the way, in his statement that Iraq's government makes no difference. It makes all the difference in the world. Islamism can only be defeated through democracy, there is no other cure than political and economic freedom over time. Its not going to be sudden, but it does need to happen, and it needs to start in Iraq.

    Addendum: The third comment of that post is also worth reading as well.

    Listed on BlogShares Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com