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The myth of turning a corner in Iraq

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I would really, really like to write about something other than Iraq. Aside from the fact that I'd like it to stop descending into oblivion (or "bolivion," as Mike Tyson would say), I personally would simply enjoy someday writing about Iran, or North Korea, or Turkey or China or Russia, or even -- not to get crazy or anything -- some region of the world which our foreign policy isn't screwing up.

Alas, today is not that day.

Here's a new rule for people commenting on Iraq: since apparently it's the cool kid thing to say Iraq must get better in the next six(ish) months (a.k.a. one Friedman unit) to prevent it from becoming a failure, things actually have to improve over the course of that length of time for anyone to say that we've turned a corner.

I honestly have no idea how people can get away with saying things like "the United States and Britain have never attempted a truly comprehensive policy on Iraq," "We have to help Iraq's politicians put the country's unity above their sectarian priorities," "The problems of the federal constitution, the distribution of Iraq's resources and the role of the unofficial militias have to be resolved in the direction of preserving the unity of the nation," and the like -- all of which are included in the above article. I will now light myself on fire.

Any time you read something that talks about what Iraqis "must" do, without following it up with, "here's how," you're getting one of the Sensible Centrist Arguments, which are, of course, part of the Magical Plans Never To Be Implemented genre. Experts in this genre are often "liberals" who advocated the war and cannot quite bring themselves to admit that it's a crippling strategic blunder, therefore feeling obligated to propose solutions that have no chance of being tried, much less actually working.

President Bush showed his understanding of both history and Iraq when he said recently that we lost Vietnam because we left. We don't have the troop numbers to effectively augment, we don't have the diplomatic power or skill to regionalize, and Iraq . . . is getting . . . worse. And I'd be stunned if all of this analysis isn't applicable a year from now.

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