Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Re: Where Is This Story?

I second you heartily, Jennifer, and wanted to add some thoughts of my own.
The offensive in Mosul, and the larger success in the struggle against AQI,  are achievements of staggering importance. Iraq is, after all, the nation which al Qaeda itself made the central battleground in the war against jihadism. Everyone, on every side, knew the stakes of the struggle. If al Qaeda prevailed against America in Iraq, it would rightly rank among our allies and our enemies as among the most important victory jihadists had ever attained.

Not long ago it became fashionable to declare that Iraq was a finely concealed trap set by bin Laden; that, as the author Peter Bergen declared, bin Laden had defeated President Bush; that the war in Iraq was the best recruiting mechanism al Qaeda could have ever hoped for; that Iraq set back the war against terrorism in incalculable ways; and that the victory by al Qaeda in Iraq was a crushing blow against American credibility.

The war itself was lost, it was said; all that remained to be determined was the exact terms of our surrender. Some wanted a full-scale retreat, others embraced the Baker-Hamilton report as the vehicle for our retreat, while still others argued that Iraq needed to be partitioned into three separate ethnic regions (Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish). Countless pundits, members of almost the entire foreign policy establishment, and virtually the entire Democratic Party believed Iraq was in a death spiral from which it could not escape.

Those counsels of despair were not only premature, they were, it turns out, quite wrong. And rather than the Iraq war being a massive set-back in our struggle against militant Islam, it is now plausible to argue that it will be, on balance, a net plus.

The final verdict on the Iraq war is as yet unknown. Iraq, for all the indisputable strides it was made in the last year, remains a fragile nation. A series of unfortunate events could turn the wheel the other way. Nor does the success of the so-called surge and all the good that has come as a result of it excuse the enormous planning failures when it came to the occupation stage of the war. The Iraq war has cost us far more in blood and treasure than it ever should have. Nevertheless, driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country is, in the words of the Times of London story, “the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.”

That war will go on, as will the struggle for the future of Islam. But we are in far better shape than anyone could have imagined during those difficult days in early 2007, when most of the nation and the political class had given up on Iraq.

President George W. Bush, General David Petraeus, and the brave men and women serving in Iraq, almost alone, did not. All three deserve our gratitude and respect for having saved Iraq from descending into civil war and unending grief, and for having dealt al Qaeda a blow from which it might not recover.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.