Thursday, February 01, 2007

Charles Krauthammer on Iraq

Charles Krauthammer's column in tomorrow's TownHall (HT: Sparks from the Anvil) addresses the media criticism of our war efforts in Iraq.

This week the internecine warfare in Iraq, already bewildering -- Sunni vs. Shiite, Kurd vs. Arab, jihadist vs. infidel, with various Iranians, Syrians and assorted freelancers thrown into the maelstrom -- went bizarre. In one of the biggest battles of the war, Iraqi troops reinforced by Americans wiped out a heavily armed, well-entrenched millenarian Shiite sect preparing to take over Najaf, kill the moderate Shiite clergy (including Grand Ayatollah Sistani) and proclaim its leader the returned messiah.

The battle was a success -- 263 extremists killed, 502 captured. But the sight of the U.S. caught within a Shiite-Shiite fight within the larger Shiite-Sunni civil war can only lead to further discouragement of Americans, already deeply dismayed at the notion of being caught in the middle of endless civil strife.

Here's the key paragraph on the media reaction:

Iraqis were given their freedom and yet many have chosen civil war. Among all these religious prejudices, ancient wounds, social resentments and tribal antagonisms, who gets the blame for the rivers of blood? You can always count on some to find the blame in America. "We did not give them a republic," insists Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria. "We gave them a civil war."

Krauthammer's response to this kind of stupidity is perfect, but you'll have to read it for yourself. I wouldn't want to pare down his ire.

There is something viscerally satisfying about reading a column that sums up the essence of a situation, and Krauthammer's column provides just that kind of satisfaction. He concludes with this:

We have made a lot of mistakes in Iraq. But when Arabs kill Arabs and Shiites kill Shiites and Sunnis kill all in a spasm of violence that is blind and furious and has roots in hatreds born long before America was even a republic, to place the blame on the one player, the one country, the one military that has done more than any other to try to separate the combatants and bring conciliation is simply perverse.

It infantilizes Arabs. It demonizes Americans. It willfully overlooks the plainest of facts: Iraq is their country. We midwifed their freedom. They chose civil war.

Read the whole thing.


Malott said...

Great article.

Thanks for the "heads-up."

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Even if things do completely collapse, it will not change my mind about Iraq. Hindsight blinds people into making coulda, shoulda, woulda, arguments. Sometimes, you can do what is the right thing, and the outcome can still turn out bad. Such is the mercurial nature of life, with all its unpredictable twists and turns.

Blaming Bush for everything that has gone wrong in the world is just misguided; as misguided as it would be to give him all the credit if things go right (sometimes things go right, in spite of making bad decisions, too).