Always dangerous to argue mid-07 reality with fall '06 facts."In fact, there is a civil war in progress in Iraq, one comparable in important respects to other civil wars that have occurred in postcolonial states with weak institutions. Those cases suggest that the Bush administration's political objective in Iraq--creating a stable, peaceful, somewhat democratic regime that can survive the departure of U.S. troops--is unrealistic." Professor James D. Fearon, writing in the March/April edition of Foreign Affairs.There is one problem with Professor Fearon's thesis--the facts on the ground that I am seeing right now and that he has not seen in person or not seen recently.
A major part of Fearon's well reasoned argument is that U.S. support for the Maliki government, "encourages Sunni nationalists to turn to al Qaeda in Iraq for support against Shiite militias and the Iraqi army."
His argument is logical and would be correct if the Sunnis of Anbar cooperated with his argument--but they are not cooperating with the good professor's thesis. In fact, they are doing just the opposite. The Sunnis of Anbar are now siding with the coalition and fighting Al Qaeda.
You need to go to outsidethewire and read it all from Anbar.
It is important for people, even Professors, to understand how quickly things can change in Iraq.
Professor Fearon's thesis is well thought out, but the facts have changed on him. It is not his fault, but it shows the speed in which the situation on the ground changes.
Very few people know enough about Iraq to make coherent policy pronouncements.
Most of what people think they know about Iraq is wrong.
When I get home in a few weeks people will ask me, "how's Iraq?"
I will tell them, "I don't know, but I can tell you about the areas that I saw first hand and spent a few weeks living in."
Each area of operation is different. Khalidiyah is only 35 kilometers from Kharma and Kharma is only 33 kilometers from West Rasheed, Baghdad, but they are nothing alike.
Anyone who says they can speak with definitive knowledge about all of Iraq is a fool or a liar or both.
A person with definitive knowledge of Iraq would have to discuss the situation in terms of 4 or more general areas of operation and then break those down even more to Battalion by Battalion areas.
But even if a person was to circulate to every battalion in Iraq, by they time he finished, the situation would have changed at the battalions he visited first.
This is the nature of warfare. But many members of Congress think after a five-day-junket and a few power point presentations they can make sweeping pronouncements that they understand Iraq.
Which makes them fools and possibly liars.