Thinking about it more, I've realized why. I'm angry. Why angry? Because the media like Newsweek did everything it could to undermine our victory during the most difficult times mid-decade. They took every chance to push the bad - yet are well over a year late with the good. Too angry to blog on a subject? Yes, too angry.
Angry? Yes, because most who paid attention called victory back in NOV .... NOV '08. Let me quote my post from 16 months ago.
If you need a reality check - go back to JUL 07 and see where we were. Almost everyone but GWB and a few others were ready to quit.I was not alone, and am not a brilliant guy. I also put this out at the bottom of the post from '08.
There was a time when few others would come out to support and many others had already admitted defeat, had hit the mattresses or had fallen into great despair.
I referred to this time as Gandamak; a place where the 44th Foot stood their ground to the end. That is the way I was starting to feel as the pro-Victory crowd thinned to almost nothing - and defeat was the direction that the President-elect and his Party wanted us to go.
Looks like we won just in time.
Now, back to Afghanistan and fix what we allowed NATO to let fester.If 'lil 'ole me gets this stuff, why can't the press? I don't even get paid for this gig.
Over at The Corner, K-Lo gives you a hint why - and outlines some more where my anger comes from.
So, besides praying on it, what should I do with my anger? I don't know. I don't even have a clear target to aim it at. I knew from the beginning that the Left would try as much as it could to turn Iraq into a loss - just like they did with the Vietnam War. In spite of them, we have something we can call victory in Iraq - and the Left had nothing to do with that victory.
Former President George W. Bush’s gut instinct that this region craved and needed democracy was always right. It should have and could have been pursued with much better planning and execution. This war has been extraordinarily painful and costly. But democracy was never going to have a virgin birth in a place like Iraq, which has never known any such thing.
It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in
Iraq. We are baby-sitting a civil war.
leaving, while bringing other problems, might also make it easier to build coalitions to deal with post-U.S. Iraq, Iran, Hezbollah and Syria.
What outsiders tend to miss as they focus on the old rivalries among Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds is that sectarianism is giving way to other priorities. "The word 'compromise' in Arabic—mosawama—is a dirty word," says Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, who served for many years as Iraq's national--security adviser and is running for Parliament. "You don't compromise on your concept, your ideology, your religion—or if you do," he flicked his hand dismissively, "then you're a traitor." Rubaie leans in close to make his point. "But we learned this trick of compromise. So the Kurds are with the Shia on one piece of legislation. The Shia are with the Sunnis on another piece of legislation, and the Sunnis are with the Kurds on still another."I think my friend Skippy - who I have disagreed with on Iraq for years and I will grant was right on some details - will agree that, in a fashion, we can call a mini-skirt in springtime a victory of sorts.
The turnaround has been dramatic. "The political process is very combative," says a senior U.S. adviser to the Iraqi government who is not authorized to speak on the record. "They fight—but they get sufficient support to pass legislation." Some very important bills have stalled, most notably the one that's meant to decide how the country's oil riches are divvied up. But as shouting replaces shooting, the Parliament managed to pass 50 bills in the last year alone, while vetoing only three. The new legislation included the 2010 budget and an amendment to the investment law, as well as a broad law, one of the most progressive in the region, defining the activities of nongovernmental organizations.
The Iraqis have surprised even themselves with their passion for democratic processes. In 2005, after decades living in Saddam Hussein's totalitarian "republic of fear," they flooded to the polls as soon as they got the chance. Today Baghdad is papered over with campaign posters and the printing shops on Saadoun Street seem to be open 24 hours a day, cranking out more. Political cliques can no longer rely on voters to rubber-stamp lists of sectarian candidates. Those that seem to think they still might, like the Iranian-influenced Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, have seen their support wane dramatically. Provincial elections a year ago were dominated by issues like the need for electricity, jobs, clean water, clinics, and especially security. Maliki has developed a reputation for delivering some of that, and his candidates won majorities in nine of 18 provinces. They lead current polls as well.
In Iraq today, conditions seem more likely to reinforce than to undermine the gains so far. Iraqis have been hardened by a very tough past and now, coming out the other side of the infernal tunnel that is their recent history, many share a sense of solidarity as survivors. "Identities in Iraq are fluid, but there is more of a sense of an Iraqi national identity," says Middle East historian Phebe Marr, whose first research trip to the country was in 1956.
You notice this, for instance, at the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, where conductor Karim Wasfi manages to extract harmony from Kurds, Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, and Bahais. Some of the women musicians wear the hijab, or headscarf; others do not. During the height of sectarian violence in 2006, almost half of the orchestra fled the country. Those who stayed behind got death threats, and one was killed. During one concert they had to play against the contrapuntal percussion of a firefight just outside the hall—but play they did. "It was about survival," says Wasfi.
Wasfi now says there are audiences asking for the symphony to perform even in conservative religious towns like Karbala, in southern Iraq. And bigger cities like Baghdad and Basra are regaining their old cosmopolitan airs. Abu Nawas Street along the Tigris River is once again lit up with lively restaurants serving broiled fish and beer. Liquor stores that had closed up shop during the height of the civil war now stack cases of Heineken and boxes of Johnny Walker Black in front of their doors. University students, once cowed by militias like the Mahdi Army, are feeling freer. Sawsan Abdul Rahman, an English major at Mustansiriyah University, says in the past she felt obliged to cover her head. "I wear a miniskirt now," she says.