Friday, August 18, 2006
In an article discussing Norman Podhoretz's views on Iraq:
Mr. Podhoretz attributes the troubles of reconstruction as much to our own irresolution as to what he calls "the recalcitrance and obduracy of the region." "The only reason in my opinion that we're having as much trouble as we're having in Iraq is that we're not getting intelligence. You cannot fight a revanchist insurgency and certainly not one that uses terrorist tactics without good intelligence . . . and you can only get that kind of intelligence by squeezing it out of prisoners. That's all there is to it."
Both domestic opposition and the international community, unhappily, are "defining torture down. The things they're calling 'torture' now have never been and have no business being considered torture." He keeps on: "It is an effort to disarm us that's succeeding to a frightening extent. No, it's worse than that. They're trying to make it impossible to fight terrorism. . . . Every weapon that's been developed to protect us from terrorism, and the Iraqis from internal terrorism, is under assault."
Well, I suppose that is true, but the question is how much of the problems in Iraq derive from it. I am sad to say it, but it does seem to me that we are now clearly losing in Iraq in large part because the President and Secretary of Defense refused to put enough troops in a couple of years ago. Hardly the first time people will have heard this, but it is the first time that I feel convinced of it.
Perhaps it is not even too late now militarily to put more troops in, but politically the White House seems unlikely to do so. They don't seem to understand that when it comes to war, it is essential to win. And they are not doing that.
Combined with the Lebanon situation, it is enough to make you despair. Five years out from 9-11, and things look pretty dangerous.