09 May 2007

AQI: A Self Fulfilling Prophecy?

Kevin Drum takes on Andrew McCarthy in a recent post at Washington Monthly. In a nutshell, Kevin says that Andrew is crazy and wasting our time by suggesting that Dems know that the best way to defeat al-Qaeda is to stay in Iraq and fight the bad guys there. For the most part I agree with Kevin, although I take issue with this nugget:

In fact, there's a dirty little secret of the Iraq war that neither party is eager to acknowledge publicly: namely that the fastest way to defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is probably for us to leave and let the Iraqis do it themselves. Republicans don't want to acknowledge this for the obvious reason: they want to stay in Iraq and this doesn't help their cause.
(emphasis mine)
I'm not so quick to agree that Republicans, as a group, want to stay in Iraq. It sounds like the average Republican joe these days is ready to see the U.S. get out of Iraq. Republican politicians simply want to stay in power, and as Iraq drags on--indeed, grows bleaker by the day--they don't know how to do that now without doubling down on the bet and hoping to see this thing through to some sort of less-than-politically-disastrous outcome.

McCarthy suggests that Republicans ought to hit the American public over the head with the reminder that Dems criticize the Bush administration for not pursuing al-Qaeda aggressively enough after 9/11, yet lo and behold here we are fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq
exactly like the Dems say we should. Just one problem with this: AQI flourishes to the extent that it does precisely because of the vacuum left behind after our "mission" was "accomplished" four years ago. The Bush administration did all it could to link al-Qaeda to Iraq, and now that prophecy has fulfilled itself.