Sunday, December 02, 2007

MTP: Webb's first trip to Iraq

Yeah, that's right. Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb just made his very first trip to Iraq. I was extremely surprised to hear that the Dems' new point man in the Senate on military issues had made his first trip after offering lengthy and numerous pontifications on that subject.

On Meet the Press, Webb called on the Bush administration to engage in "robust diplomacy", and to bring surrounding nations to the table. Why is this a good idea? Robust diplomacy can backfire, as it has numerous times with the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Since when have American diplomats been able to use the sheer force of will to change the behavior of other players? The surrounding nations "with a dog in the fight" don't have an incentive to give up their interests for a stronger Iraq, and they often have the opposite incentive.

Perhaps a better strategy would be to cut off surrounding nations and make the Iraqi factions come to their own solutions. That's pretty much what we've been doing, and this in concert with the surge has shown progress heretofore unseen.

Webb argued that the Sunni Anbar awakening began before the surge, and that much of the improvement we have seen since the surge began has had little to do with the surge. Why then, were prominent Democrats loudly proclaiming the nascent surge a failure as early as July when it had barely begun? Shouldn't the data have reflected improvement by then?

I acknowledge that the surge by itself has not been 100% determinate in the events that have transpired since it began. We've caught quite a few lucky breaks. But neither can the Anbar awakening be viewed in a vacuum. The tribal leaders knew we were making additional commitments, and they used that information and took that opportunity to break with AQI. I doubt that the awakening would have been nearly as successful without American support.

Webb at least hinted that cutting off funding for the mission was "not a winning formula", which hopefully indicates that Democrats will once again give in on that issue.

1 comment:

lunkhead said...

It's too bad Webb is an ass. I appreciate his son's service though.