‘Winning’ in Iraq; What would that be, exactly?

Joe Johns of CNN asked Hillary Clinton:

Last week, you said the next president will, quote, “have a war to end in Iraq.” In light of the new military and political progress on the ground there in Iraq, are you looking to end this war or win it?

To her credit, Clinton didn’t take the bait, responding well to that inane question:

I’m looking to bring our troops home, starting within 60 days of my becoming president, and here’s why, Joe. I have the greatest admiration for the American military. I serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I’ve been to Iraq three times. I’ve met with the leaders of the various factions. But there is no military solution, and our young men and women should not remain as the referees of their conflict.

Barack Obama and John Edwards also said they want to extract US troops and disengage, to a large degree, from Iraq.  There are nuances, different language, different timelines, but none of the Democrats’ Big Three is espousing “winning” in Iraq. Transcript.

It makes you wonder just what might constitute “victory.”  Someone should have asked Joe Johns.  Or maybe John “100-Years-War” McCain or one of the other rabid Republicans would like to take a crack at it.

If victory means getting out alive, it’s too late for nearly 4,000 US troops, and more than a million Iraqis.

Was regime change the goal?  Would that constitute victory?

If so, US troops should have come home after George Bush’s famous “Mission Accomplished” stunt.  Saddam has not only been deposed, but captured and brutally executed.  That shouls make us all feel better, even if it turns our that Bin Laden guy was in another country and is still at large, and that Saddam really wasn’t intent on blowing up the world, or at least didn’t have the capability even if he would have liked to.

A stable and successful Iraq will directly improve the national security of our own country,” said Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02), Co-Chair of the Victory in Iraq Caucus. “Today, we were grateful to be joined by (USAID) Director (Dawn) Liberi and General (John) Kelly, two officials who recognize the tremendous importance of building a civil society in Iraq and are dedicated to successfully completing this mission. Under their leadership, thousands of brave American men and women are working tirelessly to help ensure Iraqis live in a stable, democratic, and prosperous state.” — Link.

“Stable, democratic and prosperous.”  Waiting for that to come true really could mean a Hundred Years War.  Political progress has been and will remain elusive.

Was access to oil our goal, as some critics claim?  We seem to be able to buy all we want, as long as we’re willing to pay in the neighborhood of twice what it cost a year ago. That hardly seems like victory.

Making money for Halliburton and KBR?  Only the most cynical would suggest that Bush and Cheney started a war to help their old friends and political cronies.  More likely that was just one of the positive side effects, from the Bush-Cheney point of view.  Sort of like collateral damage to the US taxpayers and economy.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that funneling tons of money to Halliburton was the goal. Then this administration really has accomplished its mission, and it’s time to declare victory and bring the troops home.


    • ANKOSS on January 23, 2008 at 02:41

    Extracting Iraq’s 300 billion barrels of oil reserves on highly favorable terms is the definition of American victory. The usual suspects will do whatever it takes to accomplish this theft.

    Nations that do not wish to see America dominate the Mideast will gradually feed in advanced weapons and trained guerrillas to build up the pressure on American forces until the occupation becomes untenable.

    The adventurers who guessed that the seizure of Iraq would be an easy smash-and-grab were seriously mistaken. We will be living with (and dying from) the consequences of their errors for many years.  

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