Posts Tagged ‘North Korea’

Fight the Good Fight

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

At Belmont Club, Richard Fernandez comments on the realities that are ready to mug the liberal meme that Iraq is a quagmire that only distracts from a relatively painless fight against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. One of the great, if ignored, reasons for taking out Saddam was that Iraq was precisely that Iraq was uniquely winnable – probably the only place where we could realistically achieve a decisive blow against a state sponsor of terror.

Afghanistan’s terrain and the safe havens for our enemies in a barely stable, nuclear-armed neighbor always meant that could be a far harder fight.

Iran’s theocracy is terribly unpopular and limited military action by us would only tend to prop them up while an invasion would make Operation Iraqi Freedom look like a picnic. If the West (meaning the Europeans who got to try their vaunted diplomacy) could only have kept them from going nuclear, regime change would have come eventually (though high oil prices also gave them a reprieve).

We cannot seriously contemplate regime change in North Korea because the place is such a horrible Augean stable that nobody is willing or able to clean up once the madman is gone.

Iraq turned temporarily difficult because al Qaeda (and Iran) decided to engage us there, despite less favorable conditions, sensing that they could break our will and score a huge, morale-boosting victory. They almost succeeded. But remarkably, we did not cut and run and, like a giant (if perhaps unintentional) rope-a-dope, our perceived weakness drew the enemy in where we could inflict serious damage with the Surge. Though few realize it, we’ve already essentially won in Iraq, with the terrorists withdrawing to reallocate remaining resources to the front where the fight is going better for them – Afghanistan.

Now, having successfully planted the idea that Iraq was an obvious quagmire and that Afghanistan might be easily won if only we were not distracted by a Bush’s bad war, Obama has set himself up to fail.  Even as we surge into Afghanistan, can Obama resist his risk-adverse nature, learn the lessons of Iraq and get troops out of fortified bases? What about his promise to “take the fight” to Pakistan? People increasingly will realize that Iraq has been won and will wonder why Obama is struggling in the supposedly easier fight. The truth is that the Iraq and Afghanistan are merely fronts in one larger war, but how can he possibly argue that now? Expect that Bush will be blamed, somehow.