So we’ve won the war, and nobody cares.
Going in, it was supposed to be impossible. The cruel Afghan winter, a cataclysmic refugee problem in Iraq, and all that. When we won the purely military part quickly, the complaint was it was only temporary. When the Iraqis elected a government, people complained that it was a puppet, only doing what the US said. When that government acted independently, it showed that we were unwanted and unneeded. When the insurgency started – thanks in part to being encouraged by Americans who kept signaling we should leave – it was called a civil war. When it clearly didn’t turn into a civil war then it was called a stalemate. When the “stalemate” dragged on, it was called a lost war because it wasn’t being won fast enough. (There, at least, the critics had some point. The war wasn’t being won fast enough. That’s not the same thing as losing). This was the spot where critics started insisting that they had been just fine with going into Afghanistan – it’s not that they were reflexively anti-war, you see, just this particular bad, unnecessary, illegal, icky war in Iraq. Funny you don’t hear people say that anymore – now it’s back to what a bad idea Afghanistan was. Doesn’t everyone know that? Sure, that’s what we’ve said right along.
When we started winning Iraq faster, there was no way we could win because it was an occupation, and how do you win an occupation? (The Germans and Japanese may have some insight on that, BTW).
What now remains is to not create a vacuum as we leave that Iranians, disgruntled Sunnis, organised crime, or any of a half-dozen other dangerous fauna indigenous to the Middle-East can exploit. Leaving slowly and cautiously is the one thing we have left to accomplish. And it may be the one thing we won’t do.
But it’s Bush who lied, of course. Not any of the critics. They’ve been right all along.