As the Brawler's buddy illusory Tenant has pointed out in a different context, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel conservative columnist Patrick McIlheran has an impressive ability to pack 50 pounds of offal in a 5 pound bag.
And so it goes with his "Quick Hit" on Friday, describing in glowing terms the stituation in Iraq.
Let's start from the top!
First, the surge would never work, until it worked.
Actually, the purpose of the surge was to create an environment for the different sides in Iraq to come together and form a stable government ...which they haven't. Therefore, the surge has not "worked."
Then al- Qaida couldn't be beaten, until we learned from a captured diary that the Iraqi jihadists feel they're on the ropes.
Excerpts of a captured diary...the entire contents of which haven't been released. Moreover, wasn't al-Qaida in Iraq on the ropes two years ago when Zarqawi was killed? Those are some ropes. But aQI was always a bit player in the Iraqi conflict and many Sunnis felt aQI had outlived its purpose. Hence the "Anbar Awakening," an array of Sunni factions, taking it to the aQI ... with U.S. weapons and support. McIlheran and others celebrated the Anbar Awakening...but they've ignored how those same Sunnis are now flexing their muscles against the Iraqi government. Whoda thought that would happen?
Then, sure, military wins are one thing, but Iraqi democracy? Well, now the multiparty, freely elected government, the first Iraq's ever had, figures out a compromise to pass three crucial benchmark laws.
Actually, the meaning of those laws aren't entirely clear...and McIlheran fails to note that they cleared the parliament with a fair amount of acrimony, including some groups walking out in protest. The Brawler recalls from Irish history that it's never a good sign when major factions walk out of a parliament in a country's early days.
As for this government being the first freely elected one Iraq ever had, that's not entirely true. Britain, which established a "protectorate" over Iraq after its creation following World War I, granted the country a nominal independence in 1932. (And, truly, is Iraq's independence anything more than nominal now?) This came to an end in 1941, when, as World War II raged, Iraq denied permission for British troops to land at Basra. The British responded by invading and reoccupying the country and deposing a popularly elected government.
Says Rashid Khalidi in his highly prophetic book Resurrecting Empire:
The entire episod was labeled a revolt in the colonial historiography that still holds sway in the West, although in Iraqi and Arab histories it is understood quite differently as the attempt of a precariously independent state to defend its treaty rights and thereby assert its independence.
It's unclear if McIlheran, whose insights on the Middle East are informed by such tomes as World War IV by the laughable Norman Podhoretz (who apparently didn't know what a Kurd was), is familiar with this history.
You know, if we hadn't been assured by the left that Iraq's a failure, it would almost seem like we're on the way toward winning.
To adapt a phrase, "almost" only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.