Most Iraqis regard the toppling of Saddam Hussein, the dismantling of his machinery of war and oppression and the introduction of pluralist politics to Iraq as an historic success. The issue is how to consolidate that victory, not to snatch defeat from its jaw. Those challenging this historic victory are enemies of both the Western democracies and the Iraqi people.> Jeff Jacoby (also via Mick) with some historical analogies:
The point isn't that the violent mess in Iraq today is analogous to the Civil War in 1863, or to the Ardennes in 1944, or to the burning of Washington in 1814. The point is that we don't know. Like earlier Americans, we have to choose between resolve and retreat, with no guarantees about how it will end. All we can be sure of is that the stakes once again are liberty and decency vs. tyranny and terror - that we are fighting an enemy that feeds on weakness and expects us to lose heart - and that Americans for generations to come will remember whether we flinched.> Niall Ferguson on troop levels:
The number of troops currently in Iraq is less than 140,000. That's roughly as many soldiers as Britain sent to the same country to defeat an insurgency in 1920 - at a time when the population of Iraq was a tenth of what it is today.> And Jules Crittenden on a threat to milblogging:
I have come to see that American foreign policy suffers from a similar pathology ['short-sighted political machination']. The primacy of domestic politics, in the form of bureaucratic in-fighting and electoral manipulation, explains why the Iraq enterprise has, from the outset, been so chronically undermanned.
For the last three years, in an unprecedented historical phenomenon, we've been able to hear from frontline... soldiers directly. The combat, the boredom, the loneliness, the camaraderie, their beliefs, their frustrations, their accomplishments. From Iraqis they encounter, suspicion and hatred as well as smiles and gratitude.
It has been a rich picture unlike anything you know about Iraq if all your information comes from newspapers and TV.
Now, the military has assigned a National Guard unit to monitor the Internet for possible violations of operational security - OPSEC, as they call it. No one is suggesting significant violations have occurred, and soldiers were already required to have their commanders' approval to blog, and to submit to periodic review. A mechanism to ensure soldiers are doing their duty makes sense, but overzealous officers will find violations, real or imagined, and punish soldiers.