23 November 2007

Is it time to leave Iraq?

So what's the deal, violence is down, Al-Qaeda is whooped, and the NY Times just ran a front page article on how swell Baghdad is, should we start our mass exodus out of Iraq? Michael Yon has got the inside scoop from GEN Petraeus here, saying that it is a time for "cautious optimism", and I'm gonna have to agree and suggest that we need to stick it out. While Al-Qaeda has indeed been whooped, they still have the capability to conduct grizzly attacks against the civilians populous as evidenced by the recent Ramadi suicide attack, southern oil exports are still mired in corruption due to Shiite militias, and Michael Gordon wrote a comprehensive NY Times piece about how the Iraqi Army is short on NCOs, the backbone of any nation's army. Before we start blowing each other, we need to recognize that improved security is only the first step in the counter-insurgency, and the next steps will consist of reconstruction, governance improvement, and economic development. This progress is already happening, but not as fast as the folks in congress and stateside want it to. The biggest mistake that the Bush administration made after 9/11 was that the war on terror was going to be quick n' dirty (recall the "shock n' awe" campaign). That has proven to be far from the truth.

Violence is still too damn high in Iraq, despite a recent downturn. Not too mention all the other issues left to be resolved (refugees, corruption, infrastructure, etc.) Those sick bastards in Al-Qaeda have proven this tragically true with this recent Ramadi attack.