OCCUPYING IRAQ….David Adesnik thinks things aren’t as bad in Iraq as some people are making them out to be. He suggests that the guerrilla threat isn’t really all that serious ? which might be true ? and then says:
Without sounding like a kneejerk reactionary, I would like to suggest that the American media — including moderate, mainstream, responsible publications such as the WaPo — are still imprisoned in a Vietnam mindset. In contrast to those conservatives who constantly attack the mainstream media, I do not believe that this Vietnam mindset is part and parcel of a pervasive but unacknowledged left-liberal agenda.
But I think he may be missing the real point. In the same piece David suggests that the Washington Post’s headlines on Iraq are rather too negative, so I wonder what he thinks of this one today?
It doesn’t get much more negative than that, does it? But the story, I think, highlights the real problem: not the guerrilla warfare per se, but the fact that American reservists can’t be kept in Iraq forever:
“U.S. officials need to get our [expletive] out of here,” said the 43-year-old reservist from Pittsburgh, who arrived in Iraq with the 307th Military Police Company on May 24. “I say that seriously. We have no business being here. We will not change the culture they have in Iraq, in Baghdad. Baghdad is so corrupted. All we are here is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks.”
….”There’s a rumor going around that we’ll be here for two years,” Spec. Ron Beach said.
Others rolled their eyes and shook their heads. “You can put me up in a five-star hotel, and I’m not going to be here for two years,” said Sgt. Jennifer Appelbaum, 26, a legal secretary from Philadelphia.
This is the real problem: the idea that they might be there for two years is just a “rumor.” The usually plain spoken George Bush and the even plainer spoken Don Rumsfeld are unwilling to flatly tell the troops (and the country) that two years is pretty much the minimum time they’re going to be there. Aside from vague pronouncements that we’ll stay in Iraq “as long as it takes,” Bush has simply been unwilling to prepare both the American public and the troops in Iraq for a long, hard occupation. The obvious conclusion is that he’s not really committed to such a thing.
A reader wrote to me the other day, “I’m not worried about the commitment of the Bush team on this.” I am. Why else would a two-year occupation be nothing more than a rumor?