Cause for Optimism

Fearless Leader is apparently still indisposed and couldn’t make it to the studio to deliver his big patriotic speech. That’s almost everything you need to know, right there. After all the hype, the event consisted of a flunky reading “Saddam’s statement” on live TV. Now these guys look even more doomed and desperate than they did before. No wonder the stock market rallied. I know that we’re supposed to be aware of the fog of war (not to mention the fog of media), and cautious in our predictions, but could it be that the Iraqi regime will collapse sooner than we expected?

Blog Maintenance

I cleaned up the blogroll again — updated some links, recategorized others, deleted some that didn’t work or connected to dormant blogs. Let me know if I should change anything else.

Time is not on our side.

Jed Babbin at NRO discusses how the Iraqi regime might exploit international and, especially, domestic U.S. opposition to the war to generate a cease fire. That’s all the regime needs, because it must only survive, whereas we have to win.

The U.S. may be in a position vis a vis Iraq similar to that faced chronically by Israel in responding to existential threats. Israel has typically (cf., 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 2002) been forced to fight quickly enough to meet its military objectives before bigger countries intervened to stop the war. The United States faces relatively little effective international pressure (though there is some, particularly as we want to keep the UK on board and are sensitive to Tony Blair’s concerns). What should worry us more is the possibility of significant domestic political opposition should our military efforts appear to bog down. The “anti war” demonstrators are not very effective, and may even be generating support for the war, but it’s obvious that much of the press is hostile to the war effort and so are leading Democratic politicians. These latter groups will not hesitate to exploit military setbacks for political gain to the extent they can get away with doing so.

Things appear to be going well but anything can happen. The Iraqi regime may be more resourceful and tenacious than the Taliban was. I hope that our war planners understand that our efforts in Iraq face political as well as military danger, and that the political risk increases with time. We should keep moving militarily and not stop until we win.

Those Press Briefings

It’s interesting to watch polite, articulate, well groomed military officers field questions from slovenly reporters who look and sound like college students after an all-nighter. Clearly, some of the best people in our society have chosen military careers. With rare exceptions, the same cannot be said of journalism.