Thursday, January 10, 2008
every bent knee too shall break:
What do you call a moment in time that went, on the surface, better than expected, but didn't deliver the lasting gains it was designed to yield, and is currently having its surface-level gains rolled back? Victory, at least if you're two craven politicians.

No one who understands counterinsurgency would ever write this sentence --

Political progress has been slow.
-- as a qualifier. That's the game. But Lieberman and McCain don't care about counterinsurgency. Nor do they care about the actual, existing war in Iraq. Even less do they care -- pardon me -- for the actual, existing men and women fighting the war, or for the Iraqis caught up in it. They care about winning an argument. That's why three of their first four paragraphs are devoted to denigrating opponents of the surge. And it's why, in order to preserve their argument as the gains of the surge erode, they write that, despite "victory"
Until we know with certainty that we can keep al Qaeda on the run with 15 brigades, it would be a mistake to commit ourselves preemptively to a drawdown below that number.

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a debater's point?

--Spencer Ackerman