November 22nd, 2008

Chris Keeley

Ray Close

Friends:

The latest issue of London's ECONOMIST carries an article about the current situation in Iraq which begins with the following pithy paragraph:

WHEN General David Petraeus, now America's most celebrated military commander, arrived in Iraq in 2003 at the head of an airborne division, he asked a journalist: "Tell me how this ends?" For years nobody had a good answer. But now, thanks to a military pact between America and Iraq, a conclusion is in sight: America's war in Iraq will end in three years' time, with American troops being shown the door and Iraqi politicians competing to claim credit for getting rid of the foreigners. [Emphasis added.]

I'm afraid this makes it impossible for me to resist throwing at you all, once again, for the umpteenth time, the prediction that I have been repeating at regular intervals over the past six years of studying and commenting about the Iraq war.  Even months before the invasion began in March 2003, it was obvious to me that this was a war that the United States could not possibly "win" in any lasting or meaningful sense.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  As I said in a speech to an organization called The Old Guard of Princeton in October of 2002, it would be a stupid and disastrous mistake to believe that "kicking down the doors of a proudly nationalistic Arab society at the heart of the Muslim world would gain anything for us in the end but the violent resentment of the Iraqi people and the contempt of the entire Islamic world." 

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