A More Positive View
Just to balance the pessimism in Chris Bray's piece, I offer this summary assessment of the status of the war in Iraq by Karl Zinsmeister at the American Enterprise Institute. Everything he says, I see as accurate and agreeable. Here are some snippets:
1/31/2006 12:51 PM
... nearly every war is riddled with disappointment and pain, Iraq certainly included. But judged fairly, Iraq has been much less costly and debacle-ridden than the Civil War, World War II, Korea, and the Cold War—each considered in retrospect to have been noble successes.
... the U.S. general in charge of our National Guard put his casualties in some perspective: “I lose, unfortunately, more people through private automobile accidents and motorcycle accidents over the same period of time.”
... Fully 86 percent of Iraqi households reported having satellite TV at the end of 2005. The number of Iraqi commercial TV stations is now 44, and there are 72 commercial radio stations (there were none of either prior to 2003).
... A majority insist that despite the war, life is already better for them than it was under Saddam Hussein. By 5:1 they expect their lives will be even better one year from now.
... Since the January 2005 election, however, not a single Iraqi army unit has been defeated in battle, and not one police station has been abandoned. ... the number of Iraqi security forces killed is now declining. Monthly deaths of Iraqi soldiers and police climbed steadily to a peak of 304 in July 2005, then fell just as steadily to 193 by December 2005.
... Iraq is now creeping away from murderous authoritarianism to face the more normal messes of a creaky Third World nation: corruption, poverty, health problems, miserable public services. And that is vastly preferable to what came before.