ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Little Reality for the Reality-based community

We've had many moonbat comments here since the start of the Surge, claiming that any decrease in violence was 1) all in our imagination and only due to the fact that the Iraqis have run out of people to kill; or 2) meaningless since no national political reconciliation had been achieved.

Our consistent retort was that national political reconciliation was meaningless if there wasn't reconciliation at the local level - and that the Sunni Awakening was just one sign of such reconciliation. We also pointed out that without a sense of security at the local level, it would be impossible for local reconciliation (and thus impossible for reconciliation at the national level).

One of our favorite moonbats, Stupid Country, who's blog features some children dressed up in KKK uniforms (no word on whether Sen. Robert Byrd is one of them), provided this analysis of our argument (emphasis in the original):

Some of us are simply not convinced that tamping down the violence equals victory. Reducing the bloodshed is a tactical plus, but "victory" has to be at the strategic level. That means it has to be built on a sustainable political settlement. I get the point that reduction in the violence is linked to political conciliation, but it isn't a precondition for a political accord.

In order to get excited about the military gains, we have to see some evidence of political gains. We need to see movement in the Iraqi parliament. There has been none. Until there is some reason to hope for a meaningful settlement, there's no reason to reassess what still looks like a pointless diversion of resources from genuine anti-terrorist objectives and a futile bloodbath. A quiet Iraq is nonetheless a fragmented society still at war with itself.

It. Is. A. Loss.
Let me restate the flawed thinking here: I get the point that reduction in the violence is linked to political [reconciliation], but it isn't a precondition for a political accord.

So, a national law without a reduction in violence would be a sign of success in Stupid Country's eyes, while a recution in violence without a national accord would still be a failure...

Well, it seems that Stupid Country and the other defeatists on the Left will have to eat crow now:
Iraqi Lawmakers Pass Key Benchmark De-Baathification Law
Saturday , January 12, 2008

BAGHDAD — Iraq's parliament adopted legislation Saturday on the reinstatement of thousands of former supporters of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to government jobs, a key benchmark sought by the United States as a step toward easing sectarian tensions.

The bill, approved by a unanimous show of hands on each of its 30 clauses, is the first piece of major U.S.-backed legislation approved by the 275-seat parliament. Other benchmarks languish, including legislation to divide the country's vast oil wealth, constitutional amendments demanded by minority Sunni Arabs and a bill spelling out rules for local elections.

The bill approved Saturday, titled the Accountability and Justice law, seeks to relax restrictions on the rights of members of the now-dissolved Baath party to fill government posts.

It is also designed to reinstate thousands of Baathists dismissed from government jobs after the 2003 U.S. invasion — a decision that deepened sectarian tensions between Iraq's majority Shiites and the once-dominant Sunni Arabs, who believed the firings targeted their community.
[...]
Traveling with President Bush in Manama, Bahrain, White House press secretary Dana Perino said the legislation, coupled with a pension measure approved by the parliament, "is important especially not just for the Iraqis but it shows the American people that our troops and Americans that are there working hard to help them get this to the point, are doing the job, they are fulfilling their mission. It also shows the region that they should have some confidence in what is happening in Iraq."

The Bush administration initially promoted de-Baathification but later claimed that Iraqi authorities went beyond even what the Americans had contemplated to keep Saddam's supporters out of important jobs.

With the Sunni insurgency raging and political leaders making little progress in reconciling Iraq's Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish communities, the Americans switched positions and urged the dismantling of de-Baathification laws.

Later, enacting and implementing legislation reinstating the fired Baath supporters became one of 18 so-called benchmark issues the U.S. sought as measures for progress in national reconciliation.

The legislation can become law only when approved by Iraq's presidential council. The council, comprised of Iraq's president and two vice presidents, is expected to ratify the measure.

Yes, there are additional benchmarks to achieve, but without the Surge (and perhaps more importantly, the change in tactics to those outlined by Capt Travis Patriquin and Gen David Petraeus) any law passed at the national level would provide little reassurance that a reconciliation was actually happening.

It's actions, not laws or proclamations that matter in this fight.

As Pete Hegseth writes today at NRO:
For anyone who truly understands the stakes in Iraq, the achievement of national “political benchmarks” has never been an effective metric of success. Sure, Iraqis passing laws at the national level is important, but not more important than neighborhood-level security and grassroots political progress.

I learned this the hard way in Samarra, Iraq. Absent strong local security forces and fair, representative government at the neighborhood level, local populations never felt “more secure,” no matter how much useless (or useful) legislation was passed at the national level. Iraqis need to see a better life in their neighborhood, not hear more promises from Baghdad.
[...]
The Iraqi parliament, flaws and all, came together — Sunni, Shia, and Kurd — to craft a law that relaxes restrictions on the right of former-members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party to fill government posts. The law will reinstate thousands of Baathists in government jobs from which they had been dismissed shortly after the war.

In short, less than five years after the fall of a genocidal Sunni dictator — who killed thousands of Shiites and Kurds — a democratically elected Shia government granted de-facto “amnesty” to former Baathist co-conspirators. Kind of makes our domestic illegal-immigration “amnesty” debate look silly, doesn’t it?

We should expect more progress in Iraq, although results will be mixed and the streets will not be quiet soon. But this groundbreaking settlement is a testament to the potential for political reconciliation, provided the security environment is stable enough to allow politicians to peek out from behind their sectarian divisions.

The Iraqi government still has a great deal left to achieve, but today they’ve shown us what real political reconciliation looks like. Democratic leaders in Congress — and on the campaign trail — should take a lesson from the Maliki government. Swallow your pride, admit you were wrong about the surge, and get behind our courageous military.
[...]
Well, Stupid Country, you said that you "need to see movement in the Iraqi parliament." Now you have it. Time to turn the flag right-side up and admit that the Surge is working and that we are beginning to see victory, not defeat in Iraq.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler