I know that things look bad right now, with the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by their American guards at Abu Ghraib, the high death toll last month due to the fighting in Falluja and around Najaf, and the increasingly desperate acts of the enemy (such as the abhorrent beheading of Nick Berg and the barbarous treatment of the bodies of the food convoy guards in Falluja) as we start the handover of governing power to Iraqis. But the more I read letters from people on the scene, and the more I see the results of our strategy of making the problems in Iraq the problem of the Iraqis, the more hopeful I become.
I still think we'll have troops in Iraq 20 years from now, but I have been coming to believe that the combat and occupation portions of that 20 years may be only 3 or 4 years long, rather than the 10 I was originally estimating (comparable to, say, Japan's occupation after WWII). Frankly, I'm amazed at the job that Bremer has done - it would have been more likely for Iraq to fall apart than for power to be handed over on time - and that America has done in Iraq in general.
Don't get me wrong: I realize how fragile and dangerous the situation still is. The difference is, I'm beginning to think that our high-risk strategies (which have been causing fits among the more impatient supporters of the war) are going to pay off. And the higher the risk, the higher the gain.Posted by Jeff at May 13, 2004 11:49 PM | Link Cosmos