Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thoughts on Iraq

Have you noticed that none of the candidates for President are talking about Iraq anymore? Well, McCain is occasionally, mostly to denounce the Democrats for wanting to "lose". But Iraq certainly isn't on the front pages any more.

Half of the credit for this goes to General Petraeus. We finally put a guy in charge of things over there who knows how to do things the right way. The Republicans want you to believe that "the surge worked", but that's not quite right. If lots of troops aren't being used well, then adding more troops just means you have lots+more not being used well, which means more troops getting shot at and killed for no good reason. But Petraeus shook things up and started putting the troops where they'd do the most good. The "surge" let him do the most good in a few more places.

The other half of the credit goes to the Iraqi city and tribal leaders who finally got sick of all the killing. The Sunnis turned against Al Qaeda and the Shi'ites reined in their death squads. This past week, Muqtada al-Sadr announced that his Mehti Army would stand by their cease-fire for at least another six months. Good on 'em. Iraq certainly isn't a Sandals resort yet, but at least the death tolls are way down. Progress is finally being made.

Which may be good news for me, personally. Back in November, I started applying for some one-year jobs with the State Department in Iraq. (Take a look at my Nov 19 entry for the mention). This past week, they finally contacted me about one of them. And they're being pretty aggressive about it, too. Which indicates to me that I'm on a very short list of potential candidates ... which means that I may actually be in Iraq before too much longer. And I'm pretty excited about it, too. We screwed everything up with the Bush/Rumsfeld invasion, we have to put things as right as we can, and I want to do my part.

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