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Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 07:27 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 07:27 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Victory in Iraq

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This post is part of the Defining victory in Iraq debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

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8 February 2010 17:20


This post is part of the Defining victory in Iraq debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

Chris Kenny writes:

Rodger Shanahan makes clear his revulsion at the 'tragedy of the Iraqi adventure' and the audacity of anyone finding something positive to say about ongoing efforts to stabilise that country's future.

But he dances around the one point I made about Obama's Iraq policy; that is, simply, that the orderly withdrawal of US troops owes more to the success of George W Bush's surge strategy than to any decisions taken by the Obama Administration.

I pointed out that Democrats and our own Labor Party opposed the surge strategy and preferred a humiliating exit for the US. This would have seen the US leave in unambiguous defeat, it would have left Iraq in an even more precarious position and it would have emboldened terrorists everywhere.

Whatever Shanahan thinks of Bush's original decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, perhaps he would at least concede that the surge strategy has allowed an orderly American drawdown and a more stable platform for the establishment of a democratic Iraq.

On Afghanistan, the criticism from the Left has been that the Taliban flourished because the US was distracted by Iraq. So Obama's commitment to allocate sufficient resources and focus to Afghanistan is welcome. Facing such seemingly insoluble conflicts it may seem trite to talk of victory and defeat, except to note, as George Orwell said, that the quickest way to end a war is to lose it.

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