Posted by Lex, on December 16th, 2008
Phases I and II for Operation Iraqi Freedom were deployment and battlefield preparation. Phase III was major combat operations – it was over in weeks. Phase IV – post-MCO stabilization and force drawdown – took a very great deal longer and cost more in blood and treasure than most people expected. With the signing of a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the Iraqi and US governments, planning for Stage V – redeployment of forces home – has already begun.
Now it’s time for Phase VI.
You won’t find Phase VI in any Joint CONPLAN. Phase VI is a battle for hearts, minds and history texts. It’s not happening in Iraq. It’s happening right here at home:
I think it’s crucially important not to allow these positive sentiments about soldiers and marines to deteriorate into sentimentality about the mission they were undertaking in Iraq…
The harsh reality is that this was not a noble undertaking done for good reasons. It was a criminal enterprise launched by madmen cheered on by a chorus of fools and cowards. And it’s seen as such by virtually everyone all around the world — including but by no means limited to the Arab world. But it’s impolitic to point this out in the United States, and it’s clear that even a president-elect who had the wisdom not to be suckered in by the War Fever of 2002 has no intention of really acting to marginalize the bad actors. Which, I think, makes sense for his political objectives. But if Americans want to play a constructive role in world affairs, it’s vitally important for us to get in touch with the reality of what the past eight years of US foreign policy have been and how they’re seen and understood by people who aren’t stirred by the shibboleths of American patriotism.
The writer is Matthew Yglesias, and, for a time at least, he was one of those “cowards and fools” cheering on the effort.
Having lost the battle to lose the war, some people are intent on ensuring that they win the fight to frame as a fool’s errand an ultimately successful (albeit hugely expensive) effort to liberate 25 million minds (50 million, counting Afghanistan) from a soul-destroying tyrannical oppression. Not content with that, they are intent on casting as dupes those who fought, bled and died so that people in a far place might have a chance for the freedoms we take for granted. Just like their forefathers did.
These people style themselves “liberals”.
Liberalism is a broad class of political philosophies that consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal.
Liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. Within liberalism there are various streams of thought which compete over the use of the term “liberal” and may propose very different policies, but they are generally united by their support for a number of principles, including freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, an individual’s right to private property, free markets, and a transparent system of government. All liberals, as well as some adherents of other political ideologies, support some variant of the form of government known as liberal democracy, with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law.
“Liberalism, above all, means emancipation” — Hubert Humphrey