Blogs > Liberty and Power > Rewriting the Success of Iraq

Nov 16, 2009 12:45 pm

Rewriting the Success of Iraq

In 2004 and 2005, I recall a broad agreement among establishment voices that the Afghanistan war had been a grand, quick success, and the occupation of that country was going well, compared to Iraq. Now, post-"surge," a common narrative is emerging that Iraq is the setting of true success, something to aspire to in Afghanistan. Since Obama has long conceded the effectiveness of the "surge," the idea that Iraq is a better model for U.S. nation-building than Afghanistan has been -- and remember, the Democrats have for years said Bush "neglected" Afghanistan -- I wonder what the common view of Iraq will be years from now. Will the hopeless quagmire in Afghanistan, which I always believed was an even more Sisyphean ordeal than Iraq, make Americans nostalgic for Iraq in comparison? Is Afghanistan a new foil for the neocons' project in Mesopotamia? Will Obama's principal foreign policy accomplishment succeed in vindicating Bush's most conspicuous foreign policy effort? So far, by making Bush's "surge" seem wise, prudent and effective relative to his own troubles in Afghanistan, Obama risks salvaging the Bush administration in future public opinion.

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