The fact that half of all deaths caused by terrorists last year were in Iraq is consistent with what the terrorists themselves often tell us: Iraq is the central front in the global war against Islamic terrorism. The old Andrew Sullivan would have understood that this means we should fight to win in Iraq, not cut and run.
To the extent that people are being murdered by home-grown terrorists in Iraq, as opposed to Zarqawi, et al, the perpetrators are the very same Baathist thugs who, until we overthrew Saddam, controlled Iraq's government. For thirty years, they ruled Iraq through a ruthless campaign of violence that killed many thousands of Iraqis (300,000 is a number that is commonly cited) and terrorized the rest. It is obvious to the Iraqis themselves that it is a good thing that these people are now out of power rather than in power. Why isn't it obvious to Andrew?
Well, if John has been reading this blog, he will know that I do not in any way favor a cut-and-run strategy in Iraq. He will also know that I have shed no tears, except of joy, about Saddam's demise, and only recently linked to a report showing how Saddam's sons were preparing "martyrdom operations" in London before they were deposed. I'm just concerned, as any sentient being at this point would be, that our occupation strategy never created the stability essential for the good things Powerline and I both want for Iraq. I think it's unfair to describe me in this sense as a defeatist. I want victory. I link to any reasonable glimmer of hope I can find; and I still have not given up on a decent outcome. I'm just a realist about how far away from victory the Bush administration's war-management has taken us.