"Continuing The Path Of Progress"

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Finally, we have a strategy for success in Iraq from the blogosphere's "stab-in-the-back" right. Yes, it had to come during a fisking of a NYT editorial, but at least we now have an actual agenda for Iraq, a rare and valuable glimpse into what the Instapundit crowd actually thinks is going on in Iraq, and what we should actually do about it. Here's Jules Crittenden's Instapundit-approved summary of the war aims that we're fighting for right now in Iraq:

[C]ontinuing the path of progress toward eliminating al-Qaeda, exposing and hopefully acting against Iran's influence, training increasingly effective Iraqi troops, working with a nascent democratically elected government in its fits and starts.

Yes, I know these are not exactly what you were told the war was for in the first place. But, come on. We all know by now that the WMD argument was just game. The WMD evidence was not "slam-dunk" as Tenet has now explained. We misunderstood him. What was "slam dunk" was the challenge of persuading the American people in the wake of 9/11 that Iraq had active WMDs and was able to hand them over to terrorists. And, boy, was Tenet right about that one. We all trusted them to be honest with us, suckers that we were, because we didn't think that after a tragedy like 9/11, the president would scam us. oh well. He nearly got away with it. Can't we just move on now? Scooter Libby has. Let us rather unite in

"continuing the path of progress toward eliminating al Qaeda."

Notice the lovely premise: continuing. You're no doubt unaware of the slowly building triumph against al Qaeda that the Iraq war has helped accelerate. Close Open your eyes. Read more Instapundit links.

Don't read the papers. Ignore the boom in Qaeda-franchise terrorism since the Iraq invasion, terror that has now gone directly from anti-Shiite anger in Iraq to the attempted murder of Westerners in London and Glasgow. Ignore the two new bases for Islamist terror the Bush administration has handed al Qaeda in Anbar and Waziristan. Ignore the Bush decisions not to take out Zarqawi in 2002 or Zawahiri in 2005, when we had both Jihadists in our gun-sites. Just focus on "continuing the path of progress," which I think means helping the Anbar tribes fight back against the Qaeda invaders Bush's literally invited in for years ago last week. Yes, we should absolutely do what we can there. But grownups recognize that the national potential is limited. Or is John Burns also now a quisling leftist terror-sympathizer, another demented victim of Bush Derangement Sydrome? Along with, at last count, around half the voters in the US.

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Current war-aim number two, then, per Crittenden:

"exposing and hopefully [sic] acting against Iran's influence."

Well, so far, the same genius president that Crittenden is asking us to throw our patriotic support behind has done more to enhance and legitimize Tehran's ruling mullahs - and increase their leverage over the region - than any president since Jimmy Carter. We should now trust him to handle this matter more judiciously in future? On what grounds? Crittenden somehow fails to say. But we are to infer, I think, an eagerness to extend the war to Iran. And why not? How do we actually act against Iran, given that the Iraq war has all but exhausted our current military capability and tied 160,000 troops down in someone else's civil war? Er, move right along quickly and blame the "left" or the "Defeatocrats". Even though we have no option but to draw down troops by next spring or break the military completely, just watch Crittenden and Reynolds blame the Democrats for "surrender."

Pillars three and four: training Iraqi troops to be more effective. Translation: to be better-armed and better-equipped militia members for when our own troop drawdown occurs next spring. Working with a "government" that is by all accounts completely non-functional, divided helplessly along sectarian lines, and coopted in large part by the militias now preparing to fight the next phase of the civil war. The same government that is apparently on the verge of total collapse, a collapse that would not make much difference to the reality of its actual power.

So that's it. Support this strategy and this administration - or you're for the terrorists. Anything else isn't "continuing the path of progress." I think I got that right.

(Photo: Baghdad by Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty. The first draft of this item muddled Jules Crittenden with Don Surber. My apologies.)