George Will has been one of very few conservatives who have kept their wits about them these past few years. That's more than I can say for myself in the fevered days after 9/11. He is fundamentally right about one fundamental question. It's worth repeating so that the hysterics and Weimarites on the "right" finally get it into their heads. George puts it baldly enough for them to understand:
The surge has failed, as measured by the president's and Petraeus's standards of success.
This is simply indisputable, unarguable, a fact. Crocker's testimony confirmed it. The entire point of the surge was to facilitate compromise at the center in Baghdad. It has failed. And so we are now given a fallback argument: that we can manage the disintegration of Iraq better by staying than by leaving; that when the surge ends, its fragile achievement of some local security will somehow endure despite the admitted uselessness and sectarianism of local police; that we have to stay because of the genocide leaving would cause. Will asks two basic questions:
Is there an Iraq? Are there Iraqis?
There is no Iraq. Alas, there are Iraqis. The Sunni Arabs and the Shiite Arabs both want to control a unified country, especially the Sunnis. So partition is not something they are interested in. In the most recent poll, 98 percent of Sunnis wanted Iraq in one piece and to be in control of it. So the civil war will continue, and probably intensify once the surge levels fall back to the 2006 military presence. I've been trying to weigh the pros and cons of this and I don't apologize for being conflicted. As an early passionate advocate of bringing democracy to Iraq, it really gives me no pleasure to admit there will be no democracy and there is no Iraq. If that really is true, and if I'm also right to suspect malevolence in the White House, the argument for cutting off funding immediately is stronger than I once thought. For sober conservative reasons, of course. Bush will not listen to reason. He will only listen to a funding cut-off.