Tuesday, February 01, 2005

 

Victory In Iraq?

That's the question being asked, and Instapundit puts up a few links on the topic here (in his post on MSNBC, he actually gives props to Bill Clinton). And given what we know now - an excellent turnout among the threat of violence and a huge variety of relatively unknown candidates, and the fact that indeed the insurgents were largely unsuccessful at disrupting activities at the polls, I think that the elections went off much better than expected by most.

But that's not going to be what determines victory in Iraq, although it may be an indication of where things are heading. The key here is that a lot of Iraqis got out and voted - certainly a majority of the population - and if they can somehow gather their collective power towards suppressing the insurgency and supporting the efforts of the Iraqi security apperatus, then maybe things well end up just fine. But without substational support from the population, I don't see the country weening itself off the US military any time soon. These folks need to understand that a free democracy begins not in the capital, but in their own backyards.

The other potential factor that might determine whether this is the start of a self-sustaining democracy or a repeat of Vietnam circa 1967 is the influence of other countries. While Vietnam's political situation was certainly not conducive to winning a war, the fact that it was propped-up by any number of Communist countries near and far certainly contributed to the outcome of that conflict. While that sort of superpower proxy mechanism is no longer in place, it certainly didn't take a superpower-like amount of support for the Afghan rebels to push back the Soviet Union (it was estimated that less than $1 billion/year was pumped into that conflict at its peak). How to avoid this sort of outside influence, I don't know.

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