A must read. Excerpt:
Most would agree that the Americans now know exactly what they are doing. They have a brilliant and savvy ambassador and a top diplomatic team. Their bases are expertly run and secured, where food, accommodations, and troop morale are excellent. Insufficient body armor and unarmored humvees are yesterday’s hysteria. Our generals ‘” Casey, Chiarelli, Dempsey ‘” are astute and understand the fine line between using too much force and not employing enough, and that the war cannot be won by force alone. American colonels are the best this county has produced, and they are proving it in Iraq under the most trying of conditions. Iraqi soldiers are treated with respect and given as much autonomy as their training allows.
Again, the question now is an existential one: Can the United States ‘” or anyone ‘” in the middle of a war against Islamic fascism, rebuild the most important country in the heart of the Middle East, after 30 years of utter oppression, three wars, and an Orwellian, totalitarian dictator warping of the minds of the populace? And can anyone navigate between a Zarqawi, a Sadr, and the Sunni rejectionists, much less the legions of Iranian agents, Saudi millionaires, and Syrian provocateurs who each day live to destroy what’s going on in Iraq?
The fate of a much wider war hinges on the answers to these questions, since it would be hard to imagine that bin Laden could continue be much of a force with a secure and democratic Iraq, anchoring ongoing liberalization in the Gulf, Lebanon, and Egypt, and threatening by example Iran and Syria.
UPDATE: See also this report from Haaretz. The times in which we live seem very much like October, 1962, with the difference that the American public seems generally unaware of the seriousness of the days.