Saturday, January 14, 2006

How many corners does a quagmire have?

Rep. Jerry Moran says 2006 could be turning point in Iraq.

For security reasons, Moran said he couldn’t reveal where he was calling from or the delegation’s travel schedule, which included Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Moran said security in Iraq appeared much tighter than when he visited the country more than two years ago, before the insurgency took root. But he is convinced that progress is being made.
I bet you could find equally confident New Year's assertions from co-dels in 2003 (before the war), 2004, and 2005. I've seen nothing to make me think I won't be seeing glowing promises of corners turned as we enter 2007 or 2012.

Maybe Moran is right. Maybe things are getting better, and 2006 is the year when the ingrained hostilities between Sunni, Shiite and Kurd will dissolve in Iraq as that nation develops a unified identity. Then the newly nationalistic (rather than sectarian) police and military will be able to root out the indigenous insurgency.

But my guess is that that isn't what will happen. By the end of 2006, I expect there will be a dozen or so combat-ready battalions in the Iraqi military, up from just one. I expect we'll see improvement in other areas where progress can be easily defined.

Does that make it a turning point? I think not. It sounds like a starting point.

In large part, this lack of confidence in official statements is why I've yet to say anything about the alleged killing of Zawahiri. We've heard that song too many times before. All we know is that 14 or 15 people are dead, probably from a Predator attack.

This is the administration that cries wolf.

UPDATE: CNN sez Al-Zawahiri not among 18 killed in airstrike. I bet the five dead children were hardened al Qaeda terrorists, though.