Like his nominal boss, and just as delusionally, Vice President Dick Cheney sees the British withdrawal as proof of success in Iraq: “Well, I look at it and see it is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well.”

I’m sure the Iraq of Cheney’s wild imagination is a wonderful place where free, armed, and capitalistic Iraqis worship God, America, and Bush — not necessarily in that order — but the real Iraq is an altogether different nightmare. (Besides, Cheney has absolutely no credibility left. Does anyone other than Lynne, Mary, Dubya, Mary Matalin, and the unblinkingly partisan believe anything he has to say about anything anymore? Perhaps some fellow war enthusiasts, but that’s about it.)

And so Juan Cole’s assessment seems right:

This is a rout, there should be no mistake. The fractious Shiite militias and tribes of Iraq’s South have made it impossible for the British to stay. They already left Sadr-controlled Maysan province, as well as sleepy Muthanna. They moved the British consulate to the airport because they couldn’t protect it in Basra. They are taking mortar and rocket fire at their bases every night. Raiding militia HQs has not resulted in any permanent change in the situation. Basra is dominated by 4 paramilitaries, who are fighting turf wars with one another and with the Iraqi government over oil smuggling rights.

Blair is not leaving Basra because the British mission has been accomplished. He is leaving because he has concluded that it cannot be, and that if he tries any further it will completely sink the Labor Party, perhaps for decades to come.

That’s the unpleasant truth hidden behind the happy-go-lucky spin.


For more, see Political Animal, NewsHog, Booman Tribune, Gun Toting Liberal, and Reaction co-blogger Libby Spencer at The Impolitic.

Andrew Sullivan gets it right, too: “Remember that, according to Cheney, the entire war has been an enormous success so far. My bet is that the phony peace prompted by the surge is designed to give Bush and Cheney a moment around May to say about all of Iraq what Cheney has just said about the south. It’s fine. We won. We’re redeploying. But only the Democrats want to retreat. Remember: the facts in Iraq are irrelevant to Cheney. What matters is domestic politics. And he’s setting himself up for a declaration of victory relatively soon. At least one other person on earth will pretend to believe him.”

Stop the presses! American wins Iraq War!

Yes, you can see it coming.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • Sam

    We are winning, we have always been winning the war vs. Eurasia.

  • Marlowecan

    Andrew Sullivan said: “Remember: the facts in Iraq are irrelevant to Cheney. What matters is domestic politics.”

    Rubbish. If what matters was domestic politics, Bush would have declared victory and left before the O6 elections.

    Sullivan is ignoring Bush’s stubborness.

    Kritter argued at TMV yesterday that a strategy similar to the one Sullivan outlined is underway. I thought it was an interesting argument, and I hoped it was correct, but am not convinced.

    Liberals have been stating that Bush would do precisely this for months. Before the 06 vote Fred Kaplan wrote at Slate that he was certain Bush would declare victory and bail. Bush didn’t.

    I hope most of the troops are out by the end of the year. I don’t see much more value to their presence. However, unlike liberals, I don’t see this happening. If Bush has one defining character trait, its stubborness.

  • kritter

    Marlow- If Dick Cheney says it must be the gospel, right?

    Just remember back to the first Gulf War (which I really think this administration thought this war would resemble). We beat back Saddam out of Kuwait, and pinned him down in defeat. Great victory for Bush Sr, right? Except how many knew that we had encouraged an insurgency of Shiites and Kurds to rebel within Iraq and then failed to back them up, resulting in the death of tens of thousands after Saddam got his revenge?? I don’t even remember any of that making the headlines. When its viewed in that light, its genocide, brought on by our lack of follow-through. Political spin, now more than then, has replaced reality.

  • denspark

    one thing the british are very good at is working out when it’s time to fold the cards and walk away. Despite blairs best attempts the UK’s establishment (including brown & the tory party) have decided the game is no longer worth the candle.

    And once Brown has spoken , then blair has no choice but to obey his master, otherwise he’d be out of no 10, and the police wouldn’t be quite so nice towards an ex-PM as they are towards an a current PM.

    Look at the timescales, it suits brown far more that it suits Tony ‘he does have wmds’ blair.

  • kritter

    Rubbish. If what matters was domestic politics, Bush would have declared victory and left before the O6 elections.

    But that was an honest miscalculation by the WH. Remember, right down to the wire Rove was confidently predicting that the GOP would hold onto both houses. Bush believed him, which was why he didn’t change his strategy until after the election, why he kept Rumsfeld and why he insisted we were winning in campaign appearances. He thought he could still convince the country he was right.

    After the election, he came to the realization that the country no longer was buying the victory talk or the Defeatocrat=terrorist enabler rhetoric. He got rid of Rummy and looked at new strategies. Bush also rejected the ISG’s conclusions because, they admitted defeat.

  • Andrew Sullivan is a really annoying blogger. All of this conservative brouhaha, and then there’s eventually one story where he got it exactly right…

  • Saddam is dead – no WMD, sounds to me like we won.