The Other Surge
Nevermind that Iraqis are doing most of the dying and sustaining most of the damage to their economy; the "blame-the-Iraqis" crowd--y'know, the ones who keep saying "the Iraqis should be doing more of this and more of that"--need to keep these numbers in mind (Arabic):
Total number of military personnel: 250,000 (in 14 Divisions)
Total number of police: 450,000
Increase in weekly operations by Iraqi security forces since the Maliki government took over: 1000 percent
Increase in number of patrols: 270 percent
Increase in security spending in the 2008 budget: 26 percent
And everyday, these soldiers and policemen are getting better equipped, better trained and more and more capable of taking on a diminishing security threat. Iraq has 51 billion dollars to burn through for 2008; this is the largest budget in Iraq's history, calculated at 53 dollars a barrel (...it's now at over a 100 dollars a barrel). All the political actors seem to have mellowed out and are seeking political bargains left, right and center across confessional divides. Big oil companies are starting to jump in and be part of the action, investing tens of billions more. Arts are blossoming, the media scene is vibrant, the legal system is working.
All this and yet some folks want you to believe that it could all blow-up at any day now: the Sunnis are re-arming, the Sadrists are fuming, Turkey is going to occupy Kirkuk, a bomb went off in Talafar, etc. They will keep telling you that the sky is about to fall until November, and beyond.
But it won't.
It's not quite up to the standards of Sweden just about yet, but Iraq is heading in that general direction. And there's no turning back.
They can peddle fear, but it won't go far; there isn't much of a market for cowardice when everyone's busy with a victory parade.
Then they'll tell you that you're spending too much maintaining a military in Iraq, neglecting to tell you that a big chunk of that money is what you'd have to pay anyway to maintain a military in the first place. They'll exagerate the numbers of Iraqi dead, neglecting to tell you who did the killing.
Their refrain will be: "Was it worth it?"
They certainly won't tell about the strategic and moral implications of a successful Iraq; a new Iraq saved from Saddam and on its way to becoming the closest approximation of Sweden in its neighborhood; a strong Iraq that may have to do all the dirty work of cleaning up a very messy Middle East so that you can heat your homes and go to cinemas without fearing that some zealot has left a ticking surprise for you; yeah, you can bet your ass it's worth it.
Why will these certain folks do all this? A part of me would like say that it's because they're little creeps who care more about their egos than the lives of others, but honestly, I don't know why they're so allergic to the reality of good news.