N’importe qui peut jouer les gentils quand les mauvais garçons ont été abattus et le train a sifflé trois fois. Alors les habitants de la ville tremblants peuvent ressortir dans la grand’ rue et féliciter le shérif à coups de grandes claques dans le dos, se réjouissant que son pistolet soit à nouveau tranquillement rangé dans son étui – et que tous ces cadavres de méchants hors-la-loi soient commodément hors de vue chez le croque-morts. Victor Davis Hanson
La remarque d’Obama – s’il devient président – de retirer les forces en 16 mois, nous pensons que cette période pourrait augmenter ou diminuer un peu, mais que cela pourrait convenir pour mettre un terme à la présence des forces en Irak. Qui veut sortir d’une manière plus rapide a une meilleure évaluation de la situation en Irak. Des soldats étrangers au milieu des secteurs les plus peuplés n’est pas sans effets secondaires. Ne devrions-nous envisager de mettre un terme à cette situation malsaine? Nouri Al-Maliki (premier ministre irakien)
Ce qui rend ‘perplexe’, c’est qu’Obama ne se rende toujours pas compte que ses mots ont une importance. Tucker Bounds (porte-parole de campagne de John McCain)
Dire que vous allez vous retirer d’une manière planifiée – indépendamment de ce que les Irakiens font, indépendamment de ce que nos ennemis font, indépendamment de ce qui se produit au sol — est le comble de l’absurdité. Michael E. O’Hanlon (the Brookings Institution)
Je ne suis pas persuadé que 20,000 soldats de plus en Irak va résoudre la violence sectaire. En fait, je crois que cela aura l’effet inverse. Obama (le 10 janvier 2007)
Le problème – les renforts: Le but des renforts de troupes était de créer de l’espace pour permettre aux leaders politiques irakiens de se mettre d’accord et mettre un terme à la guerre civile qui déchirait l’Irak. A grand coût, nos troupes ont aidé à réduire la violence dans certaines régions de l’Irak, mais même ces réductions ne nous aident pas à descendre au-dessous des niveaux de violence insoutenables du milieu de 2006. De plus, les leaders politiques irakiens n’ont accompli aucun progrès pour résoudre leurs différends politiques au coeur de leur guerre civile. Barack Obama (site de la campagne Obama, ancienne version)
A l’heure où, ultime preuve du travail accompli par « Cowboy Bush » comme de la proverbiale ingratitude des peuples, le premier ministre irakien se permet, après avoir pour de faciles raisons politiciennes internes exigé un calendrier de retrait le 7 juillet dernier, de soutenir ouvertement le candidat démocrate dans un récent entretien au Spiegel …
Où ledit intouchable candidat des munichois et notoire habitué des toilettes sénatoriales pendant les votes délicats …
Qui n’a cessé de prôner depuis un an et demi le retrait immédiat des troupes et qui se décide enfin, à moins de quatre mois des élections, à aller en Irak pour la première fois depuis 2006 en quête « d’informations » pour « affiner sa politique » …
Et le site internet de sa campagne semble brusquement et étrangement atteint d’amnésie aigüe …
Petite remise des pendules à l’heure avec le WSJ …
The Wall Street journal
July 18, 2008
Barack Obama departs for Iraq as early as this weekend, with a media entourage as large as some of his rallies. He’ll no doubt learn a lot, in addition to getting a good photo op. What we’ll be waiting to hear is whether the would-be Commander in Chief absorbs enough to admit he was wrong about the troop surge in Iraq.
Mr. Obama has made a central basis of his candidacy the « judgment » he showed in opposing the Iraq war in 2002, even if it was a risk-free position to take as an Illinois state senator. The claim helped him win the Democratic primaries. But the 2007 surge debate is the single most important strategic judgment he has had to make on the more serious stage as a Presidential candidate. He vocally opposed the surge, and events have since vindicated President Bush. Without the surge and a new counterinsurgency strategy, the U.S. would have suffered a humiliating defeat in Iraq.
Yet Mr. Obama now wants to ignore that judgment, and earlier this week his campaign erased from its Web site all traces of his surge opposition. Lest media amnesia set in, here is what the Obama site previously said:
« The problem – the Surge: The goal of the surge was to create space for Iraq’s political leaders to reach an agreement to end Iraq’s civil war. At great cost, our troops have helped reduce violence in some areas of Iraq, but even those reductions do not get us below the unsustainable levels of violence of mid-2006. Moreover, Iraq’s political leaders have made no progress in resolving the political differences at the heart of their civil war. »
Mr. Obama’s site now puts a considerably brighter gloss on the surge. Yet the candidate himself shows no signs of rethinking. In a foreign-policy address Tuesday, the Senator described the surge, in effect, as a waste of $200 billion, an intolerable strain on military resources and a distraction from what he sees as a more important battle in Afghanistan. He faulted Iraq’s leaders for failing to make « the political progress that was the purpose of the surge. » And his 16-month timetable for near-total withdrawal apparently remains firm.
It would be nice if Mr. Obama could at least get his facts straight. Earlier this month, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad reported that the Iraqi government had met 15 of the 18 political benchmarks set for it in 2006. The Sunni bloc in Iraq’s parliament is returning to the government after a year’s absence. Levels of sectarian violence have held steady for months – at zero. (In January 2007, Mr. Obama had predicted on MSNBC that the surge would not only fail to curb sectarian violence, but would « do the reverse. ») If this isn’t sufficient evidence of « genuine political accommodation, » we’d like to know what, in his judgment, is.
The freshman Senator also declared that « true success will take place when we leave Iraq to a government that is taking responsibility for its future – a government that prevents sectarian conflict, and ensures that the al Qaeda threat which has been beaten back by our troops does not re-emerge. »
Yet the reason Iraq is finally getting that kind of government is precisely because of the surge, which neutralized al Qaeda and gave Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki the running room to confront Moqtada al-Sadr’s Shiite Mahdi Army. And the reason the U.S. can now contemplate more troop withdrawals is because the surge has created the conditions that mean the U.S. would not be leaving a security vacuum. On Wednesday, Mr. Maliki’s government assumed security responsibility in yet another province, meaning a majority of provinces are now under full Iraqi control.
Mr. Obama acknowledges none of this. Instead, his rigid timetable for withdrawal offers Iraq’s various groups every reason to seek their security in local militias such as the Mahdi Army or even al Qaeda, thereby risking a return to the desperate situation it confronted in late 2006.
The Washington Post has criticized this as obstinate, and Democratic foreign policy analyst Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution reacted this way: « To say you’re going to get out on a certain schedule – regardless of what the Iraqis do, regardless of what our enemies do, regardless of what is happening on the ground – is the height of absurdity. »
Mr. Obama does promise to « consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government » in implementing his plans. But he would have shown more sincerity on this score had he postponed Tuesday’s address until after he visited Iraq and had a chance to speak with those generals and Iraqis. The timing of his speech made it appear not that he is open to what General David Petraeus tells him, but that he wants to limit the General’s military options.
Mr. Bush has often been criticized for refusing to admit his Iraq mistakes, but he proved that wrong in ordering the surge that reversed his policy and is finally winning the war. The next President will now take office with the U.S. in a far better security position than 18 months ago. Mr. Obama could help his own claim to be Commander in Chief, and ease doubts about his judgment, if he admits that Mr. Bush was right.
Voir aussi :
High Noon for General Will Kane
Victor Davis Hanson
August 6, 2007
In the classic Western High Noon, desperate Marshall Will Kane, played by Gary Cooper, tries to rally the fickle townspeople, his deputies — and his own wife. They have to stand up to the outlaws due into town for the final big shoot-out on the noon train. As the sweating Kane scrambles in vain to find supporters, he looks up constantly at the town clock tower to see the hour hand inching toward high noon.
Time is likewise running out on Gen. Petraeus in Iraq. Dozens of Democratic Senators and Congressmen were elected in 2006 on promises to end the war immediately — which Senate Democratic Leader and former war supporter Harry Reid has declared is already lost.
Petraeus must convince a good number of these liberal lawmakers to give the U.S. military a final fifth year of war. He wrote the handbook on counter-insurgency, has an Ivy League Ph.D. (with a thesis on the lessons of Vietnam), came in with a new Defense Secretary and Centcom commander, and was confirmed unanimously by the Senate Democrats. They are also not quite convinced that Petraeus is going to lose. So for now he has bought a few precious weeks until the Democrats’ clock strikes twelve this autumn.
But the Republican timetable is not much longer. A few Republican Senators at any time can join the Democrats to ensure their anti-war legislation becomes immune to both Senate filibusters and presidential vetoes. Senators like Richard Lugar or John Warner don’t want to see hard-won Republican constituencies completely vanish if we lose in Iraq. So they are distancing themselves from the war.
There are only so many more lives and billions of dollars and years the American people will sacrifice without assurance of victory. The result is that even Republican leaders demand that Petraeus win a vast war of counterinsurgency within a year when it has usually taken several in the Philippines, Malaysia, or Central America.
To keep their support for more time, Gen. Petraeus must somehow kill more of the terrorists, win over more of the Iraqis, and lose far fewer Americans in the process — and do all of that before the 2008 election so they can run on victory rather than stalemate.
The military itself has a clock. For the most part its planners support the idea of surging 30,000 more combat troops and going on the offensive against terrorists.
But with a much reduced military, ongoing commitments in Europe, the Balkans, Japan, and Okinawa, possible crises on the horizon with Iran and North Korea, and a war going on in Afghanistan, it can’t afford to maintain the surge levels forever.
The military’s concern is not so much the summer surge now, but how to translate its ongoing tactical success into permanent strategic momentum next year — at least to such a degree that it will allow incremental American withdrawal as confident Iraqis fill our places. Or as Gen. Petraeus himself is accustomed of asking from subordinates, “Tell me where this ends?”
Finally is the Iraqi clock. If Petraeus can convince Iraqis that more insurgency means only a bleak future of more bombings, beheadings, and random violence of the last four years, he can still keep a posse of supporters. And if he can show that power, water, sewage and government services are all improving as the violence subsides, even more will come out to join the Americans than fight them.
At the beginning of High Noon, everyone praised Marshall Kane as they did Gen Petraeus. Then as the clock ticked, they abandoned him, and hid back inside when the outlaws seemed invincible. At the end of the movie with the bad guys dead, the fickle public changed once more and cheered their Marshall on for a second time.
We the townspeople are watching Gen. Petraeus watch his various clicking clocks. It is hard to remember a senior U.S. officer who was greeted with more acclaim than he when he took over command of the coalition in Iraq this February. Then as causalities mounted, and the insurgents kept staging bombings, his posse of supporters began to disappear and run for cover.
But if we stabilize Iraq, they will once again emerge to peep their heads out of their windows — as some already have for the moment — and praise him as another William Tecumseh Sherman or Matthew Ridgeway who by feats of arms saved both an imperiled war effort and an administration in their eleventh hour.
No wonder then our Will Kane in Baghdad keeps his eyes always on the clock. How did High Noon end? With Marshall Kane victorious, but leaving town in disgust at his fair-weather friends he saved.
What would be the press reaction — if George Bush announced that he wanted to invade nuclear Islamic Pakistan? Or if he addressed a group of African-Americans and adopted a fake-black accent as if implying all spoke with flawed Southern-accented grammar? Or if he went to a Daily Kos convention and praised lobbyists? Or if he told a reporter that he hated a Congressman? Or if he said that our soldiers in Guantanamo reminded him of Nazis, Stalinists, and genocidal followers of Pol Pot? Or he said that Abu Ghraib was about the same as when Saddam’s murderers ran it? Or if he said another Congressman reminded him of Hitler? Or he lost his temper and began yelling at Fox’s Chris Wallace?