Feature

Why the Iraq debate is just beginning

What happened
Eight U.S. soldiers were killed in two attacks in Iraq on Monday in the deadliest day for American forces in two months. (The New York Times, free registration)

What the commentators said
“Has anyone noticed that Iraq, supposedly transformed into an oasis of peace and tranquility by George W. Bush's troop surge, is growing less peaceful and tranquil by the day?” said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post (free registration). As Americans remained “riveted” to the presidential campaign and what the candidates think about Iraq, there has been “little debate” about what is actually going on there. That should change now that we’ve “seen a recrudescence of the kind of horrifying, spectacular violence that the Decider's surge was supposed to have ended.”

If you think terrorists in Iraq are feeling good now, said Investor’s Business Daily in an editorial, wait to see how giddy they get if Americans elect a president promising to pull out of Iraq. “Think about it a moment. If you're a leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, which given the short life expectancy isn't a good career move these days,” would you rather square off against Barack Obama, whose “pledge is to run and hide,” or John McCain, who “supported the surge that is kicking al-Qaida's butt and says we should stay until we win”?

“It is understandably hard for Democrats and other administration critics to believe that a war fought so badly at first could take a turn for the better,” said Michael O’Hanlon in USA Today. But “those who say Iraq will be better off once we leave underestimate the typical duration of most nation-building efforts (a decade or more) as well as the fragility of Iraq's new institutions and the freshness of sectarian wounds that have only begun to heal.”

Recommended

Russia hits Kyiv with missile strikes as G7 leaders meet in Germany
A destroyed apartment building in Kyiv.
happening in ukraine

Russia hits Kyiv with missile strikes as G7 leaders meet in Germany

6 dead, 200 injured in Colombia after stadium stands collapse during bullfight
Collapsed stands in El Espinal, Colombia.
under investigation

6 dead, 200 injured in Colombia after stadium stands collapse during bullfight

10 things you need to know today: June 26, 2022
Joe Biden and Jill Biden
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 26, 2022

Sievierodonetsk falls to Russia
Smoke rising from Sievierodonetsk
russian victory

Sievierodonetsk falls to Russia

Most Popular

Can outlawing abortion infringe on religious liberties?
The Supreme Court.
Opinion

Can outlawing abortion infringe on religious liberties?

Sievierodonetsk falls to Russia
Smoke rising from Sievierodonetsk
russian victory

Sievierodonetsk falls to Russia

Trump takes credit for Dobbs decision but worries it 'won't help him in the future'
Trump addresses anti-abortion rally
too far for Trump

Trump takes credit for Dobbs decision but worries it 'won't help him in the future'