Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fareed Zakaria: So you're being raped. Don't panic — just unclench and wait for ejaculation

With his calm and reassuring voice, Fareed Zakaria tells us not to panic, and adds that he understands if we feel, well, more than a little used.
Many Democrats are understandably enraged over Iraq.
Fareed, please excuse the language but fuck off. I don't need your permission to feel enraged.

And after that wonderful touchy-feely opener, you know what's coming next — yes, the all-encompassing maybe/maybe not assertion that only the real pros can get away with.
The rising clamor in Washington to get out of Iraq may be right or may be wrong, but one thing is certain: its timing has little to do with events in that country.
That's just too precious: its timing has little to do with events in that country. You know what else had little to do with events in that country? The start of the war. I kid you not, Fareed. You can look it up.

So Americans have lousy timing. We started the war too early and we'll end the war too early. So shoot us.
Iraq today is no worse off than it was three months ago, or a year ago.
Not going to try for three years ago, are you Fareed?
Nor has there been a sudden spike in the numbers of American troops being killed. In fact, in some ways things have improved recently.
Really? Like what?

Well, Fareed tells us the road to the airport is no longer the obstacle course of death that it used to be.
To understand the change, look at the airport road to Baghdad. For two years, when reporters would ask how it was possible that the mightiest military in history could not secure a five-kilometer stretch of road, the military responded with long, jargon-filled lectures on the inherent weakness of long supply lines and the complex nature of Baghdad's urban topography. Then one day this summer the military was ordered to secure the road and use more troops if necessary. Presto.
So it took the mighty US military more than two years —presto — to secure a stretch of road the distance from my house to the A&P. Truly impressive. I wonder who, after all this time, so commandingly "ordered" the military to do it?
The next great shift will have to be the protection of infrastructure. It remains mind-boggling that Iraq is producing no more electricity and oil today than under Saddam.
Actually, my mind remains unboggled. After all, it took the mighty US military more than two years to secure a five-kilometer stretch of road from Baghdad to the airport.
To oversimplify, after two years of pretending that it was not engaged in nation-building in Iraq, the administration has accepted reality.
Interesting that the media never bothered to tell us that the administration had this pesky reality-gap problem.
Instead of simply chasing insurgents or hunkering down in large armed camps, the military is now moving to "clear, hold and build," in Rice's words. If this trend continues, it means that securing the population and improving the lives of people has become the key measure of success in Iraq. This shift is two years late—call it the education of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney—but better now than never.
Oh, Fareed, don't make me do the math. Two years late? How many lives? How many limbs? How many billions?

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