Sunday, December 11th, 2016

A premature declaration of defeat

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A number of left-wing bloggers are hyping Wm. F. Buckley Jr’s column declaring defeat in Iraq, forgetting that he has been a pessimist regarding our mission there from the beginning. His own magazine offers a rebuttal well worth reading:

“If Iraq ever descends into a real civil war, we won’t have to debate whether it has happened. It will be clear for all to see. The military will dissolve into ethnic factions, and the government will collapse. That hasn’t happened, and so declarations of defeat in Iraq of the sort our founder and editor-at-large William F. Buckley Jr. made last week are pre-mature. That view could ultimately be proven right, but there is no way to know with certainty at this point. Throughout the Iraq war, NR has tried to temper the rival fatalisms of the Iraq optimists and pessimists. Victory in Iraq has never been inevitable or impossible. The outcome depends, as is always the case, on the choices made by the players, including ourselves. Even if our influence in Iraq is waning, our commitment and the specific forms it takes still matters very much. Defeatism will be self-fulfilling.”

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