Winning in Iraq

It is now apparent that the US is winning in Iraq. It is so apparent that even the Washington Post reports it – to the considerable surprise of both myself and others

What then is winning? What does victory mean?The US can destroy any enemy anywhere, and no one can stop us. Building states, however, is harder.

Baathism has been crushed. Al Quaeda in Iraq has been crushed. These are big important victories. The idea, however, was to build democratic allied states. Building states is hard, and no one knows how to do it. The success rate in state building has been depressingly low. The Iraqi state is largely smoke and mirrors. Though Iraq is nominally independent, when push comes to shove, it is not independent, but under US martial law. US officers can and do arrest Iraqi officers and high officials when they deem it necessary. When and if Iraq becomes independent, it will likely collapse, or else become a kind of state that is not very democratic and not in the interests of the US.

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