Learn from Hitler's Mistake; Could Bush Be Enabling Germany's Blunder?
Byline: Harlan Ullman, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The United States has two main aims in Iraq. First, it aims to assist Iraqis in making Iraq into a functioning state and one day a real democracy. Second, to achieve the first aim, the insurgency must be defeated. So, how are we doing on both counts?
The Bush administration argues we are winning these battles, occasionally claiming that we have passed through critical "tipping" and "turning" points on the road to victory. Most recently, the perennially bullish vice president has predicted that the insurgency is on its last legs. But the latest news from Iraq has not been good.
The spike in the number of both Americans and Iraqis killed in the insurgency may or may not continue. Attacks are reportedly growing more sophisticated and deadly, and there appears to be no shortage of suicide bombers. As disruption of electrical power becomes a higher insurgent priority, the term "long, hot summer" will assume greater meaning in Iraq.
At home, a spate of recent polls shows plummeting public support over how the Bush administration is handling Iraq, assuming the word "handling" is appropriate. A handful of House Republicans have called for the administration to produce a plan by year's end for reducing the American military presence in Iraq, reflecting a "wariness" that has not yet openly reached the level of "weariness" over the war. This could also spread to Senate Republicans many of whom remain privately convinced that we are not winning in Iraq.
Earlier this month, the Senate held confirmation hearings for Iraq Ambassador-designate Zalmay Khalilzad. That we have been without an ambassador there for nearly six months is a further small indicator of the difficulties inherent in "handling" Iraq. At those hearings, Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden offered a dramatic assessment of the insurgency based on his fifth visit to Iraq. Mr. Biden noted that senior American military officers in Iraq openly acknowledged to him that it would take several more years for the Iraqi security forces to reach a level of proficiency sufficient to cope with the violence. Mr. Biden also warned Americans that we were just getting to the tough part of the long, hard slog in Iraq, a powerful caution from a well-informed and knowledgeable senator.
That today marks the anniversary of Hitler's surprise invasion into Russia 64 years ago offers a significant lesson, even if some might regard any reference for U.S. policy as repugnant. …