Quotes of the day (war hawks on Iraq today)

Friday, September 08, 2006 at 04:46 PM

An editorial in the Hartford Courant notes that the National Review, the conservative biweekly, recently asked scholars, military experts and geopolitical strategists to reflect on Iraq. The Courant notes that the consensus was that the situation is bad and getting worse, despite the fact that most of the commentators come from "the hawks' aviary." Among the views:

Today, Iraq is certainly not where, in early 2003, we had hoped it would be. If the current violence, instability and confusion are measured against the planning assumptions of that period, this campaign to create a free and stable Iraq is clearly failing.
Newt Gingrich, former House speaker

While U.S. diplomats have become masters of their cubicles, Iranians have become masters of Iraq.
Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

Although in guerrilla war control of territory guarantees little, after 3.5 years, we are not even safe in the Green Zone. Our civil projects, ambitious and elementary alike, are rotting and abandoned. ... Our combat arms are demoralized, our downwardly adjusted recruitment goals often unmet, our staple military strength diminished as we suppress and neglect funding and upkeep, and our allies are leaving from embarrassment that we should fail and proclaim success nonetheless.
Mark Helprin, senior fellow at Claremont Institute

Are we winning? No, if by "winning" you mean "ensuring stability all over Iraq." There are many areas where things are getting worse. Yes, if you mean "expanding areas of stability." But the "no part" is more important than the "yes" part, because in key areas such as Baghdad and Basra, things are alarmingly bad.
Michael Ledeen, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

I'd give the Iraqis one more year to pull themselves together. If by the summer of 2007 they have not rallied to their government with sufficient commitment to defeat the state's enemies, it will be time for us to leave.
Ralph Peters, retired Army officer and author of "Never Quit the Fight"

If our object was merely to topple a dictator whose continuation in office embodied pre-9/11 America's lack of will, then the war's already won. On the other hand, if the purpose was to demonstrate such strength of will as to deter future troublemakers, then clearly Iraq's been a flop.
Mark Steyn, author of "America Alone"

The United States has not yet lost in Iraq, but it is on the verge of losing at home. ... If we are to believe the administration's words - if Iraq is truly the central front of the war on terror - then what's needed now is reinforcement of enough U.S. troops to retake Baghdad. ... And if the Bush administration, for its own reasons, cannot or will not do what is now necessary to win - well then, it had better begin seriously contemplating a fallback position, a Plan B. As it is, the sacrifices of U.S. troops and effusion of U.S. treasure are succeeding only in slowing the pace of U.S. failure.
David Frum, co-author with Richard Perle of "An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror"