In the Arena

Yesterday in Iraq

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Somehow I missed this terrific op-ed piece in yesterday’s Washington Post, in which Gian Gentile, who is apparently a Lt. Colonel on active duty in Baghdad (If so, he is one courageous fellow–to speak out like this and, of course, to do the work he does), describes the situation on the ground as what it is: a civil war.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the piece is that he devotes exactly one sentence to the good news that Kristol et al use as evidence for an eventual American “victory” in Iraq:

The security we helped provide for Sunnis gave them increased freedom to go out and kill Shiites or, more recently, to conduct fights against local al-Qaeda members.

This is the proper perspective. It’s good news that the Sunnis are expelling Al Qaeda, but it won’t change the basic dynamic in Iraq–a civil war in which U.S. troops have little, if any useful role.