Maybe this isn’t a new line, but it strikes me as entertaining nonetheless. Bush & co have frequently asserted that we’re sending messages by our behavior here to both the troops and the enemy, as if the enemy would cower at hearing belligerent rhetoric and the troops would actually be supported by removable magnetic bumper stickers. Now the Iraqis have joined in the game:
>Much of the violence in Iraq last year was the outward manifestation of Iraqis realizing that the United States was an increasingly irrelevant force. Since shortly after the 2003 invasion, U.S. forces demonstrated an inability to protect anyone consistently. Iraqis watched as America became divided over the war and its merits, a split that culminated in the Democrats’ congressional victories in November. It gradually became clear to Iraqis that the United States was going to leave Iraq in a shambles. Their government did not appear capable of providing security, so many Iraqis reasoned that they would have to choose sides to survive.
>Joining a militia thus became a rational choice. The sectarian fighting and the intra-Sunni and intra-Shiite violence that spiked last year occurred as various armed groups positioned themselves to take power and Iraqis scrambled to find ways to protect themselves.
It’s all the fault of Democrats failing to appear resolute:
>While debate over a war’s merits — and whether to withdraw — is a sign of a healthy democracy, Iraq unfortunately highlights many of the difficulties a democracy faces in a long-term counterinsurgency or nation-building campaign. Such debate can be detrimental to the battle for perceptions. Having linked its future to an antiwar stance, the Democratic Congress has in effect told Iraqis that they are best off joining militias, because the dissolution of Iraq is only going to accelerate.
In the face of such partisan Democracy, we can hardly blame the Bush administration’s incompetence:
>Mismanagement by the Bush administration and an unquestioning Republican Congress may have set the stage for the sectarian violence of 2006, but Democratic efforts to pull out troops, cut off support or link support to unattainable benchmarks have been equally damaging to attempts to get militias and insurgents to lay down their arms.
You see, we have to want it.