The Right’s Iraq Panic

The Wall Street Journal editorial page today lashed out at critics calling on the administration to fire Donald Rumsfeld and shift strategies in Iraq, saying they were suffering from “Iraq Panic.” Since the WSJ’s editors often forecast the message of the wider conservative movement, it’s telling that their latest administration apologetics are so transparent.

WSJ: “As for security, the daily violence is terrible and dispiriting, but it is not a sign of an expanding insurgency.”

FACT: Average Number of Insurgent Attacks per Day — May 2003: 10, June 2004: 52, May 2005: 70 [Brookings Institution, 6/3/05]

WSJ: “[The insurgent strategy of attacking ‘soft’ targets] drives up the casualty figures, especially against Iraqi civilians, but it does not win more political converts. Insurgencies that have prevailed in history — Algeria, China, Cuba — have all had a large base of popular support.”

FACT: “A recent internal poll conducted for the US-led coalition found that nearly 45 percent of the population supported the insurgent attacks, making accurate intelligence difficult to obtain. Only 15 percent of those polled said they strongly supported the US-led coalition.” [Boston Globe, 6/10/05]

WSJ: “That more of the bombers seem to be coming from outside Iraq is cause for worry, since it means there will be a continuing supply of suicide bombers. But it also means that the insurgency is becoming an invasion force against Iraq itself, which means it lacks the native roots to sustain it.”

FACT: “U.S. military estimates cited by security analysts put the number of active jihadists at about 1,000, or less than 10 percent of the number of fighters in a mostly Iraqi-dominated insurgency.” [Washington Post, 5/14/05]