Back in the summer of 2003, the right’s big idea was that the bombing of the UN compound in Iraq was not, as it first seemed, a bad thing. Rather, it actually demonstrated that we were making progress in Iraq and the opposition was growing desperate. My post on that theory is lost to the vicissitudes of linkrot, but it was BS then and it doesn’t sound much more convincing today:
Earlier, Mrs. Clinton described the violence as the last gasp of “rejectionists” who feared that the government would succeed in creating a united and peaceful Iraq. The attacks, she said, are “in an unfortunately tragic way, a signal that the rejectionists fear that Iraq is going in the right direction.”
More likely, the uptick in violence signals exactly what it seems to signal. The surge never produced political reconciliation, and in the absence of political reconciliation violence is resuming. Nir Rosen has an excellent rundown of the background to these incidents. He’s also quite confident that Maliki and his government will prevail in any renewed violent struggle. So in that sense, yes, Clinton may be right to say that this doesn’t augur a return to chaos. But it’s not a sign of progress.