Baffling NY Times headline: “Falluja Pullout Left Haven of Insurgents, Officials Say.” That’s usually what happens when you take a town full of insurgents, go in, kill a few of them, and then leave and put the survivors in charge of the town.
Ever since the dual occurences of the Falluja pullout and the decision to drop the indictment against Muqtada al-Sadr, I’ve been wondering what job, exactly, the “finish the job” crowd thinks it is that we’re finishing. Both decisions are, I think, potentially defensible examples of good times to surrender, but they were both just that — surrenders — surrenders in sub-conflicts that we shouldn’t have started in the first place. They’re only defensible on the understanding that we’ve given up and are now seeking an orderly-looking withdrawal from Iraq. But if that’s what we’re doing, the president should make that our explicit policy. If it’s not what we’re doing, then we can hardly just leave the leaders of insurgent groups just lying all around the country.