Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Our Hundred Years' War

When the fighting started, did the English have any idea how long it would go on? Did they expect to go through France in a cakewalk?

It’s Year 5 in Iraq, and the forecasts are lengthening. On Meet the Press this morning, retired Marine General James Jones, head of a commission studying the readiness of Iraqis to take over their own security, predicted “it’s probably a three to four year project for them.”

Today’s Washington Post, describing Bush Administration in-fighting over the war, reports one plan that calls for “slashing U.S. combat forces in Iraq by three-quarters by 2010” and Gen. Petraeus “making the case to keep as many troops as long as possible to cement any security progress.”

A New York Times blog reports that a poll “which contained an oversample of members of the United States military and their families, found that Americans say the Iraqi government is not doing all it can realistically be expected to do to establish order. Sixty-two percent of those polled said the United States made a mistake getting involved in Iraq.”

This week, the Washington air will be filled talk of “progress” in Iraq, and the questioning of what we are doing there will be branded defeatist by those who are planning to replicate the whole enterprise in Iran before American voters throw them out of power.

At how many points in the Hundred Years’ War did the English and French talk about progress, patience and persistence? And they were fighting for their national existence, not in a far-off hellhole for the misbegotten theories of armchair strategists named Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Libby.

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