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April 29, 2007

Asking for Trouble
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

If I were President Bush I would be careful about not touting the recent success in Anbar province too publicly.  It’s exactly the type of declaration that invites retaliation.  The Administration is faced with a Catch-22.  In order to prosecute the war it needs the support of the American public.  It therefore goes out of its way to brag about specific successes.  Unfortunately, the American public is not the only audience that pays attention to the President’s and his advisors’ statements.  Iraqis, especially key players such as politicians and insurgent leaders, pay attention too. When they see themselves being used as a talking point they tend to go out of their way to debunk it.  Some recent examples:

Earlier this month the administration began talking about a 26% drop in sectarian violence in Baghdad.  A week later there was a massive bombing of a Shiite market and an attack on the Green Zone.

John McCain was in Iraq with a Congressional delegation in early April and they consistently used Moqtada al-Sadr’s marginalization and weakness as a sign that things were finally getting better in Iraq.  By the next week Sadr had organized a massive protest in Najaf and pulled his Ministers out of the Iraqi government. 

The Administration has been touting the joint Iraqi-American security stations that have been built around Baghdad.  And soon enough there is a suicide attack at one of these bases that kills nine American troops.

The President has consistently referred to Tall Afar as an example of success and a model for the “surge”.  But just last month it experienced one of the worst sectarian bombings of the war and an equally ugly reprisal.

These declarations are not the reason that the attacks are happening.  But every time supporters of the war cite a specific success, they add symbolic value to a target. At this point they have no hope of regaining public support for the war.  So, I'd suggest keeping quiet.


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Because when every Democrat, MSM megaphone, beltway legacy think tank, and Sorosphere blogger pushed the "civil war" meme al-Queda stood down.

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