Asked about the growing insurgency in Iraq back in July 2003, then-President George W. Bush responded with a remark that will very likely appear in his obituary: "Bring 'em on." For Bush, it was merely a regrettable quip. For Iraqis, there were very real consequences. Thousands of fighters, many of them radicalized by the Iraq invasion and occupation itself, traveled from countries in the region to "bring it on" in Iraq's cities and neighborhoods, markets and mosques. In addition to the costs in lives to Iraqis and American troops, the conflict enabled al-Qaeda planners to develop and refine a set of practices against the most skilled military in the world -- Iraq became a kind of terrorist boot camp.
President Barack Obama has come under increasing criticism from conservatives for what they see as his insufficient rhetorical support for the Iranians demonstrating for reform. As usual, playing a lead role in conservative arguments is the mighty Communist-killer Ronald Reagan.
The Bush administration and its supporters hailed the recently signed security pact between the U.S. and Iraqi governments as a major milestone. But the agreement revealed who the most powerful forces in the new Iraq really are.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks to the media after meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, Iraq, Friday, Oct. 10, 2008. (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)
In the never-ending battle to define and redefine the terms of the Iraq debate, President Bush and conservative supporters of the war have rallied to portray the recent signing of the security agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments as a milestone for freedom.
On March 20, Bush administration Iraq hands Dan Senor and Roman Martinez published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Whatever Happened to Muqtada?" The item -- which was accompanied by a cartoon drawing of the Iraqi cleric that seemed inspired by racist propaganda of the 1930s -- declared Sadr a spent force in Iraqi politics.
As part of an apparent effort to reinvigorate political journalism's most tired cliches, James Kirchick declares that "the Left lacks a sense of humor." He offers as proof my Think Progress post from Tuesday, in which I noted what a sad commentary on conservatism it was that Christopher Buckley felt that John McCain needed to be forgiven for opposing torture. Quoth Peretz's ward: