The Corner

Iraq: Back From The Brink

Here are a couple of good back-from-the-brink pieces in the Washington Post. This one gives lots of credit to Khalilzad and Talabani for working the political end hard and effectively. This one reports on the balance between using US troops to restore order and letting the Iraqi forces take more responsibility. One thing is clear: it would have been better to have killed Sadr long ago, and it’s a disaster that he has made himself such an important arbiter politically and in the streets (at the time, I thought it was OK to take half-a-loaf deals with Sadr after our confrontations with him–I was wrong).

The civil war that has been averted would be a catastrophe on all levels. It would be a political catastrophe for the Bush administration. If it happened before November, Republicans would lose Congress, and Bush’s presidency would be effectively over. It would be a humanitarian catastrophe. I’m told the Kurds would presumably grab Kirkuk and probably slaughter Sunnis in the process; while the Sunnis and Shia would go after each other in Baghdad; and rival Shia factions would probably fight as well. A nightmare. Finally, it would be a strategic catastrophe. The rationale for Bush’s post-9/11 foreign policy would be in shambles and if the civil war widened out–drawing in the Saudis and the Iranians–it could set the region back decades.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Second(-Class) Amendment

Editor’s Note: The following is the fourth in a series of articles in which Mr. Yoo and Mr. Phillips will lay out a course of constitutional restoration, pointing out areas where the Supreme Court has driven the Constitution off its rails and the ways the current Court can put it back on track. The first entry ... Read More

The Mad, Mad Meditations of Monsieur Macron

Almost everything French president Emmanuel Macron has said recently on the topic of foreign affairs, the United States, and nationalism and patriotism is silly. He implicitly rebukes Donald Trump for praising the idea of nationalism as a creed in which citizens of sovereign nations expect their leaders to put ... Read More

The Brexit Crisis

After what seem like years of a phony war, British and European Union negotiators finally agreed on the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU earlier this week, and Theresa May announced it in the House of Commons. The deal covers more than 500 pages of legal and bureaucratic prose, and few but the ... Read More