The Corner

Major Garett Was Wrong

The word “victory” does appear in the ISG report, three times in fact. Each mention deals with the possible consequences of US failure:

If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences could be severe. A slide toward chaos could trigger the collapse of Iraq’s government and a humanitarian catastrophe. Neighboring countries could intervene. Sunni-Shia clashes could spread. Al Qaeda could win a propaganda victory and expand its base of operations. The global standing of the United States could be diminished. Americans could become more polarized.


Al Qaeda will portray any failure by the United States in Iraq as a significant victory that will be featured prominently as they recruit for their cause in the region and around the world. Ayman al-Zawahiri, deputy to Osama bin Laden, has declared Iraq a focus for al Qaeda: they will seek to expel the Americans and then spread “the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.” A senior European official told us that failure in Iraq could incite terrorist attacks within his country.


Al Qaeda would depict our withdrawal as a historic victory. If we leave and Iraq descends

into chaos, the long-range consequences could eventually require the United States to return

I’m still reading, but it appears there’s little discussion of an American military victory.


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