Daniel Larison writes:
Whenever possible, I refer to the Iraq war as a war of aggression, because that is what it is and has always been. One thing that has often puzzled me about the reflex to declare victory in Iraq, as a Newsweek cover story did recently, is that I don’t know what it could possibly mean to achieve a victory that anyone would want to celebrate as the result of a war of aggression. Tens and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of Americans are dead. Tens of thousands of Americans are injured, some of them severely, and Iraq now boasts one of the highest percentages of disabled people in the world. Millions of Iraqis were turned into refugees or displaced within their own country. All of this has come about because of a war that did not have to happen. All of this has come about because of a war we started. It is bad enough that our government unleashed this hell on people who had never actually done America any harm, but it is unconscionable that any of us celebrate what has been done as if it were something good and worthwhile.
Of course the new administration will try to make the best of it, claim progress and take credit for anything it can. That is in the political self-interest of this administration. Having inherited a mess that the political class has convinced itself was improving, it would not be advantageous to be the one overseeing the unraveling. The rest of us are not burdened by such considerations.