One of the boldest predictions ever made on The Futurist was back in May 2006, when I made a detailed case for why victory in Iraq would arrive precisely in 2008, not sooner or later. There was also a half-time update in September 2007 to the initial May 2006 prediction over here. This was an unusually bold prediction to make, given the state of Iraq in May 2006, which was before the Surge was even discussed.
So now, in 2008, I am happy to declare that the United States has WON in Iraq, and has made Iraq a reasonably peaceful, functioning democracy with a strongly growing economy.
The following five points support the declaration of victory, as per objectives detailed in the original May 2006 prediction :
1) US troop deaths are very low : US troop casualties to hostile attacks are now less than 10 per month, a dramatic improvement from as much as 100 deaths per month in the past. The death rate is so low that the media avoids mentioning it. Indeed, non-hostile deaths often surpass hostile deaths in certain months. When more deaths occur due to road accidents, drowning, and training mishaps than at the hands of terrorists, the terrorists are quite ineffective. If a country of 25 million people were against the presence of US troops, why are only 8-10 US troops being killed per month? Many troops report not having had to fire their guns even once in the last 90 days.
2) Iraqi deaths are low : It is very easy for terrorists to bomb schools, markets, and hotels indefinitely. Yet even this has dropped to a level so low that the chance of being murdered in Iraq is actually lower than it is in Baltimore, Detroit, or the South Side of Chicago. Less than 300 Iraqi civilians are being killed per month, which is remarkable in a country of 26 million people. The Iraqi people have taken responsiblity for removing radicals from their midst, which was the most fundamental objective for installing democracy in Iraq in the first place. Iraqi refugees, some who left as far back as during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran War, are returning to Iraq for the first time in years. Neither Iran nor Al-Qaeda are capable of causing major violence in Iraq anymore.
Furthermore, many foreign terrorists have gone to Iraq in order to disrupt the nascent progress there, only to meet their deaths at the hands of the US and Iraqi militaries. There has been a distinct drop in Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks worldwide since the start of 2007, and it is because the 'best and brightest' have all gone to Iraq and perished. The 'flypaper' strategy has worked.
3) The political process is stable : Iraqi elections have high voter turnout and minimal violence, with women voting in full force. The Iraqi parliament and judiciary are functioning moderately well. There is little to no threat of a coup. If you consider how many cultural, regional, and sectarian forces were fighting against this outcome, the magnitude of this miracle becomes clear. What took Germany and Japan 25 years after their defeat in WWII, Iraq has achieved in under 6 years. Iraqi politicians are corrupt, but so are American politicians. If Iraqi corruption is no higher than that of India (a fully functioning democracy), that is to be considered a success.
There was scarcely a country more unlikely to function as a democracy, yet this miracle has happened. We should be proud to have had the privilege to witness it. This will, eventually, lead to a domino effect of greater freedom in Iran, Syria, and Jordan.
4) The Iraqi economy is booming : This was the crux of my 2006 case for what it would take for Iraq to become a functioning nation. History has proven repeatedly that once a certain level of prosperity is reached, a society becomes more interested in economic activity than destabilizing violence, and the general public will unite to combat elements that are bad for business. Iraq is not at this level yet, but is on track to approach it rapidly.
Iraq's real GDP continues to grow at about 7% a year. Iraq's exports of oil are increasing, and the revenue amounts to thousands of dollars per year per Iraqi. Beyond oil, industries like financial services, telecom, and solar energy are taking root in Iraq for the first time. Internet use is surging. Most Iraqis now have cellular phones, which is very complementary to the democratic process. The Iraqi stock market is functional, and investor participation is increasing.
5) US public opinion has turned around : For the first time in years, more Americans view the Iraq War as a positive endeavor than those who have the opposite view. This psychological transition is almost as important as the actual data, as it prevents politicians from seeking to appease the public with promises of a 'cut and run' withdrawal. Despite complete Democrratic control of the White House and Congress, they will quietly let the progress in Iraq continue. It also paves the way for greater support of the next US military conflict, and helps bury the ghosts of Vietnam (which itself is not a conflict that the US technically lost, but that has been discussed here).
These five dimensions of victory are comprehensive, and at this point, irreversible. This sends anti-American fifth-columnists (8-10% of the US population) and Euro-leftists into apoplectic, writhing agony.
It is one thing to oppose the war due to cost, or regret that we went in. These are reasonable positions that should be respected. It is quite another to hope for failure, to emphasize only bad news while ignoring good news, to excuse or even defend terrorists, and to condemn anyone who wants a positive outcome. This is anti-Americanism, period.
The anti-American fifth column previously loved to trumpet the running total of US troop deaths, as well as the monthly rate. In order to oppose the Surge, they were quick to mention that 2007 had higher US troop deaths than 2006. For example, see Matt Taibbi, an entertainment reporter, at 0:50 in this video. But now that 2008 will have less than one third the US troop deaths as the previous year, these critics are silent. Where is Matt Taibbi's admission that casualties are now low? Anyone with any intellectual honesty would admit that the death rate is sharply lower than it was when they used that as their main argument, but a pre-requistie for being a fifth-columnist is dishonesty, so no further explanation is needed.
Now that the most vocal opponents to the Iraq War have been trying to change the subject to hide their embarassment, their weak position is the perfect time to call them out and hold them accountable. Do not show restraint towards those who themselves showed no restraint between 2003 and 2007. Just as a strong offense towards Al-Qaeda hastened their collapse in Iraq, a strong offense against the fifth column will send them to the same fate as their Al-Qaeda allies. We owe it to our troops to expose and shame those who hoped for their failure and even their deaths.
Please submit this article to Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon, link to it in your own blogs, and send it to other bloggers. Advertising the success of our mission in Iraq is a necessary ingredient of strengthening that very success. We don't have to settle for merely having anti-Americans desist, but we have the opportunity to make this victory the graveyard of fifth-column fashionability. By this, I mean that the Iraq victory should be proudly touted as an example of American exceptionalism prevailing against seemingly impossible odds. After decades of hearing anti-Americans gleefully interject 'Vietnam' into every opportunity to put America down, it is our turn to do the opposite and turn 'Iraq' into a synonym for success.