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"An impression of chaos"

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(The people who did this are very worried)

I’d rather not bother to explain why I was watching Fox News at the gym this afternoon during the first quarter of the Super Bowl, but I’m glad others were watching as well and experienced the same bilious convulsions during William Kristol’s latest homily on “victory” in Iraq. When Chris Wallace asked if less than 20,000 soldiers might have any effect at all on the

KRISTOL: Yeah, doubling the U.S. troop presence in Baghdad can make a big difference. Look, if I were a Sunni extremist and was worried, which I would be, about a doubling of U.S. forces in Baghdad, what would I do? I would try to convey an impression of chaos. I would get the biggest truck bomb possible and drive it into a market in a Shiite area. If that’s going to drive us out of Iraq, that’s just ridiculous.

That would just send a message to any place we have interests, all the most ruthless group of terrorists has to do is kill a bunch of civilians and we’re going to leave. There’s no evidence they can stand up to U.S. troops and quite a bit of evidence that they’re worried. On the whole over the last two weeks, some of the news for Iraq is slightly optimistic. It’s going to be tough, but I see nothing that persuades me that the surge can’t work quite well.

Given his support for a war that has killed and wounded hundreds of thousands of innocent people, I have few doubts that William Kristol can actually project himself inside the mind of a Sunni extremist. They both understand, for example, that the obliteration of 130 people merely creates an impression of chaos — not to be confused with the real thing, of course, which would be much, much worse. A nation in genuine chaos, for example, would probably be run by a government that barely functions and whose parliamentarians can’t convene openly for fear of assassination; would probably find its infrastructure still beshambled nearly four years after its “liberation”; would be experiencing sectarian cleansing in several of its provinces; would have insufficient morgue space to absorb the headless or trepanated bodies littering the streets of its capital each morning; and would be described by many thoughful observers as having descended into “civil war” or some other such term of art.

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