Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Did we really ‘win’ in Iraq? Tom doesn’t think so — and neither does General Dubik

The other day a couple of commenters discussing innovation in the military mentioned one change (fwiw, the company-level intelligence cell) as a big reason why "we won in Iraq." Hmm, I thought: Did we actually win that war? I am not sure. It doesn’t feel like it. Yes, we got out with our shirts on. ...

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Flickr

The other day a couple of commenters discussing innovation in the military mentioned one change (fwiw, the company-level intelligence cell) as a big reason why "we won in Iraq."

Hmm, I thought: Did we actually win that war? I am not sure. It doesn't feel like it. Yes, we got out with our shirts on. But win?

I thought about this again when I read this thoughtful comment by Lt. Gen. James Dubik in the May issue of ARMY magazine:

The other day a couple of commenters discussing innovation in the military mentioned one change (fwiw, the company-level intelligence cell) as a big reason why "we won in Iraq."

Hmm, I thought: Did we actually win that war? I am not sure. It doesn’t feel like it. Yes, we got out with our shirts on. But win?

I thought about this again when I read this thoughtful comment by Lt. Gen. James Dubik in the May issue of ARMY magazine:

America is confusing "withdrawing from a war" with "ending a war." The two are very different. A war ends when strategic objectives are met or an enemy is defeated and recognizes its defeat. In Iraq, the war continues — albeit at a level that the Iraqi security forces are, so far, able to handle and the Iraqi government can manage.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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