Brit journalist William Shawcross, who braved cries of betrayal from his former friends on the left by supporting the invasion of Iraq, agrees with President Bush that the current level of violence is aimed at the American voter. Writing in the Spectator, Shawcross confronts the prevailing pundit palaver on Iraq: 

1. Unlike pundits and Democrats, Shawcross blames our enemies, not us, for the continuing violence:

“Armchair pundits in the West like to blame the crisis in Iraq on mistakes made in Washington, particularly by Donald Rumsfeld. There have certainly been such mistakes, but whether the present situation would have been markedly different without them can never be known.

“Moreover, our mistakes were tactical not moral; our soldiers have not died plundering or colonising Iraq – they have died trying to help Iraqis make it better. The blame for the present chaos lies, above all, with the monstrous al-Qa’eda and Baathist Sunni terrorists and the equally vile Shia militia, who are abetted by Iran. The vast majority of deaths in Iraq are being inflicted by Muslims on other Muslims, for reasons which have little to do with us.”

2. He also sees the dire consequences of an E-Z exit strategy:

“There are those who claim we could make a deal with Iran and its client Syria in a compromise settlement of Iraq’s problems. It’s hard to envisage. Both governments have done everything possible to destroy the new Iraq. The Syrian government has enabled the Damascus Baathist mafia to smuggle thousands of suicide bombers into Iraq. Our bomb disposal experts can often identify the precise Tehran factories in which car bombs and other deadly explosive devices have been manufactured. Iran is now stoking the violence by warning that it could do even worse if it gets its way with its nuclear ambitions.”

3. Shawcross notes that our forces have adapted and are actually fighting more effectively:  

“‘The US army and the marines have transformed themselves in the last two years,’ [a Sandhurst military expert] says. ‘They set up their own counter-insurgency school and all officers down to platoon level pass through it. It is a far more effective force than it was in 2003.'”

All of which will be irrelevant if the Democrats muster enough wins to realize their dream of turning Iraq into Vietnam.