I don't really do much politics here on the TrueTalk Blog. Leadership's more my thing.
But, the current events in Iraq caught my eye today, as the Iraqi government attempts to assert its leadership in a situation in which it's clearly overmatched.
We've all seen this. A leader is put in place as a puppet. Everyone knows s/he's a puppet, but we all nod and go, "harrumph, harrumph, yeah, that's the leader" when we all know perfectly well that the leader is somebody else behind the scenes. OK, most times, no problem.
Flash over to Iraq.
For the past year, we've watched as more US troops have stabilized Baghdad. Not much surprise there. You put 40,000 of the finest American service personnel in a city, they will establish order.
But, everybody involved knew it was a charade.
The only reason the surge had created the kind of widespread stability that we've seen is because we bought off this weasel, Muqtada al-Sadr.
We've heard this fellow described in lots of different ways over the past few years but one thing is clear: he's a leader. He has a substantial militia at his disposal and he knows how to leverage that street power into political advantage.
In the last 48 hours, the Iraqi government has decided to take al-Sadr on in Basra. That's not just a tactic, it's a change of leadership strategy. We're betting on al-Maliki to make this happen, with the help of a shitload of air cover. We'll see.
If this doesn't work, if Baghdad starts to blow up now, then we have to assume that the leaders of our efforts have not succeeded in their earnestly pursued goal of establishing local order.
There is no disgrace in that. Our leaders went into the situation knowing the odds of actually reversing the consequences of five years worth of decisions were very small, and did a terrific job trying to pull our bacon out of the fire.
Great example of leadership under General Petraeus.
I hope it works.