In the past 24 hours, Dick Cheney has been in Baghdad, calling the Iraq War a "successful endeavor." John McCain's there too, and actually uttered those four magic words, "the surge is working," which only differs from Cheney's analysis in the scary possibility that McCain might actually believe it. Then again, maybe Cheney's pronouncement can be chalked up to youthful exuberance -- after all, he's almost 5 years younger than McCain.
And then there's that other possibility, the one that's starting to scare me: That by a certain neocon definition, Iraq is a success.
What if the war in Iraq did go on for 100 years, as McCain suggested it might? What are we looking at? An entire century of ever-increasing military spending, necessitating deep cuts in all other government programs -- like public education and health care and all that other sissy stuff. A staging ground for ten decades of warfare with Islamist militants, for whom the place is becoming a terrorist fantasy camp ("Come to Iraq and fight real Americans in your own back yard! Get your picture taken with real al Qaeda pros! Learn the fundamentals of blowing yourself up!"). And endless, lucrative contracts for American companies that support the war effort, from Grumman to Raytheon to -- of course -- Halliburton. Companies that in the absence of a Cold War might otherwise see their prospects dwindling.
What about that is not a success, by neocon standards? I've been scoffing at it for so long that think I missed the point. It's not a question of if the surge is working -- it's about whom it's working for.