Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bleak Days

The Moose comments on the current Iraq situation.

The President's rhetoric has finally caught up with the reality in Iraq. Today's Washington Post,

"For three years, the president tried to reassure Americans that more progress was being made in Iraq than they realized. But with Iraq either in civil war or on the brink of it, Bush dropped the unseen-progress argument in favor of the contention that things could be even worse.

"The shifting rhetoric reflected a broader pessimism that has reached into even some of the most optimistic corners of the administration -- a sense that the Iraq venture has taken a dark turn and will not be resolved anytime soon. Bush advisers once believed that if they met certain benchmarks, such as building a constitutional democracy and training a new Iraqi army, the war would be won. Now they believe they have more or less met those goals, yet the war rages on."

For supporters of the war who have not now found that they are against the war after they were for it, this Presidential realism is a welcome development. It is long overdue. The Administration's triumphalism after the overthrow of Saddam was disastrous. Even more destructive was the failure to provide a sufficient number of troops. We continue to pay the price for that grievous error.

By failing to restore order, outside terrorists were able to foment sectarian strife. And we are learning that the Iranians are also behind much of the mayhem by supplying their radical Shiite allies with sophisticated weapons that are used against our troops. Iran is at war with us.

There is no guarantee that our mission will not fail. However, if we withdraw now, failure is assured. Tony Blankley suggested a scenario following a U.S. withdrawal,

" We warn the Iraqis to get off their duffs and prepare to be in charge by Dec. 31, 2007. We depart (leaving a couple of divisions in a desert base somewhere in Kuwait — per John Murtha's over the horizon strategy).

The Iraqi military and police are still not able to manage. Full scale civil war breaks out. The Iranians enter to give help to the Shias. The Egyptians, Saudis and other Sunni states lend a hand to help the Iraqi Sunnis. The Kurds declare an independent Kurdistan. The Turks go to war against the Kurds after Kurdish PKK terrorists hit the Turks yet again. The Sunnis try to take a piece of Kurdish oil resources near Kirkuk. The Shia workers, who dominate Saudi's southern oil fields attack Saudi pipelines in solidarity with Iranian Shia led fighting in Iraq.

Kuwait demands our two divisions immediately leave, as it is arousing the hostility of its population. Qatar makes the same demand, for same reason, of our naval base. The United States complies."

Thoughtful anti-war liberals also recognize the potential disaster of an American withdrawal. Kevin Drum,

"On the one hand, the argument for withdrawing is stronger than ever because it's even clearer than it was last year that our troops are simply unable to cope with the emerging civil war in Iraq. On the other hand, a year ago it was at least possible that a withdrawal might help cool things down. Nobody thinks that today: a pullout now would almost certainly unleash an unbelievable bloodbath in Baghdad and beyond. This virtual certainty of slaughter is a painful reality, and it makes it harder than ever to continue counseling withdrawal."

It is hard to believe that those who call themselves progressive would abandon a democratic government that was put in place by the heroic participation of millions of Iraqis. Moreover, how will they feel when they have created a Mesopotamian Darfur?

While the American people are increasingly disatisfied with the war, they will likely be even more distraught over an American defeat and the consequences of a catastrophic foreign policy setback. It would be useful if the Administration faced an opposition that was demanding a victory strategy, and not just opponents who advocate a course that is guaranteed to result in defeat.

Any takers?

-- Posted at 9:21 AM | Link to this post | Email this post