Archive for November, 2006

Iraq is a mess. Duh.

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

The chattering class, across the political spectrum, is now talk, talk, talking about the mess that George W. Bush and the neoconservatives have gotten us into in Iraq, and what do we do about it now. The adults, led by Jim Baker, the most adult of them all, except perhaps for Henry Kissinger, are working on devising a plan to extricate us from this unfortunate debacle caused by Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Bush.

Afghanistan is also a mess, but nobody is talking about it, because nobody is willing to say that overthrowing the Taliban and kicking Al Qaeda out of its sinecure was a mistake. So Afghanistan is a mission that must be completed, but Iraq is a mistake that should never have happened. The unspoken assumption here (very unspoken), is that everything would be better if Saddam Hussein were still in power. This is madness.

It’s as if Saddam Hussein, and his intention to acquire nukes, and the massive oil for food bribery, and the crumbling of the sanctions, and the no-fly zone, and the incipient civil wars in Iraq and Lebanon, not to mention Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran, didn’t exist before George Bush became President. These angry, inflamed abscesses were there, needing to be lanced, long before the Presidency was a gleam in George W. Bush’s eye. There has never been a clean, easy, safe, cheap way to avoid dealing with the war that was brought home to us on 9/11. It comes to us from the Middle East. The Middle East is where it must be fought. The Middle East is a mess. This is not a war of choice. It will not be sidestepped somehow if only we would engage in talks with Bashar al-Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If only we would pressure Israel to make more concessions to the Palestinian death cult.

If we quit, withdraw, pick up the pieces and go home, expecting peace in our time, we will be sorely disappointed. It will get worse. It is going to get worse regardless, for a long time, before it gets better. Our enemies are not a mirage cooked up by Karl Rove to win elections, as Ted Kennedy would have it. This terrible mess in the Middle East is not the result of incompetent diplomacy that John Kerry would have saved us from. And Jim Baker is not going to produce a deus ex machina to make it all better. There must be a bipartisan, WWII-like, commitment to do whatever it takes to prevail. If we are unable to muster the spirit to defend who we are, we will, in the long run, lose everything.

Post-election Reality

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

American casualties in Iraq are now 2,863, approximately the death toll resulting from drunk driving in the U.S. in a 20 day period. If the result of the Baker Commission voodoo and the Democratically controlled Congress lead to a “phased redeployment” from Iraq, a very clear message will have been sent to all of our enemies and allies (hard to tell the difference sometimes) around the world. To wit, if you can kill a couple of thousand American soldiers, you can force the retreat of the United States. That is not a high bar. A steady supply of IEDs and a few thousand fanatical cadres can accomplish that anywhere, and, after Iraq, the number of American casualties required will undoubtedly be down-sized. Talk about asymmetrical warfare! The entire U.S. military power can be held hostage with a few million dollars and an ideology, resources that Iran has in quantity. Well, we tried really hard, but It’s been six months since the first democratic election in Iraq’s history, and Iraq still doesn’t look like New Hampshire. Obviously our only option is to figure out how to leave.

The intention of the attack on 9/11 was to take us out of the game. It didn’t work. Killing civilians in Spain can swing an election, but killing American civilians seems to just make them fight back. That’s why there have been no more attacks on American soil since. Our enemies are crazy, but they’re not stupid. Killing American soldiers, however, is a different matter. That seems to work really well. So the focus has shifted from New York to Iraq.

“So what?”, you may say. “How can a few thousand fanatics with IEDs be an existential threat to the United States of America? Let Iraq stew in its own juice. A pox on the House of Saud and all the other Middle East houses.” Iran will soon have nuclear warheads to set atop the missiles they have purchased from North Korea. Iran, majority Shia, borders on Iraq, majority Shia. Iran, and their client Hezbollah in Lebanon, have announced their intention to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. If we leave Iraq, we will be back in Iraq, but by then the situation will have gotten much worse, as it did after we retreated from Gulf War I.

The Democratic leadership, pre-election, called for the closing of Guantanamo, the repeal of the Patriot Act, requiring the NSA to get warrants to wiretap terrorists, and the “phased redeployment” of American troops from Iraq. Of course none of the newly elected freshman Democratic representatives and senators campaigned for any of these unpopular policies. Will the Democratic leadership now introduce legislation along these lines? Hopefully, and probably, not. What will they do then? Demanding Rumsfeld’s resignation is no longer enough to establish one’s credentials with the anti-war crowd. The election is over. Rumsfeld is gone. The generals have spoken. We need more troops in Iraq, not less.

Rightward Ho

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

I may be whistling in the dark, but it looks to me like this election has moved both parties to the right, except for the war. On all the other issues, immigration, affirmative action, gay marriage, gun control, government spending, etc., the Democrats took conservative positions in order to win, and the Republicans were repudiated for not being conservative enough. Here in Tennessee, it was amazing to watch Harold Ford Jr. turn into a Jesus-lovin’, gun-totin’, gay-bashin’ redneck, and it wasn’t even quite enough. Even on the war, the results are ambiguous. I think the majority opinion is still that we want to win, but it didn’t look like the Republicans were doing the job. Consensus on the war may have to wait for the next major terrorist attack on Western soil.

Pelosi, Reid, Conyers, Rangle, et. al., assuming the Dems take the Senate, had better be very careful about thinking they have just received a liberal mandate. This was not a vote for cut and run, higher taxes, more earmarks, partisan investigations, open borders, and more government regulation. The Democrats need to stay humble and content themselves with raising the minimum wage, and other such meaningless tomfoolery, unless, of course, they actually have some good ideas about Iraq that they’ve been holding back until after the election.

Self Sacrifice

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

All of this criticism of John Kerry, a war hero, is completely unfair and uncalled for. Obviously he has realized that electing Republicans is what is best for his country, and, selfless patriot that he is, he is sacrificing his own pollitical career to help make it happen. I have developed renewed respect for him. If only the Democrats would nominate him one more time.

The Strategy

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

It looks to me like Zarqawi’s (peace be upon him) strategy was as follows:

Murder lots of Shia civilians to prod them into retaliating against their Sunni neighbors.

Which in turn will prod the Sunnis into retaliating against their Shia neighbors.

Which will raise the level of sectarian violence all over Iraq.

Which will scare the weak-willed, decadent Americans into withdrawing from Iraq.

The bombing of the Golden Mosque was the capstone of this strategy. The Sunni, Baathist insurgents got fed up with Zarqawi and turned him in, but by then it was too late. He was no longer necessary. His strategy appears to have been a grand success, resulting, perhaps, in a Democratic victory in the upcoming election and ubiquitous talk of withdrawal across the American political spectrum. It seems that Zarqawi’s assessment of the character of both the Iraqis and the Americans was devastatingly accurate.

The one fly in the ointment is that America doesn’t have a parliamentary system, so Bush will still be Commander in Chief for two more years, but it has become almost politically impossible for him to escalate, and there is enormous pressure on him to withdraw. What really needs to happen at this point is for the U.S. to send another 100,000 troops to Iraq. Where would they come from? I don’t know, but presumably they would have to come from places where they aren’t needed, like Europe and South Korea. The chances of this happening are close to nil. We are on the verge of a major defeat and a vindication of the Al Qaeda master plan.

If only Al Gore and John Kerry had not had the elections stolen from them, none of this would have happened.