Why the Democrats are wrong about Iraq
Why the Democrats are wrong about Iraq
If you listen to John Kerry, you would think Iraq could be fixed. If you listened to Joe Biden, you would think all we have to do is defeat the insurgency and get the UN aboard. Even if you listened to Howard Dean, you would think the great sin was not getting the UN aboard.
The neocon's delusion was that we were invading France, 1944 and the Iraqi people were waiting for liberation. The reality is that we were invading Yugoslavia, 1943 and most of the country hating us.
The central problem is that we have no allies in Iraq. No Charles DeGaulle who was on our side. Instead, we had a shifty crook who most Iraqis will kill on sight. Without a base of support, no US occupation can last months, much less years. To be honest, I was surprised Sistani gave us a year. We will not get another one. I cringe when I hear Democratic politicians say we will need to be in Iraq for years. Because what legitimate government would allow us, the hated occupiers, to just set up bases there?
The British tried that game and were rewarded in 1941 with a Nazi-inspired rebellion.
The Democratic Party is in a bad position. They cannot say the obvious: we will be lucky to escape Iraq with our army. The American public still conflates the war on terror with Iraq and the reality is that the two are as related as lemurs and goldfish. So they say things, which if the Europeans didn't hate Bush with a passion usually reserved for mistresses, any EU MP would fall down laughing to refute. No, NATO isn't going to Iraq. No, the UN will not bail you out.
Then you get Biden as well as Howard Dean saying "we need arab troops on the ground."
Huh? Which ruler risks being overthrown by doing that? Egypt? Syria? Algeria? Morocco? Nope, nope, nope, nope. The Arabs are not going to join a fight being quickly tied to Israel's eternal war with the Palerstinians. Israel's assasination campaign has already had a blowback in Iraq. Those for mercenaries were killed inrevenge for the murder of Sheik Yassin. By endorsing Sharon's land theft for peace policy, even the Jordanians want nothing to do with Bush.
The new neocon theme "the other Arabs don't want democracy in Iraq" is nonsense. Arab states don't usually interfere in the internal machinations in other countries, except for the Saudi wahhbist imams, bringing madrassas to a country near you. They don't care how you run your counry as long as you control it.
Dean gets a lot of credit for being against the war, but his postwar solutions don't have much basis in current reality. Neither does John Kerry's.
The problem is security and we can't do anything to fix it. The Times says send more troops. Ok, where are they coming from? The National Guard Brigades will take six months to activate and become combat ready. And as a Times story so clearly notes, long deployments to combat sends Guard families into penury.
What no one says, and is self-evident, is that the US is missing it's Pakistani auxilliaries. We could use a couple of divisions of Pakistani troops to patrol the highways and Sadr City, but since Musharraf realized his head would be on a pike if he had agreed, they stayed home. We aren't misisng NATO, a few battalions of paras and mech infantry would be nice, but they won't change much. We need our Pakistani and Egyptian friends to kick in tens of thouands of troops. We had almost bribed the Indians into joining in and then that government realized that they were in trouble.
This constant expectation that The UN can make things right is also delusional. There is no evidence that the UN, any more than the US, can even be secured in Iraq, or that Iraqis want them there. While Sistani may trust them, to some degree, others may not be so willing.
Too many Democrats endorse the war aims without understanding what they truly entail. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said on CNN that we have to "crack that nut" Fallujah, or it would be "a symbol to the Islamic world". Well, you can't crack anything with a one to one ratio of troops and that is what we have with the Marines in Fallujah. To too many Democrats, it's all about making Bush's policy work, when there is no way it can ever work. Killing more women and children is no solution and no matter what lies the Marines tell, they will kill more women and children unless they evacuate the entire city,
It's nausiating seeing all the hype fortaking on the resistance, as if they are a few bandits and not whole battalions of the Iraqi Army. They're attacking in platoon and company strength for God's sake. I'm tired of people mouthing the platitudes that "we can beat them." "They're not a military problem". So why haven't they been beaten? Why haven't the ammo dumps been blown up? They cut the highway to Baghdad. Sounds like a military problem to me.
Now, a year later, you want to add more troops? A year of combat experience and training for the resistance? With our Iraqi forces nearly useless in combat?
The Democrats are checkmated by Bush's faux-Western resolve. What he says sounds great to many people who do not follow the news daily. He sounds like he's in charge. In reality, he's a babbling idiot scaring no one. But to call him on that plays into the GOP's hands. The Iraqis have taken everything we've thrown at them and not quit. Bush, who is sure briefed differently, pretends to America that there is both a point to this war and it has something to do with protecting America. That we are fighting Saddam groupies.
In my ideal world, the Dems would challenge Bush, claim he's losing the war and decide to end it so we can reenforce Afghanistan. But that's electoral suicide until we are truly embarassed in Iraq. The sad fact is that pictures of coffins and 100 dead will not change mids.
You would think our ready acceptance of cease-fires would be a hint. But until we lose a company in an ambush or see thousands of Sadr City residents flooding into the Green Zone with weapons or some other horrific disaster, no one will speak the truth, which is that we have already lost Iraq, It only matters how we leave it.
The sad fact is that Iraq is an immoral war fought for reasons bordering on fantasy. A particularly American fantasy, where we ignore history, the conduct of our troops (who gunned down four kids in a routinely miserable display of fire discipline), and wonder why the Iraqis do not see what good people we are. It is utterly ridiculous for John Kerry to say we can stay in Iraq for years, a position hardly different than the anti-war Howard Dean often annunciated. We broke it, we fix it is not a policy. It is not an explaination for 700 dead Americans. It is, most importantly, not going to work.
We need to get out of Iraq before we are kicked out of Iraq and then start over.
posted by Steve @ 3:24:00 PM