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Debating Infamy

February 5, 2007

Sometime in the near future, perhaps today, the United States Senate will possibly decide to send a what Sen. John McCain called "a vote of no confidence" of our current strategy in Iraq. That strategy has already has some success, even though it won’t start in earnest until today or tomorrow.

I haven’t commented on this pathetic state of affairs in our legislative branch, but I have given it plenty of thought and prayer. This is a new low for our country as our elected representatives dither and hedge with half-measures and destructive words that can only discourage our troops and embolden our enemies. Special contempt deserves to be heaped upon Republican Senators who have supported the war until now, while praise for honesty goes to Senators like Russ Feingold who as I understand it advocates de-funding of the war. In my mind, those are the two options: de-fund or support. Anything else is vanity.

So all I can do is watch and pray that such a vote never comes to pass, and if it does, it fails. Even so, some damage has been done: while no vote has happened, a public debate has taken place that I think can only hurt the success of the so-called surge. I accept that as the price of living in a free society, while I acknowledge that it does not always serve the cause of justice, as when known criminals are set free due to some technicality. We are Americans in part because of our defense of those technicalities, but it is sad when they cause short-term injustice.

It’s a difficult situation, and I’m not sure what the best approach would be other than what is currently happening. But the fact is, chastisement of the mission is detrimental to winning. Which is non-material if you think winning is impossible. Therefore I think the Democrats should just come out and say: "Victory is impossible. We the war is over, and we have lost".

Here’s what I don’t get:

  • Everyone agrees that Iraq as a failed state would be a disaster for US interests.
  • Gen. Petraeus was overwhelmingly confirmed.
  • Gen.Petraeus supports the surge.
  • No one is making the suggestion that Iraqi forces (especially the police) are ready to take over security.

Therefore it seems to me that a "forcing and end to the war", as Sen. Kerry put it after the election, will take out whatever security Iraq has, assuring it’s decent into the supposedly much-feared "failed state"- and anything that gradually takes out the troops as the Iraqis are proven to take care of themselves is basically the President’s plan.

It makes no sense to  me other than an attempt for the Democrats to pay the piper of their virulent anti-war base and general finger-in-the-wind spinelessness by the Republicans. If there’s  a case to be made that Iraq is somehow that much worse now than just a few months ago, it hasn’t been made. I think the whole thing is a shameful debacle of short-term political gain, which could easily turn into long-term liability as conditions improve.

Yet I have to say I haven’t been that worried about what’s really going to happen. Perhaps I’m sticking my head in the ground, but I jut believe the facts on the ground in Iraq are to important to ignore, even for partisan Democrats and week-kneed Republicans. In the way that many voted for the war without totally supporting it, they wish to register their dissatisfaction for it while not really voting against it either, all the while maximizing their ability to take credit for what ever success may come. That’s what legislators do. The Executive has no such luxury.

So regardless of any BS resolution, our troops will do their jobs like they’ve been hoping to do, and I think some success is bound to come from it. Inadvertently(?), I think the Democrats may have actually helped by their vocalization of what is indeed a very real dissatisfaction of the American people regarding the War: the Iraqi’s have to see that their time is limited and it’s foremost a fight for their lives. That can only be a good thing, as dependence on American forces has always been a danger- and why "more troops" hasn’t been the obvious answer. Now many are saying that more troops are still needed even for this surge, but as I have said before, loosening the rules of engagement is likely to be much more important a decision. This is not some Michael Savage "kill them all and let God sort them out" kind of nonsense, but a genuine counter -insurgency which seeks to kill the bad guys where they hide while enlisting the help of the local population who has an incentive to trust that helping defeat the common enemy will not get them killed.

I’ve never meant to make the case that this war was perfect in any sense- only that it has been reasonably undertaken and executed. We need more than reasonableness now, though, we need success, and I think the American people are always ready to endorse success. I say even if you think that the War has only increased injustice in Iraq, leaving now before the job is finished will only make it worse as the kind of Iraqi’s we all want to see succeed will be eliminated Cambodia-style in ethnic cleansing that will make the current hostilities seem quaint.

Would it be intemperate of me to ask that we all pray for success?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim C. permalink
    February 5, 2007 2:45 pm

    >It’s a difficult situation, and I’m not sure >what the best approach would be other than >what is currently happening.

    What did you think of Obama’s plan that supports conditional STAYING, not conditional leaving…based on Maliki actually making the political change needed to slow the civil war…?

  2. February 5, 2007 8:43 pm

    I understand the desire to set benchmarks. Certainly Maliki has needed to get a fire lit interms of curbing the Shiite militias.

    I think we’ve seen some preliminary evidence that a change of heart in Malike has come about. Wether it sticks, remains to be seen. More later.

  3. Tim C permalink
    February 6, 2007 7:33 am

    I ask because Obama’s plan is very much NOT either of these two categories you put the Dems responses into:

    …”Therefore it seems to me that a “forcing and end to the war” will take out whatever security Iraq has, assuring it’s decent into the supposedly much-feared “failed state”…and anything that gradually takes out the troops as the Iraqis are proven to take care of themselves is basically the President’s plan.”

    Obama’s plan would have real teeth to pressure actions to end the civil war on the part of Maliki and co, but wouldn’t leave IF they needed us and had hit their benchmarks and kept their end of the deal…

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