Over-engineering Defeat in Iraq
By Repair Man Jack Posted in Spotlight Blogs | War — Comments (3) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
I’ve finally heard a position on America’s War in Iraq that I like less than that of Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich wants all US troops to leave that theatre within ninety days. It’s cut and run, but it’s also cut and dried. I feel that it would be wrong, but at least the man does the wrong thing in the right manner.
I can’t speak as well for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most recent geometrical foray into non-substantial triangulation over Iraq. She offers the following dung pile of useless, contradictory guidance on the issue.
Read on . . .
The United States’ security would be undermined if parts of Iraq turned into a failed state “that serves as a petri dish for insurgents and Al Qaeda,” she said. “It is right in the heart of the oil region. It is directly in opposition to our interests, to the interests of regimes, to Israel’s interests.”
“So I think it will be up to me to try to figure out how to protect those national security interests and continue to take our troops out of this urban warfare, which I think is a loser,” Mrs. Clinton added. She declined to estimate the number of American troops she would keep in Iraq, saying she would draw on the advice of the military officers who would have to carry out the strategy.
So we have a strategic interest in Iraq. We need our military right in the heart of oil country to stop Al Queda, but if the capital city of the region turned into a swamp of anarchy, she wouldn’t fire a shot to stop it.
I kind of thought that this sort of half-approach to fighting the Shiite militias attempting ethnic cleansing in Baghdad put our mission in peril. The entire premise behind “The Surge” was to chase Muqtada back to Iran and clean up Sadr City so that Iraq could be governable from the traditional capital city.
Amazingly, Sadr City has already become a nicer neighborhood without the Sadr’s. You don’t have to be a warmongering Christianist to point that out. When even Andrew Sullivan admits its working, something has to be going well over there.
Hillary’s strategy reveals everything that Cindy Sheehan accused George Bush of having up his sleeve. The troops are there for an undefined amount of time. They are there to police a bunch of oil fields so that Al Gore can cheaply fuel his fleet of SUVs. As President, Hillary really wouldn’t care if the new Iraqi Government goes to the dogs.
Matt Stoller of MyDD was aghast:
“Hillary Clinton's promise to continue the Iraqi occupation will become the Democratic Party platform if she is the nominee. This is a very dangerous roadmap for the Democrats.”
And for once, I actually find myself agreeing with a diary on MyDD. If The Democrats want to end it in Iraq, if they really want the troops to return home and no longer care what does or does not get accomplished there, then Dennis Kucinich offers them the soundest strategy.
But then again, strategies give voters reasons to form sound opinions. They involve tough value decisions which inform choices among unappealing alternatives. Either Hillary has no values, or she doesn’t want the voting public to see what they are. She isn’t offering anything that resembles a strategy.
Hillary is engaged in over-engineering a defeat in Iraq. She doesn’t want the antipathy that Dennis Kucinich would willingly man up to and face, but she also doesn’t want casualties. She wants to generate the path of least negative public opinion. She offers a strategy to spin Iraq, not fight it or leave it.
In the best of all possible worlds, the surge or its equivalent will work and take down opposition in Iraq to the point where the Iraqis can take charge and finish it off. My second choice would be what Kucinich offers, rapid retreat.
Hillary’s strategy offers the worst of both worlds. She wants to keep just enough over there to “do something about the problem”, but she isn’t willing to acknowledge enough risk to have any reasonable chance of success. This is what we tried and got slapped for in Vietnam. We didn’t just engineer our own defeat there, we over-engineered it. We nuanced ourselves to death.