Thursday, November 30, 2006

Shall We Just Wait For the Next Massacre?

Now that the Democrats have taken Congress, Rumsfeld has been fired and the Baker boys are in town, ‘cut and run’ is in the air, and the mortal danger we might have avoided is now staring us in the face.

Making the Last Mistake in Iraq (Excerpt)
Tony Blankley, November 22, 2006

“But if, as it is hard to imagine otherwise, our departure from Iraq yields civil war, chaos, warlordism and terrorist safe havens -- it is very likely that Iran will lurch in to harvest their advantages, Turkey will send in its army to stop an independent Kurdistan, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the other Sunni states will be sucked in to fend off Shi'a Iran's hegemony. In that nightmare maelstrom the 20 million barrels a day of oil shipped from the Persian Gulf -- and the world economy with it -- will be in daily risk of being cut off.

Nor is that all. Al Qaeda and other terrorists are already gloating that they have whipped the "cowardly Americans" in Iraq. We will be seen (in fact, we are already beginning to be seen) as a weak reed for moderate Muslims to rely on in their hearts and mind struggle against the radical Islamists. Bin Laden was right in one regard: People fear and follow the strong horse; even more so in Middle Eastern culture, where restraint is seen as weakness and murder is seen as strength.

In the face of such a dreadful likelihood, the emerging Washington consensus is an exercise in self-delusion unworthy of a 5-year-old. The almost consensus Washington argument assumes that if only we would formally talk with them, Iran and Syria would volunteer to pull our chestnuts out of the fire while we start removing troops from Iraq.

Such arguments exemplify the witticism that when ideas fail, words come in very handy. Iran has been our persistent enemy for 27 years -- Syria longer. They may well be glad to give us cover while we retreat, but that would merely be an exercise in slightly delayed gratification, not self-denial, let alone benignity. So long as Iran is ruled by its current radical Shi'a theocracy, she will be vigorously and violently undercutting any potentially positive, peaceful forces in the region -- and is already triggering a prolonged clash with the terrified Sunni nations. Our absence from the region will only make matters far worse.” Tony Blankley

This country, my country, the United States of America, can defeat any foe. We proved that in World War II and again during Desert Storm in 1991. In Korea and in Vietnam our military was placed under ‘politically correct’ constraints that prevented victory and got American soldiers killed; and now in Iraq the same thing seems to have been happening - from the early Fallujah battles to the withdrawal from Sadr City. Does any one doubt that we could wipe out these 10-12,000 terrorists and so-called ‘insurgents’ in Iraq in little more than a weekend if American military power were given free rein to destroy them as we did the Germans and the Japanese during World War II? Does anyone doubt that the application of Afghanistan type ‘shock and awe’ on a known stronghold of Shia murderers combined with similar strikes on their Sunni counterparts would bring this nonsense to a screeching halt? If we unleashed the power we have, the ultra-liberal peaceniks and peace-at-any-price cowards of Europe would not hate us any more than they do now, and the Iranians and the Syrians would do what they always do in the face of far superior firepower and the will to use it – capitulate.

Instead, because of our tip-toeing, I know we have to wait for an even greater calamity than 9/11 to happen before we stop the foolishness and get serious. Instead, I have to warn my loved ones to stay out of large crowds and large cities because I know in my bones the horror of what is going to happen here sometime soon.

Representative Rangel is being ridiculed for suggesting a draft, and I know his reasons have everything to do with politics and his is not a serious effort, but reinstating the draft is exactly what we need now, and some of his comments actually do make a lot of sense:

Why I want the draft (Excerpt)
Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006, New York Daily News

“The Bush administration, the Pentagon and some Republicans in Congress are considering deploying up to 20,000 more troops to Iraq, above the 141,000 already on the ground. Among the planners are Army Gen. John Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command, who has admitted the difficulty of finding additional combat troops for the war without expanding the size of the active-duty military.

If Abizaid is right, increasing troop strength will mean dipping further into the reserves and National Guard units, which are already carrying an unfair burden of multiple deployments. The overstretched active-duty Army is filling the ranks in Iraq with stop-loss orders and extended deployments, and even recalls of the Individual Ready Reserves, active-duty veterans who have time remaining on their military obligations.

These facts lead me to wonder how anyone who supports the war cannot support the military draft, especially when the growing burden on our uniformed troops is obvious, and the unfairness and absence of shared sacrifice in the population cannot be challenged.

If this war is the threat to our national security that the Bush administration insists it is, then the President should issue a call for all Americans to sacrifice for the nation's defense. If there must be a sacrifice, then the burden must be shared fairly.” Charles Rangel

November 23, 2006
Before - and After - Iraq
By Victor Davis Hanson (Excerpt)

“Taking out Saddam Hussein was not dreamed up - as is sometimes alleged - by sneaky supporters of Israel. Nor did oil-hungry CEOs or Halliburton puppeteers pull strings in the shadows to get us in. And the go-ahead wasn't given merely on the strength of trumped-up fears of weapons of mass destruction: The U.S. Congress authorized the war on 23 diverse counts, from Iraq's violation of the 1991 armistice to its record of giving both money and sanctuary to terrorists.

George W. Bush resolved to democratize Iraq also as a way to confront three grim facts of our recent past.

First, the United States had been far too friendly with atrocious regimes in the Middle East. And when bloodletting inevitably broke out, either internally or between aggressive regimes, too often we cynically played one side off the other. Or we backed repugnant insurgents, with little thought of the "blowback" that would result. We outsourced sophisticated arms and training to radical Islamists fighting against the Soviet-backed Afghan government. We hoped the murderous Saddam might check the murderous Iranian theocracy - and then again sold arms to the mullahs during the Iran-Contra affair.

We breezily called for an uprising of Shiites and Kurds only to abandon them to be slaughtered by Saddam after the first Gulf War. We cynically gave the Mubarak dynasty of Egypt billions in protection money to behave. While we thought we were achieving short-term expediency, American policy only increased long-term instability by not pressuring these tyrants to reform failed governments.

Second, at key moments in the 1980s and '90s, the United States signaled that it would appease its terrorist enemies rather than engage in the difficult work of uprooting them. We did little other than file an indictment or shoot a missile at the killers who murdered American citizens, diplomats and soldiers in East Africa, Lebanon, New York City, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Leaving Lebanon, scurrying out of Somalia, and continually flying through Saddam's skies for 12 long years without removing him only cemented the image of an uncertain America.

Third, September 11 changed the way the U.S. looked at the status quo in the Middle East. That attack was the work of terrorists who were enabled by our autocratic clients in the Middle East, and emboldened by our previous inaction. In response, Iraq was an effort to end both the cynical realism and the convenient appeasement of the past - and so to address the much larger problems of the Middle East that, if left alone, could lead to another large-scale terrorist attack in the United States.

Whatever one thinks of our mistakes after Saddam was toppled, those three facts remain central to American foreign policy. Saudi subsidies to jihadists, Pakistani sanctuary for them, and Egyptian propaganda are all symptoms of these dictatorships hedging their bets - hoping their bought terrorists don't turn on them for their own failures and illegitimacy.

Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri will still connive to bring the new caliphate to Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond. And they won't be stopped by either cruise missiles or court subpoenas, but only by a resolute United States and Middle Eastern societies that elect their own leaders and live with the results.

We can demonize President Bush and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld all we want, or wish they presented their views in a kindlier and more artful fashion. We can wish that the United States were better at training Iraqis and killing terrorists to secure Iraq. But the same general mess in the Middle East will still confront Bush's and Rumsfeld's successors.

And long after the present furor over Iraq dies down, the idea of trying to help democratic reformers fight terrorists, and to distance America from failed regimes that are antithetical to our values, simply will not go away.

That tough idealism will stay - because in the end it is the only right and smart thing to do.” Victor Davis Hanson


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At 5:31 AM, Blogger Shimmy said...

What time is it right now in Baghdad? Why haven't I seen Ngo Dinh Diem since Rumsfeld disappeared?

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: "Does any one doubt that we could wipe out these 10-12,000 terrorists and so-called ‘insurgents’ in Iraq in little more than a weekend if American military power were given free rein to destroy them as we did the Germans and the Japanese during World War II?" There is no doubt in my mind, Russ. All we have to do is convince them to organize in companies, battalions, regiments and armies and meet us in the open field. If they don't cooperate, we could secure the oil-production facilities and reduce the rest of the Middle East to a radioactive rubble. After the area cooled off, the successors to Haliburton could rebuild the area in our own image and populate it with cheneybush devotees.


At 6:51 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

Yeah, Dave, just like the terrorists in Afghanistan organized themselves - and at Fallujah and at Sadr City. You guys really have to get over your Haliburton and blood for oil complexes, start thinking straight and start supporting our efforts to defend ourselves.


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