Friday, August 19, 2005

Getting out 

In her demand for real answers, Cindy may also have inspired a new focus on realism about Iraq -- as shown by these two major posts today.
This is why I read Eschaton:
. . .conventional wisdom of 'liberal hawks' and 'liberal not hawks' regarding Iraq is basically about the same. We need to get out. The latter emphasize the importance of 'getting out now' while the former epmhasize 'getting out as soon as we can subject to things being better in some undefined way,' but the positions aren't really so different. The 'hawks' are just more wedded to the idea that we have to be able to 'declare victory' while the 'not hawks' think that little chest beating is not actually all that important. But, none of these people are George W. Bush. As we know, but no one talks about, we have no intention of getting out now or ever . . . .It's time for the Biden Democrats, in one of the infinite Sunday show appearances, to raise the issue of the administration's long term intentions in Iraq. If the stubborn George W. Bush intends to leave troops in that country forever, then no talk of getting out, either on a rigid or flexible timetable, is relevant.
And this is why I read Kevin Drum:
. . . they [he's talking about some liberal hawks], and many people like them, keep telling us that we need to stay in Iraq even though they seemingly agree that no one has a credible plan for accomplishing our goals there. This doesn't make any sense. Either you believe that there's a way we can win in Iraq — a real way that involves the leadership of George Bush and his staff, not some fantasy scenario in which he suddenly turns into the reincarnation of FDR — or you don't. And the only reason to stay in Iraq is if you think we can win . . . no one, neither Democrat nor Republican, has presented a convincing plan for winning in Iraq under the present circumstances. The insurgency is not going to give up, the Army doesn't seem to have any kind of consistent commitment to using counterinsurgency techniques against it, we don't know for sure that they'd work anyway, and let's face it: the track record of major powers beating large-scale overseas insurgencies is close to zero in the past half century. So what's the plan? I happen to think a timed withdrawal is probably the best bet left to us, although I admit that I suspect Iraq is going to end up in chaos no matter what we do. That would be a disaster, but if we can't stop it anyway there's no point in making things worse by staying. For now, that's pretty much where I'm at, and anyone who disagrees really needs to give the chin scratching a rest and tell us clearly and concisely what they'd do differently to turn the tide in this war. Time has run out.

I cannot tell you the number of useless, pointless articles and editorials I have read in the last three years which went on and on about how, if Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney would only do W, X,Y and Z in Iraq, then everything would work out just fine.
The trouble was, the W,X,Y, and Z solutions always involved things that nobody in the Bush administration had any intention of doing -- like turning the occupation over to the UN or solving the Israeli/Palestine problem or letting the Iraq government decide for themselves whether they wanted American troops to stay or not. It was great today to see both Atrios and Drum demand that people start demanding real answers -- and from the Bush administration, not from the Senate minority leadership and Michael Moore.

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