Thursday, August 17, 2006

Not seeing the forest for the trees.........

Busy time here in Korea. Plus I'm in a real funk. Things are not working out on the project the way they should be. And I have 3 + weeks to go. Its more than the project, its life in general. I get up in the AM and go do what I need to do.

Plus I have been reading a lot. I am amazed at the way the debate about Iraq is devolving. Its all about American partisan politics. Iraq is about sacrifice, both by Americans and Iraqis. On the one side are those who believe that any negative ideas about Iraq are somehow unpatriotic. On the other side are the those who want to throw in the towel without understanding that you can't just walk away from an adventure that you created. The Democrats have made this about beating Bush, which is an acceptable goal, but not the reason to make a foreign policy decision.

Tom Friedman, who had clung to support for the war long after it stopped being fashionable, puts the dilemna well:

What should really worry the country is not whether the Democrats are being dragged to the left by antiwar activists who haven't thought a whit about the larger struggle we're in. What should worry the country is that the Bush team and the Republican Party, which control all the levers of power and claim to have thought only about this larger struggle, are in total denial about where their strategy has led.

Besides a few mavericks like Chuck Hagel and John McCain on Iraq and Dick Lugar and George Shultz on energy, how many Republicans have stood up and questioned the decision-making that has turned the Iraq war into a fiasco? Had more of them done so, instead of just mindlessly applauding the administration, the White House might have changed course when it had a chance.

Not only is there no honest self-criticism among Republicans, but - and this is truly contemptible - you have Dick Cheney & Friends focusing their public remarks on why Mr. Lamont's defeat of Mr. Lieberman only proves that Democrats do not understand that we are in a titanic struggle with 'Islamic fascists' and are therefore unfit to lead.

Oh, really? Well, I just have one question for Mr. Cheney: If we're in such a titanic struggle with radical Islam, and if getting Iraq right is at the center of that struggle, why did you 'tough guys'
fight the Iraq war with the Rumsfeld Doctrine - just enough troops to lose - and not the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force to create the necessary foundation of any democracy-building project, which is security? How could you send so few troops to fight such an important war when it was obvious that without security Iraqis would fall back on their tribal militias?

As I pointed out a year ago the public's patience is only so finite. They are willing to stick with it if they can see some tangible benefit. However people getting killed for something that folks do not see as defending the heartland, is going to make sure that the public gets alienated faster. We have no way forward but yet we are supposed to just stay the course.To hell with that. Either quit the field or go in and crush the little bastards. If that involves putting 500,000 troops over there and having Dresden style raids on all the major Iraqi cities, then so be it. Just bring the damn thing to some kind of conclusion.

Because right now:

Friends, we are on a losing trajectory in Iraq, and, as the latest London plot underscores, the wider war with radical Islam is only getting wider. We need to reassess everything we are doing in this 'war on terrorism' and figure out what is worth continuing, what needs changing and what
sacrifice we need to demand from every American to match our means with our ends. Yes, the Democrats could help by presenting a serious alternative. But unless the party in power for the next two and half years shakes free of its denial, we are in really, really big trouble.

What Mr Friedman said.............


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