Ever since the Iraq Study Group came out with its 79 recommendations for a shift in US policy in Iraq, the Republicans have been bickering with one another! I guess they took lessons from the Democrats on public bickering.
Personally- I hope that the President follows the recommendations of the Baker Hamilton group. They are logical and seem to lead to a scenario that is not necessarily complete disaster. But many of the neo-conservatives and hawks like Senator John McCain say that this will not lead to victory in Iraq. The tasteless New York Post created a tacky front page with Secretary Baker’s and Congressman Hamilton’s heads superimposed on monkey bodies and captioning the two chairmen of the Iraq Study Group as “Surrender Monkeys”.
So here’s the question to the neo-cons and the hawks- What does victory mean?
Iraq is a disaster. It is a Civil War slipping to chaos. What is their to salvage? At the very least we can leave with a little grace and dignity and attempt to give some support to the Iraqis without a never-ending commitment that will continue to allow the Iraqis to shirk responsibility for developing their own security.
Of course we are to blame for their lack of security. We completely obliterated their security infrastructure rather than re-tooling it. We invaded the country without any sense of what would happen afterwards. Does the US bear guilt here – yes. But there needs to be a point where we say we cannot do anymore. But let’s go back to the question: What is victory? I do not think that there is any such thing as victory in this situation and that using the term is political bluster at best and dull headed arrogance at worst. McCain says we need to add troops. I ask: From where? Our military is stretched to the limit. But even if we did have the necessary resources to add more troops- it doesn’t seem that it would work. We have increased troop levels in the past- and guess what folk?- we are where we are so it didn’t work!
Of course the neo-cons nearly had collective heart failure at the idea of “talking” to Iran and Syria! It seems to me that I remember that diplomacy means talking to your foes- not just your friends. There are ways to have conversations with those that we do not trust and with whom we have some deep seated problems on areas where we might all agree on a mutually productive end. Iran and Syria have little interest in seeing Iraq completely disintegrate. Without engaging the whole region the region could easily slip into a regional conflict. Hey Neo-Cons – a regional conflict would have a devastating effect on OIL!
The pipedream that there is still a hope of a democracy in Iraq makes want to cry and laugh alternatively. If I hear one more time that because there were purple fingers wagging in the Baghdad breeze that there is still hope for a democracy I think I’ll scream.
As much as it warms the cockles of my heart to see the Republicans squabbling, this should be a no brainer. Adopt the principles of the Iraq Study Group and let’s get the hell out of there. There is no victory to be had in this unmitigated disaster.