Sunday, March 04, 2007

In Support of the Bush - Petraeus Strategy in Iraq

Is it possible to simultaneously support the Bush - Petraeus military strategy in Iraq and yet oppose the President and his previous misadventures in Iraq? The answer is not only that we can, but that we MUST.
Lieberman by David Gothard from the Wall Street Journal
I'm sick and tired of the left - right, black - white, red state - blue state approach to virtually all issues by politicians, the press, commentators and many bloggers. This simplistic attitude solves nothing, inflames tempers and completely ignores reality.

It's all posturing, positioning for the cameras, gearing up for the sound bite.

We are at a fork in the road in Iraq. We can either withdraw our troops in a rapid, yet orderly fashion and leave the outcome of our gross misadventure in Iraq to the Iraqi's and the regional interests in Iran, Syria, Turkey and other middle eastern parties (including al-Qaeda), or we can stay and strongly support the current, flawed, Iraqi government we established.

Those are the only two options on the table today for Iraq. Chose one. There simply isn't a path down the middle.

President Bush and General Petraeus have been clear and articulate in outlining their plan.

But there is an viable alternative outlined and supported by a very few brave Democrats. Senator Barack Obama "may" be a supporter of this option, but he is elusive and a little unclear. Still, if Obama gets strongly on board and galvanizes the support of the American people (most of whom what us out), this might become a realistic option.

When and if the "Obama" strategy crystalizes and becomes coherent and/or when and if Obama himself is elected President and becomes Commander and Chief we must all reassess our positions. We can change our minds as the facts and options change.

But the current opposition strategy of Senator Reid and the wishy-washy, poll driven, meaningless resolution debating, endless subpoenaing, waffling, wimpy Democrats isn't an option at all.

It's not even as viable as John Murtha's "slow bleed" strategy. At least in "slow bleed" the injured party eventually dies or is forced off to the hospital.

No, I'd call the current Democrat opposition strategy "talking it to death."

This doesn't mean you can't condemn (or even impeach) President Bush for leading us into this quagmire. And this doesn't mean we can't hold George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld responsible for implementing one of the worst military strategies in American history.

It's valuable to look back. But we must look realistically at the situation on the ground today. And we must deal with it.

The Democrat approach is akin to looking at a bus accident and trying to assess blame rather than sending in ambulances to save the injured passengers. Or, to be more blunt, the current Democrat strategy is like the Bush approach to Hurricane Katrina. Issue a lot of "atta boys" without actually doing a damned thing.

I find Senator Joe Lieberman's rationale for supporting President Bush's and General David Petraeus' "surge" strategy for Iraq compelling and reasonable in a world where most other politicians and pundits demand a black - white response to anything Bush.

Here is the link to Lieberman's article
The Choice in Iraq in the Wall Street Journal, but you must be a WSJ on-line subscriber to read it. Below is an abridged version. The words are all Lieberman's but the emphasis is mine.

What is remarkable about this state of affairs in Washington is just how removed it is from what is actually happening in Iraq. There, the battle of Baghdad is now under way. A new commander, Gen. David Petraeus, has taken command, having been confirmed by the Senate, 81-0, just a few weeks ago. And a new strategy is being put into action, with thousands of additional American soldiers streaming into the Iraqi capital.

Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq -- or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?

If we stopped the legislative maneuvering and looked to Baghdad, we would see what the new security strategy actually entails and how dramatically it differs from previous efforts. For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is not just training indigenous forces or chasing down insurgents, but ensuring basic security -- meaning an end, at last, to the large-scale sectarian slaughter and ethnic cleansing that has paralyzed Iraq for the past year.

Tamping down this violence is more than a moral imperative. Al Qaeda's stated strategy in Iraq has been to provoke a Sunni-Shiite civil war, precisely because they recognize that it is their best chance to radicalize the country's politics, derail any hope of democracy in the Middle East, and drive the U.S. to despair and retreat. It also takes advantage of what has been the single greatest American weakness in Iraq: the absence of sufficient troops to protect ordinary Iraqis from violence and terrorism.

....the fact is that we are in a different place in Iraq today from even just a month ago -- with a new strategy, a new commander, and more troops on the ground. We are now in a stronger position to ensure basic security -- and with that, we are in a stronger position to marginalize the extremists and strengthen the moderates; a stronger position to foster the economic activity that will drain the insurgency and militias of public support; and a stronger position to press the Iraqi government to make the tough decisions that everyone acknowledges are necessary for progress.

Unfortunately, for many congressional opponents of the war, none of this seems to matter. As the battle of Baghdad just gets underway, they have already made up their minds about America's cause in Iraq, declaring their intention to put an end to the mission before we have had the time to see whether our new plan will work.

There is of course a direct and straightforward way that Congress could end the war, consistent with its authority under the Constitution: by cutting off funds. Yet this option is not being proposed. Critics of the war instead are planning to constrain and squeeze the current strategy and troops by a thousand cuts and conditions.

I understand the frustration, anger and exhaustion so many Americans feel about Iraq, the desire to throw up our hands and simply say, "Enough." And I am painfully aware of the enormous toll of this war in human life, and of the infuriating mistakes that have been made in the war's conduct.

But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake -- assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.

I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next. Instead of undermining Gen. Petraeus before he has been in Iraq for even a month, let us give him and his troops the time and support they need to succeed.

Update! Check out this summary of NEWS STORIES compiled by Bruce over at The Gay Patriot:
Good News From Iraqi Theater in WWIII

Previous Related Wizard Articles:
The Road Not Taken
We See What We Want to See, We Hear What We Want to Hear
The Failure to Plan for Iraq After Saddam's Fall
Save the Cheerleader... Part Duex
Binary Choices





Vigilante said...

Lieberman asks the pivotal question:

"What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?"

In order to answer that, one must ask which capital spawned the world's latest case of unprovoked international aggression, Baghdad or Washington DC?

If you believe that it was Baghdad, then you obviously believe in supporting the 'battle for Baghdad'. Lieberman has made it clear that that's what he has always believed.

Those who disagree with him, think the battle for Washington DC is critical.

the WIZARD, fkap said...

I clearly believe that both battles are important. And we should fight both battles with equal intelligence and determination.

But we SHOULD NOT try to fight the Washington battle by using Bagdad and the Iraqi people (and, coincidentally, our soldiers) as pawns in the battle of D.C.

When, and if, Congress is ready to end the Iraqi misadventure and bring home the troops, we should do so.

But, until that day, we should listen to and follow the guidance of General Petraeus.

Vigilante said...

So, Wizard, if we win the 'battle of Baghdad' in six months - an implausible prospect - what can you say to me to assure that we will next take up the 'battle of Washington' and not the 'Battle of Tehran'?

the WIZARD, fkap said...

vigilante, What I am saying is MUCH MORE IMMEDIATE!

We should all be engaged in the battle of Washington TODAY.

Unlike the U.S. military whose numbers are stretched far too thin, there is NOTHING to prevent us from massing in force to take on the Bush administration.

I'm saying we should NOT confuse the two battles and allow the troops or the people in Iraq to be the casualities in our zeal to set things right in D.C.

We can and we must do both.

We need a real leader, but I'll be writing more about that later.....

Vigilante said...

Wizard, according to the most recent poll, Only 28% think U.S. will win in Iraq. Juan Williams suggest that the 28% tell the rest of us what "winning" in Iraq would even look like.

I can tell you what winning the 'Battle of Washington' would look like.

the WIZARD, fkap said...

Reports continue to indicate that David Patraeus strategy is showing early signs of progress in the "Battle of Bagdad."

Harry Reid's strategy continues to be a near total failure.

I think the "Battle of Washington, D.C." needs a new General.

Vigilante said...

I think your grasping for thin straws, Wizard. Here's my final offer. Your surge is non sustainable.

the WIZARD, fkap said...

vigilante, I believe your thinking is entirely too one dimensional.

You simply cannot comprehend fighting the war on two fronts.

ONE Find the political support and the real leadership necessary to fight and win the Washington DC battle. I like your proposal over at The Daily Kos.

TWO Support the General the Senate appointed 81 to 0 (not one single Democrat opposed the Petraeus appointment) until such time as we remove (by impeachment or election) the current Commander and Chief.

Frankly, any other strategy than two pronged strategy I've outlined above and in my original post is doomed to total failure.

We cannot EVER GATHER PUBLIC or POLITICAL support if we insist that the only way we take on the President is by aiming our weapons at General Petraeus and the troops.

It is exactly this one dimensional thinking that has Harry Reid in a box from which he cannot ever escape.

It is this one dimensional thinking that is keeping George Bush in power.

Vigilante said...

There's nothing wrong with General Petraeus. The problem is with his C.I.C.

In the 1930's the 'good German' supported his country, right or wrong. Now, you want us to support the world's greatest (contemporary) war criminal in his occupation of Iraq. You are just a Weimar Republican.

And I had such great hopes for you.