Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What if Iraq Stabilizes?

At TNR's election blog, The Stump, Mike Crowley asks whether Democrats running for President are prepared for the possibility that the surge is working and that Iraq may be stabilizing. Recent news reports have shown that electricity service is up to pre-war levels and that Iraqi civilian casualties and American casualties are both down significantly.

In an exchange of comments with a friend there, he argued that:
Ethnic (sectarian, actually) cleansing or not, fewer Iraqis are turning up dead, and some are starting trickle back home. Why isn't this good news to be celebrated. Oh, right, because W is still President, and that genius Reid has assured us that the war is "lost."

My response is attached below. I include it here because I think I captured pretty well my own reasoning in support of getting out now, and my own reason - aside from blind W hatred - for seeing the surge as a meaningless stall tactic. It seems to me that we are asking soldiers and marines to die for nothing and that is simply disloyal, immoral, and self-destructive.

What exactly is your plan? Hope for the best? Wait and see?

Let's put the best face on the situation in Iraq and see where that leads.

Petraeus has already told Congress he is pulling down his troop strength by 30,000 over the next two months, right? And Mahdi Army leader Al-Sadr has declared a cease fire that will end by January 29, as I recall. I also recall that numerous statements from within the Army's senior officers have suggested that more significant troop reductions will have to occur after April 2008 due to troop rotation considerations.

Let's assume that all of these factors, which could bode ill for the security you wish to celebrate, instead have no negative effect. Let's even assume that conditions improve slightly - more electricity, fewer Iraqi casualties,fewer American casualties.

It all sounds unbelievable, but let's go there anyway.

To make things even less credible, but rosier still, let's assume that Turkey does not invade Iraqi Kurdistan.

Even given all of that bullshit, what have you got to show for our efforts? An Iranian Shiite outpost in Mesopotamia, a disempowered and pissed-off Sunni minority with allies in Saudi Arabia and across the Islamic world, and the legacy of 6 years of criminality, sectarian cleansing and armed conflict - and a disreputable government that does not command the loyalty of its security forces and cannot rule without the US military to support it.

Harry Reid is no genius, but what part of this looks like victory to you?

If we dare to call it victory, and pull ourselves out of this fragile mess, the house of cards will collapse. Sunnis will have to rejoin their former Al Qaeda allies to fight the Shia militia. Tribal warlords will replace the present government, Iran will move even more boldly into the South and East, and the Turks will soon move in, in force, to protect their interests in the North. Even if the surge is brilliant, you and the other diehards will find a reason we can't leave -- and you'll be right because the surge will not have changed anything.

The only thing worth celebrating is the day when no more Americans will be fighting and dying in that hell-hole -- the difference is I would like to bring that celebration home tomorrow, whereas you are willing to wait till 2009. In my view all that delay does is save face for W, which is just not worth the life of one American soldier or marine, in my book -- and is certainly not something I would celebrate.

I am resigned to wait till 2009, but let's be clear. Celebrating the surge is like celebrating that one inning in Game 3 where the Rockies almost tied the score. Go ahead and celebrate butchie, but all I see is five years of an immoral and tragic waste of American and Iraqi lives. If your surge brings that to an end sooner, I'm all for it. But it sure looks like bullshit to me.

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