The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


In a response to the The Belmont Club’s outstanding analysis of the current political situation in Irag, an insightful comment by “2164th” is worth considering. In his comment, 2164th argues that the Iraq situation can no longer be solved militarily. Instead he suggests that there are fundamental political problems that are not easily solved:

1. The Problem of Timing. The US public has a difficult time supporting a long military process it does not understand. Iraq has a difficult time supporting anything that has not proved itself with a lot of time. There is not enough time to keep America engaged and not enough time to convince Iraq that America will stay.

In addition, it’s reasonable to argue that the MSM never takes the long view, demanding instantaneous results, and worse, ignoring facts and events that don’t fit into their collective view of the rightness or wrongness of OIF. For this reason, the vast majority of the American populace has a warped view of the situation in Iraq and (as polls show) want to be done with it.

2. Credibility. The US public supported the defeat of the Nazis. It supported the Cold War for over forty years. It did so because Churchill and Roosevelt were articulate and ruthless in the definition of the enemy. There was no nonsense about Nazism being a "hijacked peaceful political system." Bush had been a catastrophic failure at defining the enemy and the objective in a credible and honest fashion. Does anyone in the Belmont Club believe " Islam is a peaceful religion?" Neither do the American people. They know it is BS and they wonder what else is. Listen to the speeches of Churchill and Roosevelt. They believed what they said and could articulate what they thought. Bush has not served his own cause.

I’ve always believed that the majority of American people like straight talk. If our foes are fascist barbarians, say so. More importantly, connect the dots … for starters, tell the American people how Islamofascists came to power, what mistakes we made along the way, why they stay in power, who supports them, why “moderate” Islam is so weak and ineffective in “saving” their religion, what might happen to our children and grandchildren if we don’t succeed in changing the political dynamic in the ME and defeating Islamofascism.

3. Value of The Mission. If the Iraqis will not stand up and fight their own fight, one has to ask what do they believe in? Should Americans be more willing to fight and die and pay for something that the Iraqis will not? The majority of Americans have come to the conclusion that the fight and even a win are not worth it. Is the mission understandable and is it worth it? The majority thinks not.

Although I understand 2164th’s position, I do believe that Iraqis are fighting for their country. The problem, I think, is that there are multiple factions, multiple agendas within each faction, and a culture that would prefer to negotiate endlessly, rather than establish solid agreements and move forward. That’s the curse of doing business in the ME.

4. Changing Events and Priorities. Many Americans have become convinced there are other countries and threats to US interest as important or more so than Iraq. They include:

a. A nuclear Iran.
b. Out of control illegal immigration.
c. Chinese expansion.
d. Putin and a resurgent Russian Empire.
e. Pakistan and unrest in the western tribal areas.
f. Afghanistan and problems with narco-terrorism
and a resurgent Taliban.
g. The failure to catch OBL.
h. A nuclear North Korea.
i. US dependence on foreign oil.

Items (a) through (i) are all legitimate concerns, but in many ways, they are all part of a web that includes Iraq.

There’s little doubt that we’ve made serious tactical mistakes during the initial phases of the war, in fighting the “insurgency,” and in managing the nascent Iraqi political process. But an even greater mistake would be to lose our political will. The message that that would deliver to Iran, the Taliban, Pakistan, the Russians, the Chinese, and the North Koreans would be catastrophic.