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October 07, 2005

Say What?

Yesterday, the President said:

Some observers also claim that America would be better off by cutting our losses and leaving Iraq now. This is a dangerous illusion, refuted with a simple question: Would the United States and other free nations be more safe, or less safe, with Zarqawi and bin Laden in control of Iraq, its people, and its resources?

Today, Justin Logan answers:

Can the president point to one serious analyst who thinks - whether we leave next year or not - that there is a serious prospect of OBL and Zarqawi setting up a national government in Iraq?  I mean, seriously, if the above suggestion isn't intellectually insulting to you, you may want to get that checked out.
Moreover, if you want to be really Machiavellian, wouldn't it be better if you could make the terrorists think they had won, and that they could set up a central government?  And then, you know, bomb their first meeting of the minds into the stone age?  I mean, really, THAT'D be a flypaper strategy--get 'em all to congregate in one place and then introduce them to our little friend JDAM?

How do they let him say stuff like this?  It's embarrassing.

October 7, 2005 in Terrorism | Permalink


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I hate to be the one to break this to Mr. Logan, but there are several million people in this country who will not find this intellectually insulting. In fact, they will nod their heads and file this statement away to use whenever one of their misguided liberal acquaintances or family members starts viciously and without cause attacking Dear Leader and all the freedoms we enjoy because of people like Dear Leader.

If you don't believe me, try it with a wingnut friend and see what happens.

Posted by: Stephen | Oct 7, 2005 3:04:32 PM

Didn't we blow a big hole in some Baghdad residential neighborhood trying to introduce Saddam Hussein to Mr. JDAM? Not that this invalidates Justin Logan's other point.

Posted by: jackd | Oct 7, 2005 3:11:22 PM

I think a Zarqawi victory in Iraq is unlikely, if the U.S. were to pull out now, a more likely outcome would be a full scale civil war that ended in a seperate Kurdistan and an Islamic Republic of Iraq with strong ties to Iran.

However, the reason for leaving Iraq that I have seen from liberals is that we cannot win, we cannot defeat Zarqawi et. al and therefore we should leave.

Perhaps I am mistating this, but it is in general what I understand to be the argument.

IF the U.S. with it's Iraqi allies cannot defeat this insurgency, then it seems unlikely that the Iraqis themselves can defeat the insurgency. If the Iraqis themselves can't do it, then it stands to reason that the insurgency (of which Zarqawi is a major leader) would win. I don't see how you can say 'The U.S. and Iraq cannot win, while at the same time saying Zarqawi can't win against Iraq alone.'

I don't think a Zarqawi victory is likely, whether we go or stay, but I also don't think that it is unlikely that the U.S. and the Iraqi government will be able to defeat him.

Posted by: Dave Justus | Oct 7, 2005 3:33:54 PM

I think if we left the Iraqis might actually have a fighting chance. It's us staying there that continues to provoke these self-detonating nimrods.

Posted by: Andy | Oct 7, 2005 3:41:13 PM

Leave now, it will be civil war. Leave later, they will have civil war.

Posted by: sprocket | Oct 7, 2005 4:13:13 PM

Leave now, it will be civil war. Leave later, they will have civil war.

Shorter Sprocket: "Fuck it"

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 7, 2005 4:44:04 PM

Hey, Fred - did you read the link? It is an article written by Gen. William E. Odom, the head of the National Security Agency during the Reagan administration. His position is that staying in Iraq only delays what is going to happen eventually. It is very interesting. Interesting to those of us who actually care about the situation, that is.

Posted by: sprocket | Oct 7, 2005 5:41:38 PM

Continued U.S. occupation guarantees that no Iraqi government will be viewed as legitimate by large swaths of the Iraqi people. If we left, there's a better than even chance that support for the insurgency would dry up: not completely, but significantly. Since the U.S. can't do anything except fuel the insurgency and continue to torture and kill Iraqis by the thousands, departure is the best bet.

Posted by: Matt_C | Oct 7, 2005 8:19:36 PM

"IF the U.S. with it's Iraqi allies cannot defeat this insurgency, then it seems unlikely that the Iraqis themselves can defeat the insurgency."

You assume what needs to be proved: that the US presence itself is not the main fuel of the insurgency. Bin Laden's stated goal was to remove the US military from Saudi Arabia. And the sickest result of the whole war on Iraq is that he succeeded in that goal, we traded twenty years of having secure bases in a country where GI's were not being blown up daily for a hellish counter-insurgency operation where people are getting killed every day.

You can argue that the US needs a serious military footprint in the Mid-East. I don't particularly agree, but there is a legitimate argument to be had. But anyone who suggests we made a great deal in trading Prince Sultan Airbase for the Green Zone and Baghdad International is an idiot.

There is a bland assumption among the "stay the course" crowd that American military presence is a net positive for Iraqi security. That our policy of blowing the shit out of anyone who comes within 200 yards of a US military convoy is for the Iraqis' own good. That giving civilian contractors the right to kill at will and simultaneously argue that they are not subject to either US or Iraqi law is somehow a net benefit to Iraq.

A lot of people are still working within a framework of assumptions that were formed when most people accepted that Saddam and Iraq were connected with 9/11. Actions that were regretable were excused within the context that we could not risk another attack. But now that the mission has shifted to "democracy building" you have to wonder whether our current kill before you get killed tactics are actually achieving our ostensible goal.

Would less Iraqis be getting killed on a daily basis if we withdrew tomorrow? Well we could argue the point. But a lot of people are just assuming that the opposite is true and blaming people like me for dooming the Iraqis to a horrible civil war. But where's your proof?

Posted by: Bruce Webb | Oct 8, 2005 10:41:36 AM

Were Zarqawi and Bin Laden about to gain "control of Iraq, its people, and its resources" before we invaded Iraq?

Posted by: OxyConservative | Oct 8, 2005 3:33:11 PM

The U.S. left Afghanistan pretty much to it's own devices after the Soviet withdrawal, something that is now widely seen as a mistake and which allowed the Taliban (and Al-Qaida) to gain control of that country.

So the idea that only when America is in a country is it in danger from insurgents/radical islamists seems weak to me.

It also seems that the 'civil war is inevitible' arguement hangs on the notion that Iraqis as a group fundamentally lack the ability to form a government where differences are worked at politcally and minority rights are protects. I certainly agree that such a thing will be difficult, but I certainly think it is possible.

It is also surprising to me about how blase people are about the Iraqi peoples ability to make choices themselves. Most Iraqis (from the polls I have seen) don't want a permantent occupation, but don't want American troops to leave yet either. Most do regard their government as 'legitimate' and most want a democratic Iraq.

Posted by: Dave Justus | Oct 9, 2005 1:48:56 PM

Thank you, Justus.

I don't know how people can imagine that a full-on collapse of the Iraqi government would not be a bad thing, regardless of who instigates it. So long as our presence stands in the way of such a collapse, and so long as our presence makes such a collapse less likely over time, we have a moral obligation to remain until we reach the point of diminishing returns.

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