Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Lieberman on Iraq

The conclusion:

In Iraq today we have a responsibility to do what is strategically and morally right for our nation over the long term -- not what appears easier in the short term. The daily scenes of death and destruction are heartbreaking and infuriating. But there is no better strategic and moral alternative for America than standing with the moderate Iraqis until the country is stable and they can take over their security. Rather than engaging in hand-wringing, carping or calls for withdrawal, we must summon the vision, will and courage to take the difficult and decisive steps needed for success and, yes, victory in Iraq. That will greatly advance the cause of moderation and freedom throughout the Middle East and protect our security at home.

Read the whole thing.


Discussions - 14 Comments

Link? Or are we on our own in the finding.

Oversight remedied.

Thank you, Joe.

Yes, he’s right, the problem IS that basic security is not in place. I thought that David Tucker pointed out herelast week was that we were not going to be able to provide basic security, because we could not possibly provide enough troops. No one was arguing that this: a premature U.S. exit from Iraq would be a victory for Iran and the groups it is supporting in the region. Meanwhile, the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have bravely stood with us in the hope of a democratic future would face the killing fields. would not be true. It is horrible. The only issue in dispute is whether a peaceful end is winnable by the U.S. at all, ever, no matter how long we stay, or how nobly our military comports itself.

Maybe Leiberman is right, and if there is to be a troop surge in Iraq, I do hope so. I have doubt about America in this, that we must summon the vision, will and courage to take the difficult and decisive steps needed for success and, yes, victory in Iraq. I mean, we must, but will we, or even we can, will that be enough?

Still Saddam is executed today, and it’s about time.

In the wake of Sen. Lieberman’s magnificent comments, why hasn’t Lawler added him to the list of darkhorse *Republican* candidates for Prez?? :-) Too much eggnog, Peter?

Gary, It’s because you wouldn’t be for him! He’s a Democrat on everything but the Iraq war. And let’s face it: A platform of victory in Iraq is not going to win in 2008. I’m going to say here below the radar that nobody has presented a convincing strategy, in my view, for achieving that victory at this point. In retrospect, we should have gone in there as a colonial power perfectly aware that we had not defeated the Sunnis/Sadam on the battlefield--we had not killed them and they had not surrendered. Somebody should have known that we would likely face an insurgency, and that the Iranians would be all for it. If security had been our chief and virtually only goal from the beginning, maybe we could have succeeded. But real security now--especially with Iran dominant in a third of the country and religious passions completely unleashed--how? And I’m not at all sure that our military could really sustain an 18 month build up or surge at that point; it is in many ways near the breaking point already. You might accuse me of not having a plan, and you’d be right.

I do not agree with Peter that"Somebody should have known that we would likely face an insurgency...". Several (mainly military) people warned the Administration at the time that significant forces would be needed to maintain control after victory. General Shinseki,the (then) Army Chief of Staff was one of them. He was "allowed to retire" by Rumsfeld. I do agee that attaining our (original) objective is problematic at this point. The Shiites are not going to share power, and resources, with the Kurds and the Sunnis. They are perfectly content to allow us to do the dying for their cause for a little while longer, before they force us out. Better to face reality and salvage whatever control and credibilty we have left by supporting the relatively stable Kurds (and their oil) and allow the Shiites and Sunnis to settle their differences in the streets, which we don’t seem to be able to stop, even with 140.000 troops. Of course, backing the Kurds will present a whole new set of problems in the future (an independent Kurdestan at the expense of Turkey and Iran). But at least we are buying some time for coming up with a realistic strategy to deal with those problems.

Peter: You’re right: I wouldn’t "be for" Lieberman. But I applaud the insight and courage of his Iraq statement. A man whom I consider to be wise said to me a few weeks ago that we "have to win" the war against Islamofascism. The alternative is too bleak to contemplate. But is Iraq really where that essential war is being fought? Or was the President flatly wrong about that key contention? It may be that a critical, secondary goal is being played out in Iraq today. That is whether America has the will to see things through. Not, I’ll admit, the best reason to be risking American lives, but *perhaps* essential given the larger struggle for Western civilization.
And I’m ALWAYS happy to be a catalyst for disagreement between JK and you, Peter. Rare and lively. Now to get Schramm to link to a LOT more poetry in ’07!
Happy New Year to you and yours.

gary, I’m not sure who JK the Elder is. But we really don’t disagree that much. I’ll revise my statement to say something in charge should have believed those astute it enough to know what we would face.

JK the elder would be my dear old dad.

Joe the Elder, Sorry for the quick and incoherent response and First, I agree with war was waged with a combination of flaky optimism about liberty and willful blindness to what it would really take to secure the country over the long term. I also agree with you that it’s unclear what winning in Iraq would mean now. And certainly it’s tempting to say that everyone but the Kurds richly deserves to be abandoned to their own devices. But the problem is Iran. The war, thanks to us, is now less against amorphous Islmaofascism and more against Iran. There seems to be an amerging regional Shiite empire stretching from southern Lebanon to Iran itself. Abandoning Iraq, the danger is, might well be surrendering Iraq or much of Iraq to Iran. So we appear to be stuck with a holding action in a place that’s slipping away from us, and I’m not at all sure that the surge would either be sustainable or really address the basic problem. Again, I have no plan. We need a plan that will inevitably be very disappoining in its modest goals and attractive only in comparison to bleaker alternatives. It goes without saying that the Democatic leadership is clueless. Lieberman and McCain are more noble, but...We’ve achieved some regime change, but not the kind we hoped for...

Peter, you are absolutely correct in your comment about the Shiite empire. What is worse: we have alienated the Sunni countries of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, countries which, although not staunch allies, we could rely on to front for us in the area. Ironically, the President’s goal of "democratization" of the area has been reversed and that is an absolute tragedy. I do not believe that we have the policy and the people, including in the military, to carry out a winning strategy. I have long resisted comparing Iraq to Vietnam,where I was personally involved, but I’m beginning to see many similarities, especially at the policy level. When a country resorts to war to reach its objectives which were unattainable through diplomacy, it must resolve to WIN that war, even it means killing a lot of people. We have not done that. One eample, and there are many,: Mr Sadr and his thugs. Allowing him to continue his evil deeds, he now carries out the ethnic cleansing (where have we heard that term before?), and in the process props up the Shiite power structure in parliament and the Prime Minister’s office. When we have to ask the PM’s permission to carry out military strikes, other than against the Sunnis, we have become the PM’s mercenaries and for that we should not be sacrificing this country’ finest! I’ll leave you with a final thought of an old soldier: If we had fought WWII the way we have been fighting in Vietnam and Iraq, I would still live in german-occupied Holland.

Old Joe, What you’re really saying is that our current Iraq strategy is so screwed up that it’s not realistic to believe it will suddenly get fixed now. And now may be too late anyway...Whatever the prez does now he can’t do without some Democratic support. His credibility level is as low as low can be.

Amen, Peter!

Peter, what I really meant to say: Unless we change our policy and decide to fight this war the way wars are supposed to be fought and remove all restraints placed on the military, we will not win. The question is: are we ready to take on the Shiites and their PM, al Maliki? From all indications I must reluctantly conclude that I doubt that very much!

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