Saturday, September 09, 2006

The problem with our Iraqi policy is not the fringes but the center

Is the war in Iraq worth winning or not? To hear what the Bush administration says, there is no question we must and will win. To see what the Bush administration does there is every reason to conclude they do not believe their own rhetoric and the situation is spinning out of control making the region and the world a more dangerous place to live while our armed forces are being slowly bled to death.

The insinuation in much of the speeches from administration officials these days suggests critics of the war are appeasers and are somehow undercutting the war effort. The problem with this line of reasoning is there is no anti-war movement in this country to speak of and the opposition party in Congress is in the minority. This administration has gotten everything it has asked for to fight this war from Congress and the public. The current policy is based upon wishful thinking. The problem is with the people who created the policy and the people who are executing the policy. Contrary to what they say, they act like they don’t care if they win or not.

Thomas Friedman, in yesterday’s New York Times, sums it up nicely:
… We are stalled in Iraq not because of something some fringe antiwar
critics said, or did, but because of how the Bush team, the center of U.S.
policy, approached Iraq from the start. While it told the public — correctly, in
my view — that building one example of a tolerant, pluralistic, democratizing
society in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world was really important in the
broader war of ideas against violent radical Islam, the administration acted as
though this would be easy and sacrifice-free.

Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld told us we are in the fight of our lives
against a new Islamic fascism, and let’s have an unprecedented wartime tax cut
and shrink our armed forces. They told us we are in the fight of our lives
against a new Islamic fascism, but let’s send just enough troops to topple
Saddam — and never control Iraq’s borders, its ammo dumps or its looters. They
told us we are in the fight of our lives against a new Islamic fascism, but
rather than bring Democrats and Republicans together in a national unity war
coalition, let’s use the war as a wedge issue to embarrass Democrats, frighten
voters and win elections. They told us we are in the fight of our lives against
a new Islamic fascism — which is financed by our own oil purchases — but let’s
not do one serious thing about ending our oil addiction.

Donald Rumsfeld demonizes war critics as “morally confused.” But it
is the “moral confusion” at the heart of the Bush policy — a confusion between
its important ends and insufficient means — that has hobbled us from the start.
It truly, truly baffles me why a president who bet so much of his legacy on this
project never gave it his best shot and tolerated so much incompetence. He
summoned us to D-Day and gave us the moral equivalent of the invasion of


fausto said...

I was going to post the same thing over on my blog, but you beat me to it!

Bill Baar said...

Only a moderate Islam can defeat radical Islam.

In Iraq, we allied ourselves with moderate Shia, Sunni Kurds, secular Arabs, and others with a a commitment to Democracy and Pluralism.

It's really the only strategy for dealing with what's happening in the Islamic world short of anniliating them which is where I fear Kerry's war-of-last-resort doctrine would have gotten us.

Bush has restated it again in Atlanta,

"I would remind the critics of the freedom agenda that the policy prior to September 11th was stability for the sake of stability: Let us not worry about the form of government. Let us simply worry about whether or not the world appears stable, whether or not we achieve short-term geopolitical gain," he says. "And it looked like that policy was working, and, frankly, it made some sense when it came to dealing with the Middle East vis-à-vis the Communists.

"The problem with that philosophy, or that foreign policy, was that beneath the surface boiled resentment and hatred, and that resentment and hatred helped fuel this radical Islam, and the radical Islam is what ended up causing the attacks that killed 3,000 of our citizens. So I vowed, and made the decision that not only would we stay on the offense and . . . get these people before they could attack us again. But in the long run the only way to make sure your grandchildren are protected, Paul, is to win the battle of ideas, is to defeat the ideology of hatred and resentment."

I voted for Gore-Lieberman in 2000 because they were the best bet for a Liberal Internationalist then... someone opposed to the Kissenger Scowcroft power politics tradition.

Bush has picked up the banner... I think it's between this, and wait until things have gotton so bad anniliation the only answer. That Curtis LeMay approach is really the preferred choice of Americans... Kerry really presented it although few followed where his logic would lead us...

The Democrats are going to go the route of musclear isolationism... this is allready coming out in Ned Lamont's campaign...listen closely to him... he's not George McGovern.

If your committed to advancing peace and social justice in the world though, beyond America's boarders and a narrowly construed American self interest... I think you really have to stand with President Bush.

Bill Baar said...

The link for the quote from Bush.