December 8, 2006


Well, the fact that the Right hates the ISG report means it can't be all bad, right?

What makes the Right so mad is that there is no way to "win" and the report acknowledges this:

Others, including influential conservative editorialist William Kristol, accused the study group of focusing its nine months of study on how to extricate the United States from Iraq, rather than how to win.

"They do not engage that debate, and I think that's deeply irresponsible," Kristol said. "If they think the war cannot now be won, they need to explain that."

Actually, they don't. There is no debate. There is only overwhelming evidence that Iraq is a disaster and can't be won, and Bill Kristol saying that it can be won. We don't debate the color of the sky and we don't debate the fact that Iraq is an epic mess.

While the report doesn't go far enough to get us out, it does at least achknowledge that Iraq is, in fact, a disaster and cannot be "won." Once you come to terms with that fact, the need to get out will follow. The American public is already there. Official Washington needs to do this ridiculous bipartisan compromise dance in order to get there.


larry said...

By the way, I'm sure that everyone has noticed that the one goal date mentioned in the ISG report is March, 2008 ... the beginning of the presidential primary season.

Basically, the word to W is - if our troops aren't out of harm's way by then, the Rethuglicans are toast in 2008.

Laura said...

Okay, this is going to make me wildly unpopular, and have some of you wondering if I've completely lost my mind, but I'm not so sure that a complete withdrawal by a certain date (i.e. the primary in NH or elsewhere) is all that good an idea.

Iraq is undoubtedly a disaster. Perhaps the largest disaster since Viet Nam, certainly the only disaster along the same lines. However, I think if we just pull out of Iraq before Iraq can properly hold itself in a somewhat cohesive unit (whatever that may be, even if it's not a democracy) alot of innocent people are going to die. And no, they won't be Americans, so I guess the idea is that it isn't our problem. Here's the thing, though. Before we went into Iraq, it was quasi-stable, and though Sadam was killing anyone who opposed him, those numbers were alot less shocking than the current Iraqi civilian casualty numbers. Numbers, I might add, that are bound to get worse if we leave with chaos reigning.

I'm not denying that we shouldn't have gone into Iraq. But, we're there now, and pulling out just 'cause we shouldn't have gone in the first place doesn't necessarily make the most sense.

larry said...


The "you broke it, you own it" philosophy is certainly the moral high ground, but it still leaves the question of where to go from here.

If we assume that Iraq can be "fixed," whatever that means - and we darn well better define it before we set out to do it - it seems to be clear that it will require more troops to do it. It might be 20,000 more troops, as Sen. McCain says, or it might be 100,000+ more troops. While this might have been feasible in 2004 or even 2005, it is probably impossible now, both politically and tactically (unless the draft is reinstated). There's little evidence that Bush wants to do this, or that he actually can. Let's not confuse stubbornness, of which he has a lot, with power, of which he has very little these days.

So if we can't "fix it," we are back to the alternative - leave it and hope the resulting regional conflagration doesn't affect us too much. (Maybe the Muslims, of both stripes, will be so busy celebrating their "victory" over the US that they'll forget about slaughtering each other.)

The idea of setting a date, or at least a schedule, is to have a goal. Few things in life are accomplished without setting a goal. We may need to modify the tactics along the way - so maybe all the troops won't be out by Feb 2008, we'll change the date to July 2008 and then October 2008. But setting a date at least commits us to a course of action, and that's what those of us who advocate that course are trying to achieve.