Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Time Tables and Withdrawal

So, here we are, replaying a bad moment from history with people insisting that there be a time table for withdrawal from Iraq.

Here, we are re-playing Viet Nam. Withdrawal is not strategic here. It is not a matter of allowing the locals to sort it out. This is a matter of winning and losing. Withdrawal from Viet Nam was not "peace with honor". That was admitting defeat with some pretty words to save people's egos. Those of us who remember history correctly remember that defeat has consequences. When you committ to a fight, you commit to win. You don't stop in the middle of the fight because you got punched in the nose and your lip is split. Particularly when your opponent has two black eyes and is slugging like Mike Tyson on barbituates in the tenth round. Sure, he might land another blow that hurts, but you know that defeat means you leave the big ring and don't come back, spending your days down in some dumps, fighting crappy little prize fights hoping to stay alive.

The consequences of Viet Nam withdrawal was the death of and imprisonment of millions. The millions we abandoned. There is no honor in giving your word and leaving. That is he cowards way. Too bad we have so many that were elected to office.

But, if we're honest with ourselves we will admit that it isn't the elected officials that are calling this shot. This is the American public. A public that hasn't found anything to fight for in decades. Sure, we like quick clean wars, but there are a lot of "fast food" folks that apparently can't hang for the long haul. A war that lasts more than a few months? Apparently, that's too hard.

The best of us are in Iraq, fighting it out. They know who and what we're fighting for and they know who will pay the price if we leave. It isn't just the Iraqis, though. Every democratic process underway will get weakened. We will be targets; big targets.

Despite those that insist the war is "creating" terrorists, the only thing it is doing is drawing the jihadists within Iraq fighting the military directly. We withdrawal and we invite them to create their next base of operations in the middle of the very territory that puts them closest to their logistic, material and monetary support. That means they can operate with impunity, spread out faster and set up operations that attack American interests or America directly.

Then what? What is our next option? Instead of limited war where we attrit their abilities and resources with minimal losses, you can bet, a big attack that comes out of operational bases in Iraq means another big war.

Unless we are prepared to set back and just let these folks hit us at their leisure?

We know what big wars mean. It means big ammunitions and big death, mostly of the civilian populace because you can bet, if we withdraw, these jihadist terrorists will embed themselves even deeper in Iraqi society, Iraqi neighborhoods, recruit more youth from around the area and Iraq proper. Then we will have real killing fields because, at that point, it will be the thing that people think happen last time. It will be carpet bombing and total warfare.

Is this what the American public wants? I know I've been impatient with the war effort and some moves, but I personally disagree with utmost strength and passion on setting timetables for withdrawal. It's limited war now, or major war later. A war we will apparently be unwilling and unable to prosecute since we can't even find the guts and strength to withstand this little war that we are undertaking.

Further, who in their right mind believes that leaving there will make the insurgency go away? It would only mean the war turns even hotter on the civilians and they are left defenseless as their under developed police and military are divided by sectarianism and anhilated in a civil war.

My final thoughts are the same thoughts I expressed a few days ago: where is the government information program on this war? Where is it? Why is this one area of fighting the war is so weak? There's no Karl Rove of the Pentagon?

Or, is this the plan all along? Keep the information weak in case the situation gets to hot and then the administration can withdraw under the pretext of being forced by the populace or by their opposition?

I wrote my Senator, Kit Bond and asked him these very questions. I will let you know what Senator Bond has to say on the matter.


Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I say hitch a withdrawal timetable to the tactical conditions. If at any time Iraq goes a full week without any combat that couldn't be handled by the troops of the new Iraqi government, the withdrawal process begins. If during that withdrawal process the combat becomes necessary again, the timetable is reset.

Though it would appear to put control into the hands of the insurgency, what it would really be is behavior-modification by us, acting on them, and would fracture their cohesion as some of them would argue for continued operations and some would argue to halt them.

Donal said...

Part of the problem is that the Bush admin has dropped the ball on keeping the American public engaged in what is going on in Iraq and why we must suceed there. Its not helpful for key members of the admin to say that the insurgency is almost done (even if it is) because any violence can be seen/used to discourage the American willingness to stand and fight.

Kat said...

Donal...you hit the nail on the head and i plan to do a bigger post on "losing the information war". I've been reading blogs for some time now including some foreign service blogs and there is a lot of angst about the type of information, if any, that is being put out by the government on freedom, democracy, jihadist aims at subjugation, their torture, etc

We are also missing just the general information about American life and ideas outside of movies and product advertisements.

It's bad, it's all wrong. It stinks.

Condi is about the best thing they've got going and they need to play off of that big time.

Oops...let me stop before I give away my whole post.

But, I think we're on the same line here.