Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Hitchens - Fight Them Everywhere

Don't know how I missed this, but I am definitely a fan of Hitchens and agree with him 100% on this issue:

Q: What's your assessment of Iraq?

A: Well, it's a race between the idea of federalism and democracy and the ideas of partition and theocracy, and the United States is on the right side of the argument. There are only three things that can happen in Iraq: One, that it's ruled by one of its three constituent parts (Kurdish, Sunni and Shia), which in practice means absolute rule by a minority of that minority, of a kind that was Baathism. The other is partition, where they just separate and you get in effect three states, one of which would probably be invaded by Turkey -- the Kurdish one; one of which might well become dominated by Iran and the other, I don't know, it would probably be dominated by Saudi Arabia. The third alternative is where all agree that no one group, let alone any minority of one group, can govern the country, which means that they agree to some form of federalism and democracy. [snip]

Q: What's the biggest misconception or myth or fallacy Americans have about what is going on in Iraq?

A: To think our engagement with Iraq began in 2003 and that we had the option of not doing anything there and presumably should have exercised that option. The beginning of wisdom is the realization of responsibility. We've inherited responsibility for Iraq starting at least from the moment when Jimmy Carter encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack Iran, but perhaps earlier than that in the '60s when the CIA most certainly did help Saddam's wing of the Baath Party to come to power. ... We have to accept that a busted up and screwed up Iraq was in our future no matter what. [snip]

Q: When should U.S. forces start coming out?

A: When the insurgency has been convincingly, militarily defeated. The stakes here are fantastically high. If we can prove that in a really major country, in the heart of the Arab and Muslim world, that al-Qaida can be met on the battlefield openly and isolated and discredited and defeated and destroyed, that's a prize really well-worth having. These people are our enemies. I don't believe the president is right in saying we fight them there rather than here, because that is a false antithesis. But I think we should fight them everywhere -- and we have no choice in the matter.

Read the entire piece Hitchens: 'Fight them everywhere' - PittsburghLIVE.com

And, for the record, I didn't think fighting them would stop them from trying to hit us over here and I've said it a couple of times. What I did and do think is that by fighting them there, we draw them in, we force them to use up their clout with the people that they were trying to convince about the goodness of their ways and we forced them to put a lot of time, effort, manpower and money into the project.

Arguably, we had to do the same, but the important part for us is whether this cost was cheaper in the end then 30 more years of little actions where our economy continued to take nose dives and our people continued to die.

As I also once noted, and Clausewitz agreed (along with a number of other military strategists), sometimes you commit war to speed up the operational tempo, not just for yourself, but for your enemy, make him do stupid things (as we have done), make mistakes, force him to change his plans and, in this case, bringing the war to the backyard of his supporters and making them confront the very thing they created and supported, has had the best effect of probably speeding up the demise of these idiots, their plans, their ideology and their followers.

I think, we people talk about "mistakes" this is one area that, militarily, cannot be called a mistake. This is how you conduct war on a larger strategic scale.

Also, you may remember that I said, ideologically, striking down the heart and once capitol of the caliphate, making it the thing they despise most, a democratic, free, fairly secular state (or at least one governed by their arch nemesis the Shia) has got to be one of the most brilliant (whether accidental or planned) strikes in the history of war. Like taking Berlin or, had the Nazis succeeded, taking Stalingrad.

However, out of all this, the real story is that we left Saddam in power for 12 long years and, while many people insist on pointing to Bush I's policies as the correct policy we should have adhered to all these years and then some, I highly disagree because looking at history and the current situation, OBL might have been able to gather up some mujihadeen to fight on behalf of Saddam, but he would have been doing it with a lot less support considering what Iraq had done to the Kuwaitis and the fear of the other regimes at the time. Not to mention, OBL's network was not so great and his ideology so firmly entrenched at the time that he would have been able to get thousands of volunteers from around the world to come and die in suicide attacks (recall that Bosnia and Kosovo and Somalia had not yet happened).

So, if we're looking for a mistake by Bush, not taking Saddam out in '91 is the biggest mistake a Bush ever made.

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