Tuesday, February 6, 2007

One Of The Smartest Things I've Read About the Iraq War

Check out this posting today at Talking Points Memo. Josh Marshall is asking people to read an oped in the New York Times (one which I have not read, so I am not commenting on it) that, he says, argues the position that the US needs to change the mission in Iraq, and move back to the periphery of the country. Our military could guard borders to keep foreign fighters from entering the country, but they would stay out of policing the Sunni/Shia civil war. Our numbers could be drastically reduced inside Iraq, and then the government of Iraq will have to be responsible for controlling the escalating violence inside their country. But Marshall makes the following comment in favor of this or just leaving entirely (I am basically in agreement with him):

But getting our policy in order is also being stymied because the political opponents of the war aren't willing to say that, yes, the policy has failed. Not 'defeated'. To be 'defeated' you need to have some other party 'defeat' you. This is just a failure. But whichever it is, that bogey is being used by the White House to scare off the opposition. It's a failure. There's no recovering it. And the unspeakable reality -- truly unspeakable, apparently -- is that it's not that bad. Horrible for the Iraqis. Horrible for the American dead. Terrible for American prestige, power and honor. All that. But not the end of the world. The future of our civilization isn't at stake. And our physical safety isn't at stake. We'll go on. We are not the brave British standing behind Winston Churchill bucking us up with the confidence that "We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender ..." Those aren't the stakes here. Put it in those words and it's almost comical. President Bush wants us to believe that it is because it serves his grandiosity and direct political interests to believe that, to believe that his political interests -- where everything, history, legacy, etc. is on the line -- are the same as ours as a country. They're not.

1 comment:

J. Marquis said...

Howard, you make a good point. This was never a war that could be "won" in the classic sense.
I'm for any decision that pulls our troops out of the Sunni-Shia crossfire.