"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Escape and Evade or Making War to Keep Peace

An essay by Karen Hanretty at NRO this morning argues that “John Edwards is not your father’s antiwar candidate.” In an aside, John Edwards would not be my “father’s antiwar candidate;” where else would you think I get my bloodlust for bumper sticker wars?

I would like to take Hanrettys point and apply it to the entirety of the antiwar Left and antiwar Dems in general.

Edwards like others of his mindset just don’t seem to get it or else they willingly ignore it in an effort to paint the issue as Bush or “Bush’s War” as though it would or will go away once that warmonger is out of office. The candidates speak of ‘I would talk with our allies (what’s left of them after the buffoonery and hardheadedness of Bush) and bring the U.S. back to the respectable place we were before;’ a kind of 9/10 I guess as that is the only place one could go back to, although you can’t go back there either.

The Left (fringe, Edwards, Dems) has argued in the past for pulling out of Iraq as though that is the end all necessity to the end of our troubles in Iraq and between us and Iran. Yet where would they pull out to? I’ve made mention previously that the “where to” is in a little known place called “Betwixt” but that’s another story. The suggestion has been to have a quick reactionary force somewhere else, but there really is no quicker reaction possible to someone not in country.

According to Hanretty, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations recently Edwards suggested this recipe:

'“My plan calls on Congress to use its funding power to stop the surge and force an immediate withdrawal of 40,000 to 50,000 combat troops from Iraq, followed by an orderly and complete withdrawal of all combat troops in about a year.”'

To combat those that would do us the Iraqis harm, Edwards adds that we would:

'“retain sufficient forces in the region to prevent a genocide, deter a regional spillover of the civil war, and prevent an al Qaeda safe haven”'

Oddly in response to this, Hanretty points out the obvious to most that “isn’t that what our troops are having difficulty doing already, even as President George W. Bush implements his “surge” strategy? Sounds about right to me, but then again I’m paying attention and not interested in ignoring all the realities I don’t like.

The obvious to me and the reasoning for having considered “betwixt” is for the reason that if we are so despised in the region and our being there offends so many; one of whom (the cave dweller that is bin Laden) has said we don’t belong anywhere in the region; why would a continuation of our presence be in anyone’s interest?

The reason is because we need to be there. As part of the title of this post entails, sometimes war is necessary for peace. Peace does not always just come about and peace is often the norm where diplomacy is involved, but diplomacy too often calls for the status quo and the allowance of certain ills in order to maintain that “peace.” It’s more of a relative peace. Gaza is a mess now and Israel left it with an interest in peace; well where’s the peace? It is also the case that nations that are not actually involved there are blamed for it just the same.

The belligerents or troublemakers are not going to go away; they will likely be invigorated as even when they lose they claim victory, however with the departure of the U.S. in Iraq for example they would have a victory and a big one at that. Iran, the Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda would have a relatively and nicely placed location from which to sow more discord and further disrupt any possibilities toward something more Democratic or peaceful.

Once out of Iraq we would sit and wait for a direct hit on us or an accumulation of takeovers and difficulties that would require action well after the time that would have been more productive. We would need to enter after further entrenchment of radicals; the very radicals that threaten any kind of peaceful cohabitation or coexistence now.

Karen Hanretty points to the posthumously published Jeanne Kirkpatrick book, “Making War to Keep Peace,” and uses it for the benefit of a historical case in point; Afghanistan.

In the section of the book that covers the U.S. involvement with Afghan resistance forces, the Soviet Union was utterly defeated; from the book:

“The conflict was done, and it seemed appropriate to leave, so we did. Talks of maintaining a U.S. presence, of extending an occupation, or even of nation building were not seriously contemplated.”

“Not long after the U.S. personnel left, fighting spread among the various warlords, ethnic groups, and factions in Afghanistan. The wars among these warlords and ethnic groups were bitter, characterized by personal violence among families, clans and groups. The long struggles further fractured an already fragile society, until the Taliban emerged as the strongest and most violent. Dogmatic and harsh, the intolerant Taliban moved ruthlessly to eliminate opponents and consolidate power. Their near-universal repression was far more onerous than anyone foresaw.”

There are certainly no guarantees that had we remained in Afghanistan in some fashion that wouldn’t have ultimately generated some forces that would wish to do harm to the fledgling nation, nor to us. But with hindsight we should not dismiss it out of hand or for electoral purposes just because it doesn’t fit or wouldn’t look good.

In order to maintain peace, a real peace, sometimes it is necessary to fight for it knowingly and willingly you may have to fight for it and defend it more often than you would care for; but it just might be of necessity. We have seen in the past what giving in for the sake of peace has wrought, perhaps not immediately, but often down the road when least expected. The defense of peace is often done via offensive means otherwise you’re just waiting to be hit and what good is a defense that allows one to be hit. Peace throughout history has often been fought for, maybe not immediately but eventually. Once those that insist on creating war have forced it upon us we jump in and do what we can; often successfully.

We’re slowly being backed into a corner and I see no reason to get all the way to that corner before striking back, as at some time we may reach a point that we can not fight back from.

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