"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

Friday, July 13, 2007

Misleading War Debate Oversimplifies the Reality?

In opinionated fashion, the USA Today opinion piece on the war in Iraq “report card” makes a good point:

“The interim assessment, which Bush delivered Thursday, was revealing less for its content than for what it reflected about the dangerously simplistic nature of the Washington debate about Iraq.

Bush latched on to the tentative progress on reducing violence to portray the glass as half full, urging more time to achieve victory and painting dire consequences for a withdrawal.

Many Democrats, on the other hand, seized on the failure of the Iraqi government to achieve the benchmarks set for it. They pressed for a quick withdrawal, with little apparent concern for the consequences.

The options just aren't so simple, and pretending that they are is particularly troubling because shallow thinking is what has turned Iraq into such an intractable mess.”

So far so good, although in my opinion I question what is so bad about “half full” vs. “half empty” as a positive view isn’t such a bad thing; unless of course you are then blindly ignorant because of it. But that’s over simplified too.

It’s the nature of an opinion piece to keep it fairly short, else like the slow loading blog site or overly long post, most viewers will go away. But shouldn’t a piece on the over simplification of something not over simplify the something it accuses of being over simplified?

Here USA Today blames Bush for missing the obvious or “hard truth…that the war cannot be sustained for much longer. For Democrats and others calling for (heh, heh) “redeployment,” “pressed for a quick withdrawal, with little apparent concern for the consequences.

A piece of the “hard truth” the president refuses to see is that “Republican support in the Senate for Bush's course is eroding.” The opinion links to the yahoo article for the proof in the pudding on this, but oddly, the erosion they speak of is the four Republicans that voted in favor of the measure. I wonder did they read that part; perhaps they stopped a few lines above at “To his critics — including an increasing number of Republicans…. This is a good example of what Kathryn Jean Lopez was talking about yesterday that in part that ‘“The media is going crazy about the ‘growing rift’ in the GOP.”

The usual arguments ensue with the opinion offering this “hard truth:”

At this stage, there are no sure choices for dealing with these realities. But seven months ago, a bipartisan panel, the Iraq Study Group, took a cold-eyed look at what it called the "grave and deteriorating" situation and came up with a blueprint for an exit strategy.

The group advocated a gradual drawdown of U.S. troops, leaving behind units focused on training Iraqi forces and striking at al-Qaeda. It pushed for the Iraqi government to be held to benchmarks, and for an aggressive regional diplomatic effort. Those basic ideas remain the most sensible option.”

So then it is simple. The “hard truth” that the president needs to face is that we really could do what the Democrats are calling for. Huh, that was easy.

But wait…(there’s always a “but wait,” at least in infomercials). The opinion piece is entitled, “Our view on the War…” which in most cases of the msm is Liberal.

In an editorial from The Editors at NRO, “our push into Baghdad as part of the surge has, according to USA Today’s reporting, “improved the proficiency of Iraqi soldiers,” which is part and parcel of the current “surge” plan.

Much of what was suggested in the Iraq Study Group, a group that in my opinion harks back to pre-9/11 realpolitik; the group including many like James Baker that haven’t really much cared for the new tack of the “Bush Doctrine.” How “cold-eyed,” a look did they take?

One key piece of the “surge” is the same as the ISG advised, however, the numbers suggested (force necessary, strangely non-numeric), were those necessary to “laying the groundwork of clear, hold and build,” the hold and build portion of which will have to be taken care of by the Iraqis.

Mario Loyola notes that the Iraq government, “while it’s as ugly and messy as they come, it is also on the very verge of being able to defend itself, govern itself, sustain itself, and be an ally in the war against Muslim extremism. Yet at the same time Congress is losing its will or “surrender.”

Just weeks into the decisive counteroffensive of the war, we are breaking the back of enemy resistance across that central third of Iraq that was always the focus of the war. Thousands of insurgents have been captured and hundreds killed; the Shiite death-squads have been overawed, and have gone largely into hiding; the al Qaeda leadership is being annihilated before our eyes; and whole tribes — formerly bitter enemies of the Coalition — are coming over to our side wholesale, swelling the ranks of the Iraqi security forces. Anbar province, which just months ago was thought an unassailable base for al Qaeda, is fast becoming an unassailable pillar of the new Iraqi state.

Well then, it is simple. We either stay and see these new prospects through or we leave then deal with the consequences that entails; much the same of what we’re doing now. Leave and do what we are doing now, but with our forces “over the horizon,” or in betwixt. Train Iraqi security forces while being shot at because we don’t have the forces to protect the training operation as they’re “over the horizon” or in betwixt. Root out and destroy al Qaeda, although our forces, with the exception of those being shot at while training the Iraqi security forces or “serving in roles consistent with customary diplomatic positions,” will be “over the horizon” or in betwixt.

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