Thursday, September 13, 2007

Three responses, no answer.

Bush layed out three responses to Patraeus's report on what the future of the U.S. is in Iraq, but was short on answers about our mission there, says a New York Times news analysis. Granted, his responses aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

Of Bush's responses
- Due to successes in the surge, U.S. can very gradually return to pre-surge levels.
- Iraqi leaders can be sure that the U.S. is in there as long as the job, whatever is is, requires. However, (slap on the wrist) Iraqi government needs to do more.
- Insurgents and conspirators (Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, Iranian mullahs, whoever else?) against the U.S. occupation can expect U.S. forces to maintain a long-term presence to fight against them.
.
In the speech, Bush said this to the Iraqis, of particular relevance to the Sunni ally killed today:
"As you do, have confidence that America does not abandon our friends, and we will not abandon you."

To the U.S. Bush said:
"Americans want our country to be safe and our troops to begin coming home from Iraq. Yet, those of us who believe success in Iraq is essential to our security and those who believe we should bring our troops home have been at odds."

"Now, because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, we can begin seeing troops come home. The way forward I have described tonight makes it possible, for the first time in years, for people who have been on opposite sides of this difficult debate to come together."


On the message to Americans, were the desire for success in Iraq and the desire to keep a minimum sacrifice in American lives mutually exclusive?

I see value in a stable Iraq, but the U.S. troops ought not, and cannot, be the main drivers of that effort, giving up thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

For all Bush talks about changing the way forces respond to meet the objectives, ostensibly to nurture stability in Iraq and enable Iraqi forces to maintain security, little has been said about the strategy for Iraq to achieve a needed political solution.

Maybe bring in some outside help. Say NATO, the UN??

Another question is, does U.S. presence aid in that political solution when a majority of Iraqis, including militant nut jobs, want us to leave?

The News analysis pointed out a possible answer to political progress and the potential to withdraw, or lack thereof.
Mr. Bush’s underlying message was that Iraq would operate on its own clock — and that Americans should not expect to have leverage over its decisions.

“Guess what, this is Iraq,” one senior administration official told reporters on Thursday afternoon as they pressed him on whether Mr. Bush had abandoned hope of bringing about change in the time frames he had discussed in January.

Guess what, our armed forces, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, cousins are over there. Why the hell are we leaving their fate in the hands of Iraqis, who have little common perspective on what political progress looks like? Should we even expect progress from the war-weary Iraqis? Should the troops have to?

13 comments:

matthew said...

While I missed the speech, I still have no clue what 'victory' or a 'solution' would look like. No terrorists or Al-Queda influence? That seems pie in the sky. A working democracy among all parties? That could take years. People forget the first American government (articles of confederation) was a disaster - and that wasn't being implemented by fiat.

I still agree with pre-presdient George W. Bush. America should not be involved in Nation Building. It just sucks.

Of course to answer our problems, I look to lyrics of punk music with The Clash:

Should I stay or should I go now? If I stay there will be trouble. If I go there will be double.

Trouble < Double Trouble, and thus we should stay. And that logic is, sadly, as good as any I've heard from politicians.

B. Broeren said...

So, the question of whether to bring U.S. troops out of harms way, which by the determination of the president would rely about 75% on the will of the Iraqis, ought to be determined by the logic of a clash song?

Yes, I understand. Trouble < Double Trouble = Destitute Security Situation in Iraq = Bloodshed = Angry Generation of Iraqis Building Training Camps to Create Another 9/11. (Here we go, again.)

Hey, didn't we let the guy who caused 9/11 escape to the dictatorship of Pakistan?

Let's look at the bang up job U.S. policy did there.

Our big friend in the War on Terror there, Musharraf, is pissing off his own people because of a real clampdown on civil liberties, jailing dissenters, even restricting (through use of Pakistan's Army) political opponents from returning to the country.

The fact that the U.S. funding of Musharraf's clampdown may have a detrimental effect on America's security in the future.

Musharraf's administration is crumbling under the heat of public protest and an angry Judiciary.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070914.wpakistan14/BNStory/International/home

Here's my favorite quote from the mentioned article:

"This may be a Muslim country but it is not a Middle Eastern Muslim country. It is a South Asian Muslim country and here the constitution and the judiciary matter," said Aitzaz Ahsan, a member of Pakistan's upper house of parliament and the lawyer who took the case to the Supreme Court that saw the Chief Justice reinstated in July.

What's my point?

U.S. meddling in Pakistan affairs has allowed resentment toward its own government and the U.S. more broadly.

Let's get back to the original equation.

Trouble < Double Trouble = Destitute Security Situation in Packistan = Bloodshed + Angry Mob = Angry Generation of Pakistanis Building Movement to overthrow government and make possible terrorist attacks in the U.S.

U.S. military cannot contain an ideology of resentment toward the those who meddle in Muslim country's affairs.

So U.S. presence in Iraq, in an effort to contain "radical" Islamic elements, seems all the more futile.

To say nothing of the idea that U.S. forces condition their withdrawal based on the Iraqi sectarian reconciliation.

Sectarian reconciliation doesn't seem to be aided by our presence there.

Gen Patraeus himself testified to congress that he "hadn't sorted out in my own mind" whether U.S. presence in Iraq was making us safer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf3MPSxupjE&NR=1

matthew said...

And don't forget. Pakistan, as opposed to other middle-eastern muslim countries, has nukes.

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