Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Obama on Iraq

By Libby

I ran out of steam yesterday before I got to this but in case in you missed it, Obama had an op-ed in the NYT that used much better framing to define the issue. The closing graf was especially good.
In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.
The rest of the piece was also light years better than anything we've heard from Bush or McCain, or any other warmonger like say, Lieberman. But I have to agree with Juan Cole's critique. While I suppose we have to have some protection for the embassy, leaving a "residual force" in Iraq makes no sense. As Cole put it, the way to get out of Iraq, is to get out.

I also agree that pumping a whole bunch of troops into Afghanistan to refight that "war" is not the best plan. Cole has a much better solution.
Afghan tribes are fractious. They feud. Their territory is vast and rugged, and they know it like the back of their hands. Afghans are Jeffersonians in the sense that they want a light touch from the central government, and heavy handedness drives them into rebellion. Stand up Karzai's army and air force and give him some billions to bribe the tribal chiefs, and let him apply carrot and stick himself. We need to get out of there. "Al-Qaeda" was always Bin Laden's hype. He wanted to get us on the ground there so that the Mujahideen could bleed us the way they did the Soviets. It is a trap.

I agree completely. We're ignoring the lesson we should have learned from the Russians. Of course I was one of the few that was against going in there with a huge military force in the first place. I've never thought you could 'fight terrorism' with a conventional army. The Soviet's experience should have taught that much.

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

One of the symptoms of the mental disease we call patriotism, is the angry refusal to consider any other country's experience with anything.

10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Sad but true Fogg.

11:05:00 AM  

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