Archive for October 21st, 2006

Paging Dr. Kissinger

October 21, 2006

Since I seem to be about the only one posting these days, I’ll fill the dead airtime by disagreeing with many Democrats and, according to the polls, a majority of Americans.

We should not withdraw from Iraq. It was a mistake to go in. It was an obvious mistake. It was boneheaded and willful and pre-ordained. But Congress closed its eyes and supported it. The media closed its eyes and supported it. The American people closed their eyes and supported it. So now we’re in it, there’s no changing that, and we can’t just throw up our hands and walk away because it’s turned into the mess we all should have known it would be in the first place.

Napoleon once said, “If you set out to take Vienna, take Vienna.” In other words, don’t try, don’t give it a good effort, don’t go half way: do it. I don’t think there’s any way we can take this particular Vienna; that is, I don’t think we can win, at least not in the terms laid out by the Bush administration. The residents of Iraq will never — in any of our lifetimes, at least — like us. They aren’t going to thank us for trying to share our infidel god’s blessing, democracy. That’s because Iraq is not going to be a democracy — a shining example in the heart of the Middle East. It’s going to be what it has become: the heart of the long blood feud between Sunnis and Shia. And that’s what it’s going to be until a person or government sufficiently repressive comes along to put a stop to it. (See, e.g., Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and pre-war Iraq.)

That can’t be us. For us, Iraq is now about saving what face we can. The “solution” is not to withdraw; it’s to draft and re-invade. Massively. To carpet the country with so much military force and so many soldiers that the insurrectionists and civil warriors (I think what’s happening in Iraq now is both an insurrection and a civil war, two simultaneous wars) can’t breathe. To what end? To demonstrate that, sufficiently roused, we can. They aren’t going to like us; we should at least make sure they respect what we’re capable of. Right now they don’t, and why would they? Having foolishly set out to take a Vienna that was never there to be taken, we have to at least demonstrate the ability to make it miserable if we wanted to. Then get out and flood the place with all the humanitarian aid we can afford. Make war — not half-assed, but with a will — then make peace with a will.

It stinks. But I don’t see that we have (or ever had) any other choice, once having invaded. It was a horrible, unbelievably naive (or cynical) and sophomoric idea. But the withdrawal that should happen in response is not to withdraw the troops from Iraq. It’s to withdraw the fools who put them there.

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