Thursday, January 25, 2007

Good point, Newt

The other day on Fox, Newt Gingrich was discussing the war in Iraq and Bush's latest plan to temporarily increase troops in Baghdad. He also noticed the lack of applause from the Dems when Bush mentioned pushing for victory in Iraq, but that's beside the point.

He, like all Americans, are frustrated with the war. Personally, I'm extremely disappointed in the failure and unwillingness of the Iraqi people to fight for their independence. The Pentagon obviously dropped the ball when it came to having a reconstruction strategy in place for when Hussein's gov't fell. And, no one seemed to expect the insurgents would be so effective at dividing the country along religious lines and thrusting it into a near-civil war. Not only that, but "victory" has not been clearly defined. What constitutes victory? At what point can we declare the war won? The definition of victory has changed with time, and yes it is frustrating.

But, Gingrich brought a good point. He said that while he may not be able to define victory, he can at least define defeat. That is when we leave prematurely, allowing the entire nation to crumble into a Cambodian-like chaos, with genocide and random acts of violence running rampant. Al Qaeda sets up a safe haven in Anbar, allowing them to operate without interference, but this time with the help of Iraqi money and Syrian cover. Iran moves into southern Iraq, controlling the key pipelines. The entire area becomes the center for an all-out war that could engulf the entire region, Israel included. THAT is defeat, and that's what happens if we don't succed in stabilizing that area. In short, that's what happens when we leave.

He then went on to say that those who are calling for our withdrawal, those defeatists on the Left (and to some extent the Right as well), have an obligation to describe how they would deal with the consequences of the defeat. How would the Left handle all the scenarios above? the scenarios of Iraq without US stabilization? It is a VERY fair question that no one seems to have an answer for. And I think he's right, those who want us to cut and run DO have an obligation to explain their plan for dealing with the defeat.

Newt has some good points here, and I felt the need to share them.


Dan Trabue said...

"And I think he's right, those who want us to cut and run DO have an obligation to explain their plan for dealing with the defeat."

I think it's a fair question, too, although the wording is skewed. If a child has been throwing light bulbs down and breaking them, it is not "cutting and running" to ask the child to stop breaking the bulbs.

Having said that, here are my initial thoughts that I believe are echoed by some but not all who are opposed to Bush's policies (part of the problem of breaking things is that there's often no clear-cut way to "fix" them).

1. Some of us think that part of the reason the fighting is happening in Iraq is because of US presence. Many Iraqis don't want an occupying army in their country.

Entirely understandable, we wouldn't either. The majority of Iraqis have already said they want us to leave. What happened to democracy? To self-determination?

2. Some of us think that part of the problem is that we invaded a sovereign nation without a plan to win and we've "broken" Iraq. Part of the problem with breaking things is that there is no way to put it totally back together (it's a given that Iraq was broke already with Saddam's rule, by the way).

That being the case, we begin to try to set things a-right by doing what we learned in kindergarten: We apologize for further breaking it. We admit our mistakes. We ask for help setting things as right as we can as a global community.

How's that for starters?

I recognize it's just a start and that it is an incomplete answer, but as I've said, when someone has been going about breaking things, there are not always clear-cut solutions to fixing them. The important thing is to stop the breaking.

Regardless if you like my answer, I think the Bush supporters out there need to recognize this is the new reality. The US disapproves of Bush's policy and he won't be given the chance to keep on breaking things.

And if we are awkward in going about trying to fix what Bush and Saddam have broken, keep in mind who broke it and don't blame those trying to fix it.

John The Patriot said...

You gave reasons to get out, but still no "exit strategy" for dealing with the defeat. Seems to me that if you're going to accuse Bush of being reckless in going into Iraq without a plan to win the peace, then maybe those who are advocating cut-and-run policy should be held to the same standard.

Dan Trabue said...

I repeat:

"And if we are awkward in going about trying to fix what Bush and Saddam have broken, keep in mind who broke it and don't blame those trying to fix it."

Our exit strategy (if I were in charge - and there are many thoughts exactly because there's not a clear-cut way to put the egg back together):

1. Apologize for our mistakes
2. Ask for world support in withdrawing our forces and figuring out what best to do as we leave
3. Leave.
4. Offer what support we can when asked by Iraq and the world

We made a mistake in going in the way we did. That being the case, we have to own up to that and ask for support.

But we must understand that there will be no great answers. Sort of like offering to fix my daughter's toy after having stepped on it and breaking it...I apologize and fix it the best I can, but it won't be put a-right.