Saturday, December 23, 2006

We Can Win, If Only We Send 20,000 More Troops

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Here is the talking dog on the top U.S. military commanders' sudden shift from opposing Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq to supporting it:

And so the American generals in Iraq have finally taken their cue, and they have announced that they too are in favor of “the surge”. This comes as a sharp reversal of course by General George Casey and other generals, who had consistently adopted the previous party line that no additional troops were needed for the Iraq campaign, and indeed, more troops would only increase resentment at perceived foreign occupiers and further delay the day that Iraqi forces could take over on their own.

We’ll set aside the obvious question about where 20,000 additional combat troops that do not presently exist will come from, and ask the more obvious question of who is expected to buy this rotting load of tripe? Supposedly the generals have concluded that the new “big problem” is no longer the Al Qaeda led proto-state developing in Sunni-dominated Anbar province, the Sunni insurgents actually being responsible for most of the American casualties… no, the new “big problem” is Moqtada “Baby” Sadr and his Mahdi Army and aligned Shiite militias. Of course, right now, these groups, aligned with the Iraqi government we have installed, are in control of a hell of a lot of territory and people… and as of yet, haven’t been big players in attacking Americans. Unless, of course, we adopt a strategy change that causes them to… THEN we would NEED a whole lot more troops! Not to mention… body bags and coffins.

Kevin Drum is "glad this is going to happen " -- because he thinks it's the only way war supporters will ever learn that it's the policy that ensures the failure, not domestic opposition to the war:

... [H]onesty compels me to say that I'm glad this is going to happen. I know this makes me a bad person with no concern for human life etc. etc. (feel free to expand on this sentiment in comments), but at some point we have to come to a conclusion on this stuff. Conservatives long ago convinced themselves against all evidence that we could have won in Vietnam if we'd only added more troops or used more napalm or nuked Hanoi or whatever, and they're going to do the same thing in Iraq unless we allow them to play this out the way they want. If they don't get to play the game their way, they'll spend the next couple of decades trying to persuade the American public that there was nothing wrong with the idea of invading Iraq at all. We just never put the necessary resources into it.

Well, screw that. There's nothing we can do to stop them anyway, so give 'em the resources they want. Let 'em fight the war the way they want. If it works -- and after all, stranger things have happened -- then I'll eat some crow. But if it doesn't, there's a chance that the country will actually learn something from this.

I wish it were otherwise. But it isn't.

Atrios understands where Kevin is coming from, but "it just doesn't work this way":

... There has been no grand bargain between war supporters and the rest of us such that they get their "one last shot" and if things don't work out then, you know, the dirty fucking hippies will finally be put in charge of things. As we've seen with both neoconservative hawks and liberal hawks, they're never wrong and the mess they've created will always justify the continued mess. Brookings' Michael O'Hanlon has informed us that "2007 will be make or break time in Iraq." Actually, that's not true, as tends to happen with this issue he informed us that it will "very likely" be "make or break time." A year from now we'll find out that no, 2008 is Pony Time. And O'Hanlon also tells us that if 2007 leans towards break instead of make, there are some wonderful New Ideas to try like, say, "a plan to help people to where they feel safer within the country." Which, once you run that through the Quiet American decoder ring, actually means "forced ethnic partition and mass relocation." Because once we do that there will surely be nothing to fight about anymore. Whatever.

And this is the Left Flank of acceptable elite discourse on the subject, almost 4 years after the dirty fucking hippies were proved fucking right.

I agree. Escalation was the name of the game in Vietnam, but it did not prevent the right from accusing the left of "losing the war for America." If we send more troops, and then more after that, and then more after that, and do that for the next 20 years, and end up failing, the right will simply say -- as they did with Vietnam -- that public opposition to the war demoralized the troops and emboldened the enemy, and tied the military's hands, because they could have and should have used nuclear weapons against the Vietcong, and if they had that would have worked, but they couldn't, because it was politically impossible. This is something we have to understand, no matter how frustrating it is: War supporters, be they Democrat or Republican, are never wrong. It's always someone else's fault.

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