Friday, May 04, 2007

The Plan That Isn't A Plan -- But Actually Really Is

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Two days ago, Pres. Bush vetoed Congress's war appropriations bill, because it included a required timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops -- albeit with so many exceptions that the concept of "withdrawal" was rendered fairly meaningless.

After the veto, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi gave statements to the press. Reid spoke first, and said, in part:

The president may be content with keeping our troops mired in the middle of an open-ended civil war, but we're not — and neither are most Americans.

A bipartisan majority of Congress sent the president a bill to fully fund our troops and change the mission in Iraq. The president refused to sign this bill. That's his right, but now he has an obligation to explain his plan to responsibly end this war.

Well, now, a group of well-connected right-wing bloggers, along with Sen. Bill Frist, have stepped up to the plate. They've even set up a website to explain the Bush plan for responsibly ending the war. And the plan is: We win, they lose. Here is the text of the plan, in full:

To: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
Harry Reid, U.S. Senate Democrat Leader

Congress has passed and President Bush has vetoed H.R. 1591, the Iraq Surrender Act of 2007.

This legislation, which you worked to pass, sets a timetable for surrender. It pulls the rug out from under our troops. That is shameful and wrong.

Your actions have already emboldened the enemy. Violent jihadists now know that the elected leadership of Congress would undermine the troops by holding their funding hostage to demands for surrender.

This Congress would bring us back to the dark days of the 1970s, when the world doubted our staying power. Except only much worse. Withdraw in April 2008, and on May 1, Iraq becomes an unchecked den of terrorism at the heart of the Middle East -- a new base for the same people that struck our homeland on September 11th.

I stand with our troops. I stand for victory. I support the President's veto and will urge my representatives to vote to sustain it.

There can be one and only one outcome in Iraq: We win, they lose.

This may not seem like a plan but unfortunately, as Steve Benen writes, it isn't a joke, either [h/t to Melissa at Shakesville]:

I visited the group’s website to take a closer look at exactly what the organization’s war policy includes. I quickly realized this is a waste of time — there is no policy. There are no details. Nothing is fleshed out. The policy is “we win; they lose.” Their letter to Pelosi is the entirety of their message.

In other words, while policy makers in Washington work on formulating some kind of effective strategy for the future, these guys — including several leading conservative bloggers and the former Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate — have come up with a bumper-sticker slogan, which they believe is all anyone needs to know.

Glenn [Greenwald] had some of the same questions I did.

One might point out that Iraq is a somewhat complex country, with seemingly endless inter-sectarian and intra-sectarian tensions and centuries of conflicts, shifting allegiances and competing agendas. But all you need to know is “We Win. They Lose.” Among the incessantly unclear matters in that Brave Doctrine are (a) what “win” means, (b) who the “they” are, and (c) what it means when “they lose,” but let’s not have such petulant and defeatist nuances detain us.

I’d love to get a sense of the right’s reaction to these questions, but I’m afraid they’ve been reduced to soundbite-only discourse. Their preferred phrases — cut and run, defeatist, surrender, we win, they lose — are no longer than three syllables, but they have nothing to add to the discussion. Apparently, if it’s not a shallow platitude, it’s not worth saying.

Steve and Glenn are right, of course. But I also think that if the authors and supporters of this plan were to answer those questions, it would not bring us closer to understanding their true motives, and the true motives of the psychopaths in Washington (most glaringly, Bush and Cheney) for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq and rejecting any kind of timeline or plan for withdrawal.

It is possible, though, to get a whiff of those true motivations, but you have to read between the lines:

Withdraw in April 2008, and on May 1, Iraq becomes an unchecked den of terrorism at the heart of the Middle East -- a new base for the same people that struck our homeland on September 11th.

Remember earlier this week, when Amanda at Think Progress wrote about the response given by the State Department's Coordinator for Counterterrorism to a reporter's question about whether the increased levels of terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan were good for anti-terrorism efforts elsewhere?
QUESTION: Okay. Great. And then the second question that I had was looking at the fact — and this may be for you, sir — looking at the fact that the majority of deaths clearly occurred in Iraq, do you believe that the war in Iraq ultimately has been good for the effort to reduce terrorism generally?

MR. URBANCIC: You know, if the battle against terrorism isn’t in Iraq, it’s going to be somewhere else. It started out in Afghanistan. The terrorists are looking for places where they can operate and that’s what they’re doing. So we can fight them in Iraq, we can fight them somewhere else. The fact is they are there and they’re going to find other ungoverned spaces and they’re doing that and they’re expanding — they’re expanding their scope. So yes, I mean, Iraq is at least a relatively friendly place. The people of Iraq are deserving people and they deserve better and it’s good for us to help them.

This is clear as the waters in the Virgin Islands. The U.S. needs to be in Iraq, because it's an "ungoverned space" teeming with terrorism. In this view, our national interests do not lie in defeating the terrorists, or in reducing or ending terrorism in Iraq, or in helping Iraqis create a stable, democratic government. Quite simply, our national interests lie in doing whatever is most likely to keep Iraq terrorism central.

I believe that this attitude is the one that underlies the non-plan set forth at We Win, They Lose. Take another look at that sentence I quoted above: "Withdraw in April 2008, and on May 1, Iraq becomes an unchecked den of terrorism at the heart of the Middle East -- a new base for the same people that struck our homeland on September 11th."

Iraq already is an "unchecked den of terrorism." Everyone knows that. The clowns who wrote this "plan" know that as well as anyone else. So clearly it could not "become" an "unchecked den of terrorism" if we leave. It c0uld get worse, but it's not going to get better, as long as we are there. It could, possibly, get better if we leave, though. The tentative successes in Anbar Province demonstrate the kinds of positive things that can happen when Iraqis themselves decide they're sick and tired and they're not going to take it anymore. It's not our troops that made that happen. It's Iraqis who made that happen.

And that is the last -- the very, very, very last -- thing the Bush administration and its supporters want. Because then the people who are committing the terrorism in Iraq -- the "same people," Bill Frist et al. are at pains to tell us, who "struck our homeland on September 11th" -- will no longer be distracted by the presence of the U.S. military in Iraq and, absent that target to strike, they may remember that the geographic entity known as the United States still exists.

This is the real reason for having a plan that isn't a plan. It's because the plan -- the only plan -- is for the U.S. to stay in Iraq indefinitely -- forever, if necessary -- to keep the terrorism production levels as high as possible in Iraq so the terrorists "won't come here."

Cross-posted at Shakesville.

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