Ask, and ye shall receive

For some time now, I’ve been putting out my own thoughts, observations, theories, and notions about the war in Iraq, and how it plays as part of the War on Terror. I’ve had my share of critics, and have often fallen back on the “well, what would YOU do?” argument a few times. And it’s always been met with echoing silence.

Until now.

One of my regular detractors, “jp2,” finally outlined his ideas. And now it’s MY turn to take his notions and critique them.

(And yeah, jp2 made his share of typos. I chose to ignore them, out of respect for his trying. I would ask others to do the same, and not use the same disgusting tactic of picking tiny points out for criticism to avoid discussing the major ones.)

For one, I propose strenghting the military just out of general principle. That means all war supporters enlist, even bloggers.

Let’s start off with the major error in logic here: “all war supporters enlist, even bloggers” does NOT lead to “strengthening the military.” It is abundantly clear to anyone who respects the military that the end of the draft and the all-volunteer, professional military has been an unqualified success. Also, the military is doing a pretty good job at meeting its recruiting goals. Our problems are NOT from a lack of manpower — and if it is, we could start by repositioning other forces around the world. For starters, let’s get the hell out of the Balkans.

I do think people being connected to the wars they want is an important step to never making these kinds of mistakes again. Take your lumps

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Here’s a bit more insight. Serving in the military means “taking your lumps.” It’s punishment.

Another thought struck me, but I’m probably being too paranoid and giving jp2 much credit: could the push to have war supporters serve in the military be part of a plot to disenfranchise his political opponents?

Think about it: active-duty military members are discouraged from engaging in politics. They cannot run for office, they have limited funds and time to invest in campaigns, and (as noted in 2000 in Florida) their votes — when they manage to cast them — are often discarded. Could jp2 be trying to get those who disagree with him out of the electoral process, letting his side win by default?

If that’s his strategy, I think he hasn’t thought it through. He’s proposing taking his political opponents, stuffing them unwillingly into the services, giving them weapons and training, and minimizing their ability to participate in the electoral process. Is that such a good idea?

It reminds me of the talk about the Left “taking to the streets” if they had not won in the recent elections. They tend to forget that they are the ones who regularly push for gun control — the people they are opposing tend to have a lot more guns, and also tend to be fairly proficient in their use.

That being said – there is no good solution that me or any set of councils could come up with it. It is as MM and Dean have said all along – a quagmire. The country is now broken at the core.

The phrase “self-fulfilling prophesy” comes to mind.

However, if I was on the council I would do the following:

-End the presence of troops in the unfriendly parts of the Arabian peninsula as soon as possible. This is a reason for the extra special inflamed hatred of America. This is one of the main reasons bin Laden was able to round up the mass amount of funds and people to fuel his versions of terrorism. We are not welcome and do more harm than good.

I don’t think that jp2 meant just “the Arabian peninsula,” so I’ll expand it to the entire Middle East. Just where are our troops in “unfriendly parts?” The only place where our forces are right now where they were not invited by the legitimate local government is Iraq proper. jp2 alludes Saudi Arabia, but doesn’t mention that we went there in the first place at the request of the Saudi government, to check Saddam after his invasion and conquest of Kuwait. And we left Saudi Arabia when the Saudis asked us to.

-Diplomacy. I like that Cheney is visiting the house of Sa’ud right now, although he is completely hamstrung. We have to bring every single pertinant player in the world to the table and drum up support for a stable Iraq. This is impossible with the current administration. They have blown it.

Diplomacy is fine and good, but there really isn’t much to talk about when the two sides have diametrically opposing goals. Iran is not interested in a stable, secular Iraq. They want a puppet, client state they can use as a proxy for their ambitions. Failing that, a weak, fragmented, carnage-wracked Iraq does almost as well. That’s why they’re arming and supplying the terrorists to the extent they are.

Syria isn’t interested in a stable, secular Iraq, either. They fear losing their puppet state — Lebanon — and like the violence in Iraq as a diversion from their machinations over there.

Also, the leaders of both nations are insecure about their hold on power. In Iran, the people are not too thrilled with their leadership. In Syria, the Dorktator has to worry about his generals seizing power.

Then there’s Saudi Arabia. For decades, they’ve had a solution to domestic problems: find the nuts, give them money, and ask them to go away. Right now, the fighting in Iraq is giving them a great outlet for their home-grown terrorists and would-be rebels.

So there’s three of Iraq’s neighbors who have no interest in peace in Iraq. What is there to negotiate with them over? The only diplomatic solution is to say to them “you are NOT going to get what you want in Iraq. You have to figure out what you can live with, and then we’ll start talking.” An immediate withdrawal serves their purposes admirably, so they have no reason to negotiate in good faith.

-As far as ditching goes – and it feels damn awful to say – it’s necessary. Phased withdrawl over the next Friedman Unit.

No, it’s not necessary. (And I had to look up a “Friedman Unit” — it’s six months. That little lingo had slipped past me.) Large portions of Iraq are doing all right. The Kurdish north is practically independent. (Something that the Turks do NOT like.) The British are turning Basra over to the Iraqis.

We have not lost this war. It is arguable whether or not we are losing. But there is one sure way to guarantee defeat, and that’s to follow the suggestions jp2 outlined above.

The Nativity is not Welcome in the City of Chicago
Things I Do Not Know