Too many fish, not enough barrel
Posted by aogSaturday, 08 September 2007 at 21:59 TrackBack Ping URL

I saw this via Brothers Judd with the money quote

I have met and negotiated successfully with many regional leaders, including Saddam Hussein.

and I thought “Did Richardson just take some leadership courses at the Jimmy Carter center?”. Is there no limit to the public embrace of brutal dictators in the Democratic Party? I know that the MAL frequently uses past GOP / conservative association with brutal dictators as an indictment, but isn’t it even worse to be doing that now and bragging about it?

Anyway, some sentient beings I know like Richardson so I figured Judd had cherry picked the quote.

No.

That’s not even close the to most objectionable bit. It’s so bad I can’t resist fisking it.

In the most recent debate, I asked the other candidates how many troops they would leave in Iraq and for what purposes. I got no answers.

Now that seems a very acute self assessment.

The American people need answers. If we elect a president who thinks that troops should stay in Iraq for years, they will stay for years — a tragic mistake.

Why? No answer, no explanation. We wouldn’t want an endless occupation like we have in Germany, Japan, and South Korea. Iraq may end up like the Philipines, permanently — oh, wait, they asked us to leave and we did. Clearly Richardson wouldn’t want that. Much better to just stab a potential ally in the back before it’s an ally.

Clinton, Obama and Edwards reflect the inside-the-Beltway thinking that a complete withdrawal of all American forces somehow would be “irresponsible.” On the contrary, the facts suggest that a rapid, complete withdrawal — not a drawn-out, Vietnam-like process — would be the most responsible and effective course of action.

Yes, because the slow pull out of Vietnam would have worked except for cutting off support after the troops had left. And we wouldn’t want to have a chance at victory. No, that would be wrong.

Those who think we need to keep troops in Iraq misunderstand the Middle East. I have met and negotiated successfully with many regional leaders, including Saddam Hussein. I am convinced that only a complete withdrawal can sufficiently shift the politics of Iraq and its neighbors to break the deadlock that has been killing so many people for so long.

There’s the money quote. And of course, negotiating with Hussein clearly leads to a deep understanding of the Middle East. As Bob Hawkins wrote “Sheesh, what would the region look like if he’d negotiated unsuccessfully?”.

Because, of course, nobody was getting killed in the Middle East, or in and around Iraq, before we invaded. I mean, it’s not like Iraq had an eight year war with millions dead or invaded a USA ally. No siree! The killing started when the USA went in and will stop as soon as we abjectly surrender leave.

Our troops have done everything they were asked to do with courage and professionalism, but they cannot win someone else’s civil war. So long as American troops are in Iraq, reconciliation among Iraqi factions is postponed. Leaving forces there enables the Iraqis to delay taking the necessary steps to end the violence. And it prevents us from using diplomacy to bring in other nations to help stabilize and rebuild the country.

Yes, because the Iraqis don’t see any reason to stop the slaughter of Iraqis if it means keeping American troops around. Much better to be blown up on a regular basis just to make that point. And Richardson wants to avoid an American occupation so we can “bring in other nations” to occupy Iraq? Yes, that’s worked so well in the past.

The presence of American forces in Iraq weakens us in the war against al-Qaeda. It endows the anti-American propaganda of those who portray us as occupiers plundering Iraq’s oil and repressing Muslims. The day we leave, this myth collapses, and the Iraqis will drive foreign jihadists out of their country. Our departure would also enable us to focus on defeating the terrorists who attacked us on Sept. 11, those headquartered along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border — not in Iraq.

Yes. It’s not like the Caliphascists bombed Marine barracks or attacked our cities before we had troops in Iraq based on the claim that the USA was repressing Muslims and stealing their oil.

One is also left wondering where all those “foreign jihadis” will go after they are driven out by the Iraqis. Back to New York City, perhaps? Gosh, wouldn’t that be a diplomatic triumph!

Logistically, it would be possible to withdraw in six to eight months. We moved as many as 240,000 troops into and out of Iraq through Kuwait in as little as a three-month period during major troop rotations. After the Persian Gulf War, we redeployed nearly a half-million troops in a few months. We could redeploy even faster if we negotiated with the Turks to open a route out through Turkey.

Yeah, Middle East expert. Turkey’s happy to let our troops transit.

As our withdrawal begins, we will gain diplomatic leverage.

This is my pick as the most fatuous, reality impaired statement in the entire article. We’ll gain leverage like a lame duck President does as he starts his withdrawal from the White House.

Iraqis will start seeing us as brokers, not occupiers. Iraq’s neighbors will face the reality that if they don’t help with stabilization, they will face the consequences of Iraq’s collapse — including even greater refugee flows over their borders and possible war.

Or they’ll start seeing us as losers who can be ignored.

Which reminds me, didn’t Richardson claim earlier that once we left, peace would break out? Why yes he did, back in paragraph four. Why, then, would Iraq’s neighbors fear collapse and possible war? Richardson can’t even keep his story straight for half a column.

The United States can facilitate Iraqi reconciliation and regional cooperation by holding a conference similar to that which brought peace to Bosnia.

Uh, don’t you mean destroying civilian infrastructure via a non-UN authorized bombing campaign?

We will need regional security negotiations among all of Iraq’s neighbors and discussions of donations from wealthy nations — including oil-rich Muslim countries — to help rebuild Iraq. None of this can happen until we remove the biggest obstacle to diplomacy: the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Because once those troops are gone, regimes that are deeply hostile to the USA and ruled by brutal despots will decide “hey, those Americans aren’t so bad! Let’s cooperate and not rush in to take advantage of the power vacuum!”. Richardson, Middle East Expert, might use some of that expertise to look up the history of other donation campaigns from oil-rich Muslim countries. Like, say, for the Indonesian tidal wave or Darfur.

My plan is realistic because:

Oh, I can’t wait for this

• It is less risky. Leaving forces behind leaves them vulnerable. Would we need another surge to protect them?

In the sense that instead of worrying if something bad will happen, we will know for sure that it will. Not to mention that no military volunteer should ever feel at risk.

• It gets our troops out of the quagmire and strengthens us for our real challenges.

Liking defeating President Bush.

It is foolish to think that 20,000 to 75,000 troops could bring peace to Iraq when 160,000 have not. We need to get our troops out of the crossfire in Iraq so that we can defeat the terrorists who attacked us on Sept. 11.

Who to a large extent are in Iraq, generating much of the crossfire on our troops. I guess Richardson’s plan is to get those jihadists out of Iraq and in the USA so our troops don’t have to fight so far from home. Just the kind of thoughtful planning I have come to expect from the leading lights of the Democratic Party.

• By hastening the peace process, the likelihood of prolonged bloodshed is reduced.

“Peace process”? That would be major loopiness anywhere else, but in this article it’s just par for the course. I mean, we’ve had a “peace process” in the Middle East for what, 20 years? 30?

President Richard Nixon withdrew U.S. forces slowly from Vietnam — with disastrous consequences. Over the seven years it took to get our troops out, 21,000 more Americans and perhaps a million Vietnamese, most of them civilians, died. All this death and destruction accomplished nothing — the communists took over as soon as we left.

Maybe, then, we should have stayed and won? But Richardson has no objection to people who wage war and kill 21,000 Americans and a million plus Vietnamese. Why, he’d be happy to successfully negotiate with them.

It just boggles even my cynical mind to see a Democratic Party politician use his own party’s betrayal of an ally and the people of South East Asia as a reason for doing the same thing again in the Middle East.

My position has been clear since I entered this race: Remove all the troops and launch energetic diplomatic efforts in Iraq and internationally to bring stability. If Congress fails to end this war, I will remove all troops without delay, and without hesitation, beginning on my first day in office.

Ah the diplomatic efforts. Just like the ones that worked so well before the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq. That kind of effort?

Let’s stop pretending that all Democratic plans are similar. The American people deserve precise answers from anyone who would be commander in chief. How many troops would you leave in Iraq? For how long? To do what, exactly? And the media should be asking these questions of the candidates, rather than allowing them to continue saying, “We are against the war . . . but please don’t read the small print.”

Because, of course, any reasonable person can lay out a complete, decades long plan for fighting any war. I would like to see Richardson’s plan about how many jihadis he expects to leave Iraq, for how long, and to do what, exactly? The media should be asking these questions of Bill Richardson.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
erp Sunday, 09 September 2007 at 07:37

Nice fisk, dispassionate, thoughtful and to the point.

Andrea Harris Sunday, 09 September 2007 at 10:23

Who is this guy? And how did he chew through the leather straps and get into the psych ward’s computers?

I am presuming he’s some sort of mental patient because nothing he says makes sense in the real universe.

Andrea Harris Sunday, 09 September 2007 at 10:30

Oh, governor of New Mexico. Say no more.

erp Sunday, 09 September 2007 at 11:43

And probably running mate for Hillary.

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