Thursday, June 22, 2006

No deadline for Iraq

Congress is debating two democratic proposals to establish a pull out date for Iraq. In my opinion there are two basic views. First, a pull out date pressures the Iraqi military to step up recruiting and training so that the Iraqi military and government will be ready to assume control. The second, opposite viewpoint is to get the job done without a pull out date.

In the world of project management, deadlines are crucial and provide motivation to get the job done. I recognize and support that methodology in a business environment. However, in the world of warfare, you never give your enemy an advantage and a pull out date would do exactly that. A pull out date would encourage the enemy to sit back and give the appearance that the insurgency had been defeated. Then, once the superior training, technology and firepower of the U.S. military had left the area, the insurgency would reappear and provide a challenge that may be too great for the newly formed Iraqi military and government.

Ending the Iraqi war has nothing to do with whether or not you believe in the decision to go to war. (I will state for the record that I supported going to war.) As stated by former secretary of state Colin Powell, gift store rules apply - we broke it, we own it. What does this mean? A necessary result of the Iraqi war was the removal of Saddam Hussein and the dismantling of the previous Iraqi government. We now must support the creation of a new government and associated infrastructure. Afghanistan provides us with a model of what can happen when a governmental void exists. In Afghanistan, the U.S. did not support the redevelopment of a government structure after the Soviet Union's military left the area. That void was filled with the Taliban. We cannot allow the formation of a Iraqi government to fail. Such a void would allow a terrorist environment to thrive. Are terrorists already in Iraqi? Of course they are and that provides the fundamental reason why we must prevail. How long will it take to destroy the terrorists in Iraq, put down the insurgency, stabilize the political environment to remove the threat of civil war and establish a fully functional Iraqi military and government? Simply put - a very long time and pull out date cannot be arbitrarily assigned. Our goal should be get the job done right, not get the job done by a particular date. We take on this task because it is the right thing to do, regardless of difficulty of the challenge or the amount of time and resources required. There is nothing more expensive or worthwhile than freedom.

1 comment:

W. Ian Blanton said...

Much of what you say is why I am flat-out disgusted by the vote for a withdrawal date. Why bring legislation that A) is doomed to failure, and B) Not a real solution?

Just raw stupidity.

However, I do have to disagree with a chunk of your view;

Again, you know I opposed going into Iraq; I saw it as a strategic mistake in the GWOT, a distraction, and a potentially fatal one that would tie our troops down and make it so that we were unable to respond adequately to real a crisis.

HOWever, I also support the "Powell Doctrine", we f-ed up their country, and we're honor-bound to fix it. We traded them a semi-stable maniacal dictator for a batch of fanatical psychos. We brought them the terrorists, and we have to at least make it so that they an deal with them once we leave.

So do we:

A) Declare what our project is, and just keep bumbling on keeping on (Current Bush Administration Doctrine) or;

B) Set actual guidelines for how we leave, with achievable milestones?

The fact is, the current administration has botched this "war" on every level, from starting it onwards.

The ludicrous idea that "If we set a date, the terrorists will just lay low and attack when we leave", is basically just saying "we won't leave until Iraq has no enemies, foreign or domestic." (translation: We Are Never Leaving)

Terrorists are NOT going to go into hiding and Just Wait, if we are building Iraqi Police & Military forces into a strong organization that can go toe-to-toe with them and win. If so, they might as well leave now, because once the U.S. is gone, the tactics of suicide bombers in crowds of civilians will not cut it with Iraqis. (Worth noting is the fact that the Taliban never used suicide bombing in taking over Afghanistan)

The Taliban took over Afghanistan after a long fight, where they had a strong base area and spread outwards from there. That's pretty unlikely to happen in Iraq, especially with the Kurds having had as much time as they have to consolidate and secure their areas.

I hope every day for a Republican with a clue to show up who can push the right agenda in Iraq and get us back on course, but I suspect the GOP is busy crucifying anyone left who has a clue, there, too. Such clarity seems pretty unlikely to come from the dems....