Monday, July 09, 2007

The Road to the White House

Jules Crittenden slams the New York Times for their Sunday retreat editorial.

I could have just left it this, but I can't. I'll break my Times DeSelect Policy for this gem of surrender from our paper of record and cherry pick a few things that really torque me off:

It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.

Like many Americans, we have put off that conclusion, waiting for a sign that President Bush was seriously trying to dig the United States out of the disaster he created by invading Iraq without sufficient cause, in the face of global opposition, and without a plan to stabilize the country afterward.

There's been a debate at the Times? Not to worry editors, you have been crystal clear about your desire for retreat for these last four years. Fret not on that score. We've read you loud and clear about Iraq and the Long War in general. I know you think you are objective journalists, but your bias did indeed slip out despite your strenuous efforts. I'm sure a lot of people will be extremely puzzled that you claim that only now do you advocate retreat.

The heart of their complaint:

Continuing to sacrifice the lives and limbs of American soldiers is wrong. The war is sapping the strength of the nation’s alliances and its military forces. It is a dangerous diversion from the life-and-death struggle against terrorists. It is an increasing burden on American taxpayers, and it is a betrayal of a world that needs the wise application of American power and principles.

We are not "sacrificing" our troops. They are defending us. That's what they do. They took an oath on that score.

Our ground forces are strained, but right now they are combat experienced and not shattered. Our Navy and Air Force reign supreme.

As for our alliances, they are stronger now than they were in 2000, with nations cooperating with us against terrorism and nuclear proliferation like never before. I see friends and allies around the globe.

Nor do I see how this war is a distraction from the war on terror since al Qaeda has challenged us in Iraq and we fight them daily on the ground in Iraq.

The Times gets the price of war wrong too. The burden on our taxpayers in this war is less than our peacetime burden during the Cold War, so don't speak to me of unbearable costs. I guess the claim that we don't sacrifice enough is officially dead (it was never really a concern for shared sacrifice, just a way to reduce public support by imposing unnecessary burdens on the public).

As for betraying the world, the world's standards are set by the cut-throat thug regimes who inhabit the United Nations and who will tolerate our ideals not one bit. Their definition of wise application of our power isn't the same as ours--and thank goodness for that.

And despite worries about costs, the Times will spare no effort to retreat properly:

The exit must be everything the invasion was not: based on reality and backed by adequate resources.

Glad to see that they are willing to shoulder the financial burden for our defeat. But where do we stop when we start running? Who will fight with us when they see we will not even stay in a critical theater where we are winning? Defeat will do that. That's what happens in the real world. People won't want to risk fighting at our side against stone cold killers who get away with mass murder and are celebrated by too many as freedom fighters. That's an assessment based on reality.

Their editorial bears no relation to the reality of the war we are in. And their failure to understand the reality is made clear by this:

Despite President Bush’s repeated claims, Al Qaeda had no significant foothold in Iraq before the invasion, which gave it new base camps, new recruits and new prestige.

This war diverted Pentagon resources from Afghanistan, where the military had a real chance to hunt down Al Qaeda’s leaders. It alienated essential allies in the war against terrorism. It drained the strength and readiness of American troops.

And it created a new front where the United States will have to continue to battle terrorist forces and enlist local allies who reject the idea of an Iraq hijacked by international terrorists. The military will need resources and bases to stanch this self- inflicted wound for the foreseeable future.

Good grief. Al Qaeda was in Iraq before our invasion. One reason it was not there in greater strength earlier is that they had a home in Afghanistan! After we toppled the Taliban and expelled them from Afghanistan, the jihadis fled to Pakistan and Iran, with Iran shoveled most of them on to Iraq where they found a welcome home under Saddam. And since then, Syria has been funneling jihadis into Iraq. Actually, Syria was doing this since the mid-1990s, but then the jihadis were part of Saddam's Fedayeen (remember them?) who were under his control. Why support al Qaeda too much when you enlist the jihadis directly? Now the jihadis go to al Qaeda rather than Saddam.

Al Qaeda has built no prestige from the Iraq War. Their prestige was built on our weakness and peaked on September 11, 2001. They invaded Iraq, slaughtered civilians, and gave the Arab world a good look up close at the depravity of al Qaeda and their jihad that considers even Moslems just another target. And al Qaeda has struck in other countries, too, furthering the decline in al Qaeda's standings. It was all pretty glamorous when it was Americans dying in New York. Dead relatives at home didn't impress the locals. Losing jihadis left and right in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia isn't helping much, either, to improve the al Qaeda brand.

And once again, we were not distracted from Afghanistan by Iraq. What resources sent to Iraq deprived us of capability in Afghanistan? The "distraction" caucus can never answer that question because it is idiocy. We are capable of fighting successfully around the globe. Period.

As for the new front, well, al Qaeda invaded Iraq aided by Syria and Iran. Enemies fight back. That's why it is a war and not a debate moderated by Tim Russert. The bottom line is that we flipped an Iraq controlled by Saddam which was a threat to us, and turned Iraq into an ally that increasingly fights with us and will not always be a net consumer of security against terrorism. This is a good thing and not a burden to be regretted. We have friends in Iraq now! We always had enemies there and still do. But we are killing them and getting others to defect to our side.

If we do this right, Iraq will be an example in the Middle East of what democracy can accomplish.

The Times just doesn't get that the purpose of a military is to defend us. It is doing that successfully. If our military is being depleted doing that, the correct response is to bolster it at war and not just declare defeat. Defeat will do more harm to our military than winning with too few troops ever will.

Again, we have more friends now than before Iraq. Name a country that is newly alienated and not helping us!

And to add bonus idiocy, the editorial calls for American bases in the Kurdish region. More airheads. How do we supply bases in northern Iraq when the rest of Iraq is lost, Turkey is angry about Kurdistan's de facto independence, and Iran is still eager to kill us all. Who will allow supplies in to our bases?

And this cannot go unremarked:

Just as Iran should come under international pressure to allow Shiites in southern Iraq to develop their own independent future, Washington must help persuade Sunni powers like Syria not to intervene on behalf of Sunni Iraqis. Turkey must be kept from sending troops into Kurdish territories.

So they are aware that Turkey won't like Kurdish independence! Yet the editors would have us believe the Turks will be persuaded to stay out of Iraq when chaos would quickly lead to the declaration of a Kurdish nation in northern Iraq--a Turkish red line?

Further, they think that somehow Iran will agree to stay out of Iraq if we leave and Iraq descends into chaos.

How is it possible that this paper could be losing readership in droves with analysis of this caliber?

And finally there is the most obvious idiocy, that Syria is a "Sunni power." Just why did Arab Syria support Persian Iran over Sunni Arab-run Iraq during the 1980s? Funny behavior for a Sunni Arab power, don't you think?

Syria is certainly Sunni majority, but the Baathists who rule the country with an iron fist are Alawites (an offshoot of Shia Islam). After four years of wrestling with when it would be safe to declare openly for our defeat, you'd think the Times editorial board would have fact checked that.

And lest you think that the Times isn't calling for our retreat and defeat, consider this:

The United States has the greatest responsibilities, including the admission of many more refugees for permanent resettlement. The most compelling obligation is to the tens of thousands of Iraqis of courage and good will — translators, embassy employees, reconstruction workers — whose lives will be in danger because they believed the promises and cooperated with the Americans.

The Times editors assume our withdrawal will lead to enemy victory. Why else take in our friends as we go?

Their eagerness to surrender is disgusting. But they'll deny that they want anything but victory. Just remember to ask them what war they are fighting.