January 23, 2005


He's a worldbeater, all right (MARK STEYN, January 23, 2005, Chicago Sun-Times)

I picked up the Village Voice for the first time in years this week. Couldn't resist the cover story: ''The Eve Of Destruction: George W. Bush's Four-Year Plan To Wreck The World.''

Oh, dear. It's so easy to raise expectations at the beginning of a new presidential term. But at least he's got a four-year plan. Over on the Democratic bench, worldwise they don't seem to have given things much thought. The differences were especially stark in the last seven days: In the first half of the week, Senate Dems badgered the incoming secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice -- culminating in the decision of West Virginia porkmeister Robert C. Byrd to delay the incoming thereof. Don't ask me why. Byrd, the former Klu Klux Klan Kleagle, is taking a stand over states' rights, or his rights over State, or some such. Whatever the reason, the sight of an old Klansman blocking a little colored girl from Birmingham from getting into her office contributed to the general retro vibe that hangs around the Democratic Party these days. Even "Eve Of Destruction," one notes, is a 40-year-old hippie dirge.

The Democrats' big phrase is "exit strategy." Time and again, their senators demanded that Rice tell 'em what the "exit strategy" for Iraq was. The correct answer is: There isn't one, and there shouldn't be one, and it's a dumb expression. The more polite response came in the president's inaugural address: ''The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.'' Next week's election in Iraq will go not perfectly but well enough, and in time the number of U.S. troops needed there will be reduced, and in some more time they'll be reduced more dramatically, and one day there'll be none at all, just a small diplomatic presence that functions a bit like the old British ministers did in the Gulf emirates for centuries: They know everyone and everything, and they keep the Iraqi-American relationship running smoothly enough that Baghdad doesn't start looking for other foreign patrons. In other words: no exit.

Loathe as we are to correct a favorite, lest we hear from an "assistant," Mr. Steyn might more accurately say the exit was built into the strategy all along. The reason Democrats think there is no exit strategy must be because they bought their own hype about our having imperial intentions in the region, rather than being on a crusade to liberate the joint.

General Seeking Faster Training of Iraq Soldiers (ERIC SCHMITT, 1/23/05, NY Times)

The retired four-star Army general who was sent to Iraq two weeks ago to assess operations there has concluded that American troops must speed up and strengthen the training of Iraqi security forces, by assigning thousands of additional military advisers to work directly with Iraqi units, said senior defense and military officials here and in Iraq.

The officer, Gen. Gary E. Luck, largely endorses a plan by American commanders in Iraq to shift the military's main mission after the Jan. 30 elections from fighting the insurgency to training Iraq's military and police forces to take over those security and combat duties and become more self-reliant, eventually allowing American forces to withdraw, the officials said.

The aim would be to double or even triple the number of trainers now at work with Iraqi security forces, up to as many as 8,000 or 10,000, though General Luck has not mentioned a specific number. A senior defense official who has been briefed on General Luck's initial conclusions and recommendations said the plan would draw on a mix of officers and senior enlisted troops from Army and Marine units already in Iraq.

Many commanders say that providing more trainers is meant to bolster the Iraqi will to fight, help train officers who would lead, curb desertion and provide Iraqi forces with the confidence that American units would back them up - in some cases fighting alongside them if needed, military and Pentagon officials said. Two American advisers have died fighting with Iraqi units.

But the training would follow a step-by-step approach that would take months if not years, proceeding at different paces in different parts of the country, depending on the troops' performance. American forces would work closely with Iraqis in the most dangerous parts of the country, but would still take the lead combat role there.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2005 10:20 AM

If tne war in Iraq wasn't for oil, or Haliburton, or Aladdin's Lamp, or whatever, then the left would have to scede their prized opinion of being more virtuous and compassionate about world affairs, and being at the leading edge of liberating those in tyranny to George W. Bush. We can't have that happening, can we?

Posted by: John at January 23, 2005 12:23 PM

OJ. Would it be churlish to point out that the VV article, Steyn is ripping on was writen by your buddy, and not mine, Mr. P.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 23, 2005 10:10 PM