November 29, 2005


Bush's Can't-Lose Reversal: Wednesday's speech will set the agenda for withdrawal from Iraq (Fred Kaplan, Nov. 28, 2005, Slate)

Lost in this juggernaut toward a new consensus for withdrawal is whether it's the right course to take. I think it is, for many of the same reasons that Murtha, Sen. Joseph Biden (another recent convert), and others have laid out. The most compelling of these reasons is the most strictly pragmatic. As long as American troops stay there in high visibility and large numbers, Iraq will remain a weak, unstable state. The insurgency's ranks will swell with those who are simply opposed to occupation, especially a Christian occupation, with the result that nationalism, sectarianism, and jihadism will converge, to grave consequences for U.S. interests and Middle Eastern stability. Beyond that, Iraqi officials will not take their security responsibilities seriously, knowing that they can lean back on the Americans. As Professor Barry Posen of MIT has put it, the U.S. military presence "infantilizes" Iraqi politics.

At the same time, the U.S. presence is vital to Iraq's security for now and for several months to come. Juan Cole, a persistent critic of the war and Bush's policies, argues persuasively that an excessively swift or unthinking withdrawal would almost certainly trigger total disorder and possibly a civil war with casualties 10 times greater than the present melee has wreaked.

President Bush is going to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. That no longer seems in doubt.

Gotta give Mr. Kaplan credit for being the first one to criticize the President for doing what he said all along we would:
We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We're helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people. (Applause.)

The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq.

Staying after the democratically elected leaders of free Iraq have asked us to start drawing down would be a reversal and make us exactly the kind of imperialists the Left has erroneously claimed we sought to become.

Had to know the French would be right behind, France warns against hasty U.S. pullout from Iraq (Reuters, 11/29/05)

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, one of the sharpest critics of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, warned Washington on Tuesday against pulling out troops without regard to regional security.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 29, 2005 11:35 AM

I confess that when I was teaching I did not have the heart to work surrounded by idiot children and did not seek special ed certification like so many of my contemporaries.

Sometimes I feel as though I had done so when I am confronted by "all-or-nothing" thinking about Iraq.

Please examine the above words
"STAYING after the democraticaly elected leaders of a free Iraq have asked us to START DRAWING DOWN. . .." (emphasis added)

Now, children, all eyes on me, tell Mr Gots, does "staying" mean the opposite of "start drawing down?" How are the words the same? How are they different?

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 29, 2005 12:45 PM

once someone starts quoting juan cole as an "expert" i stop reading. kaplan is a leftist pimp and has nothing worthwhile to contribute to the national dialog. in fact, the iraqi population has come to trust and support the u.s. military prescence in a way that kaplan and cole never will -- the exact opposite of what kaplan is predicting.

Posted by: Gen. Custer at November 29, 2005 2:50 PM

de Villepin just doesn't want to give thousands of 'foreign fighters' a chance to do more than torch autos in Paris.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 29, 2005 3:02 PM

I think that Bush will take a clue from Joe Liberman and come across very tough in his speech.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 29, 2005 8:23 PM

C'mon, you've got to love them. The French have raised utterly shameless hypocrisy to the level of a art form and the sheer poetic beauty of it trancends any political damage. Makes us Canadians look like bumbling pikers.

Posted by: Peter B at November 30, 2005 8:51 AM