The Tar Pit

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Pat Buchanan grasps for isolationist straws in Iraq

Yesterday saw this little gem: from Pat Buchanan:

"We must recognize what a large and growing number of Iraqis now believe," said Sen. Ted Kennedy last week, that "the war in Iraq has become a war against the American occupation."

Even with the heroic and heartening election turnout, Kennedy is not entirely wrong. The insurgency has always been a war against the U.S. occupation and those Iraqis who cooperate with us. But the paradox Kennedy fails to address is this: While the U.S. invasion and occupation precipitated the insurgency, it has grown to where only the U.S. military keeps it from seizing power. Should we withdraw now, there is a near certainty the insurgents in the Sunni Triangle would inherit the country.

Leave it to Buchanan to use the Reuterspeak "insurgency" and "insurgents" for the alliance of Al Qaeda terrorists and remnant Ba'athist butchers who are fighting to return Iraq to bondage. American forces didn't "precipitate" them, we removed them from absolute power to declining and desperate butchery.

Given our dilemma -- the U.S. military presence is the cause of the insurgency, but also the only barrier to its success -- the answer suggests itself: We must bring an end to our military presence, even as we build an indigenous force to replace it.

Brilliant! Genius! Get President Bush on the phone!

With the elections now completed, President Bush should lay down, for the Iraqis and the world, conditions for the withdrawal of U.S. forces and their replacement with Iraqi forces. Specifically, President Bush should:

* Inform the new Iraqi assembly the United States has no plans for any permanent U.S. military presence on Iraqi soil.

* Pledge continued U.S. aid in battling the resistance and rebuilding the country, as long as an elected government endures.

* Accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi army forces, and the transfer to them of the duty to defend their own government.

* Announce an initial drawdown of U.S. forces, so Iraqis get the message that the defense of democracy in their own country is first and foremost their own duty, not ours. While we will aid them in their battle, its ultimate outcome will depend upon them.

Memo to Pat: your first three recommendations are already being done, but recommendation #4 would create incentive for Al Qaeda and the Ba'athists to continue their attacks, because our premature withdrawal of troops is exactly their goal. It's not likely necessary to subject innocent Iraqis to more bloodshed in order to persuade them to desire that our presence won't be permanent. Buchanan concludes:

...if the Shia, 60 percent of the country, and Kurds, 20 percent, plus the anti-Baathist Sunni, are unwilling to fight a bloody restoration of Baathist tyranny, we need to find out now, before more U.S. blood is shed.

We already know that the Kurds and Shia are willing to fight; both attempted uprisings against Saddam Hussein during the 1990s. Earlier in his column, even Buchanan acknowledged that the anti-Saddam uprisings failed because they lacked firepower:

The Shia believe they are being compensated for having been abandoned in 1991, when George H.W. Bush urged them to rise up against Baghdad, but let them be slaughtered when Saddam sent his Revolutionary Guard to massacre the rebels.

Now Buchanan is advocating a partial withdrawal to test the will of the Iraqi people to fight the Ba'athist/Al Qaeda reactionaries, at the very moment when the success of the Iraqi elections have demoralized the forces of tyranny.

The Glaivester writes:

...apparently [Buchanan] thinks that we either leave now and they take over, or we stay and prevent them from taking over, but in the process keep making them stronger so that they will be in an even better position to take over in a year.

Pat's reflexive, convoluted isolationism, as usual, leads him a wish that a rope would be thrown to the enemy.

Hasn't Pat Buchanan already been given enough rope?