Piece by Cliff May

DailyKos looks at this article and concludes our boy Cliff May is delusional. After having read just the first few paragraphs, I had to agree.

Of all the possible responses, the most perverse may be this: To propose that Americans pull out of Iraq, abandoning innocent Iraqis to the tender mercies of those dispatching the terrorists.

The foreign jihadists in Iraq (An unknown percentage of whom are al Qaeda) have never numbered more than 5% of the people fighting US troops in Iraq. The great majority of the fighters are native Iraqis and are most probably Saddam Hussein-era Army members. There's very little danger of "terrorists" taking over Iraq in the wake of an American withdrawal.

Yet that is what many Americans now favor, perhaps because they have been persuaded that when Sunnis and Shites [sic] kill one another, Americans must be to blame.

Yeah, gee, I wonder where people got such a crazy idea. Hmm, let's see, in February 2003 there was, um, NO sectarian violence/civil war and in November 2006, there WAS!! Gee, I wonder what happened in the meantime? Wouldn't have been perhaps, an American occupation?!?! Whether or not the sectarian violence could have been avoided after the invasion, the US still has to take responsibility for invading.

[Saddam Hussein] has long maintained that the United States lacks the will to prevail against a determined enemy. Years ago, he told Americans: “Yours is a society that cannot accept 10,000 dead in one battle.”

The American people are fully prepared to stand against a determined enemy when there's a good reason to. Taking on tough foes is not a problem. Taking on a country that posed no threat to the US and occupying it against the will of their people (See Reason 4) is something else again entirely.

Many Americans see no link between the conflict in Iraq and America’s war with the militant Islamist movement. Osama bin Laden’s top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, would beg to differ. He has called Iraq one of the “two most important battlefields” of the world war now underway.

Please note that Iraq became an "important battlefield" AFTER the US invaded it. If the US wins, al Qaeda simply moves on to a new battlefield. If the US loses, al Qaeda gains a great victory. Problem is al Qaeda stands to lose only what they put into the struggle. The US can't hit anything that al Qaeda hasn't committed. If the US begins to make great gains, al Qaeda withdraws the forces that are in danger. The US is dealing with a classic "lose-lose" proposition.

The other key battlefield is Afghanistan. Should the U.S. accept defeat in Iraq, how many suicide-bombings in Kabul will be required before America and its allies retreat from that far less strategically vital front as well?

This is a consequence of what we call "screwing up." By failing to secure Afghanistan, by reconstructing it and winning the loyalty of the Afghans, the US ran off to invade a country that had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks. Yeah, it sure is a mess allright.

Iraq is a mess. It has not become, as [the] president hoped it would, “a country that can sustain itself; a country that can govern itself; a country that can defend itself; and a country that will be an ally in the war against these extremists.”

Well, yeah. When you set out goals for the country that are utterly delusionary, it will become a mess. The US wanted an Iraqi government that was pro-US and pro-capitalist and that would be willing to let it pump their oil and make off with 100% of the proceeds. What, the plan failed?!?! Wow, whatta surprise.

But because “victory” as Bush once defined it now seems out of reach, it does not follow that the solution is to cut and run — or even to cut and stroll away, the policy euphemistically called “phased redeployment.” More modest but still significant goals can be achieved.
We can continue to fight Saddamist insurgents and al Qaeda terrorists wherever we find them — and we find them in Iraq.

Continued death and destruction. Massive bloodshed. Killing everywhere. Gee, sounds like a really wonderful plan!

We can accelerate the training of Iraqi forces.

Had the US succeeded in producing trained Iraqi battalions that could fight on their own over the last three years, this might be a worthwhile plan. As it is, it's little more than wishful thinking.

We can do what is necessary to stabilize Baghdad — as we have pledged to do and tried to do but so far have failed to do because sufficient resources have not been devoted to the task.

This is the "magical pony plan" produced first by the DLC, then Joe Lieberman, than John McCain. It depends on the US finding more troops to fight in Iraq. From where, nobody knows.

As for the sectarian violence, our presence is not the cause and our absence would not be the cure.

The US has occupied Iraq since late April 2003. OF COURSE the sectarian violence is the fault of the country that's occupying Iraq. Would the absence of the US solve the problem? Worth a try, as Iraqis don't want US troops there to begin with.

By continuing to play the role of honest broker between the Shia and Sunni communities, we may be able to prevent the conflict from spiraling into all-out civil war.

The conflict has already spiraled into "all-out civil war" thank you very much. At no point has the US acted as anything like an "honest broker." The US has been interested in Iraq's oil from well before the conflict began.

There are no good options in Iraq.


There are only bad options and worse options. Let’s hope President Bush and the new Democratic leaders in Congress are wise enough to distinguish between the two.

As President Bush has demonstrated absolutely zero wisdom so far and as the "new Democratic leaders in Congress" have had absolutely no input whatsoever, the new regime can hardly do worse.

UPDATE: And do you want to know what's really sad? Cliff May is part of the Iraq Study Group. Yup, that's right. A man who's not really connected to reality is going to help figure out how to get the US out of his mess.


Anonymous said...

Sunnis and Shiites have been killing each other for 1300 years.

The US led invasion of Iraq has nothing to do with that violence.

If we pull out of Iraq, the Sunnis and Shiites will continue to kill each other.

Rich Gardner said...

Back when I was in the Navy, a shipmate borrowed someone's music tape. The tape got stolen. My shipmate claimed he wasn't responsible for the tape being gone, "Someone stole it!"
Our supervisor said "No, you had custody of the tape. It was your responsbility to safeguard it. It's your fault it got stolen."
Same principle applies here. The US occupied Iraq, Iraq fell into chaos, ipso facto ergo, the US is responsible. People don't like that? The US should never have invaded in the first place.