...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

November 06, 2006

Memo To The Disgruntled Independent Voter

I agree that the number one issue in tomorrow's election is the war in Iraq. I also agree that things are not going well over there, and it's time for a change. I understand that a lot of independent voters want to give the Democrats a try, with the hope that maybe they can do better than Bush in what seems like a no win situation. Believe me, I share your frustration.

But remember, not all change is good. Sometimes things can change for the worse. Please read Frederick Kagan's column in the Weekly Standard. Here's a key excerpt.

The pullback of U.S. forces to their bases will not reduce the sectarian conflict . . . . It will increase it. Death squads on both sides will become more active. Large-scale ethnic and sectarian cleansing will begin as each side attempts to establish homogeneous enclaves where there are now mixed communities. Atrocities will mount, as they always do in ethnic cleansing operations. Iraqis who have cooperated with the Americans will be targeted by radicals on both sides. Some of them will try to flee with the American units. American troops will watch helplessly as death squads execute women and children. Pictures of this will play constantly on Al Jazeera. Prominent "collaborators," with whom our soldiers and leaders worked, will be publicly executed. Crowds of refugees could overwhelm not merely Iraq's neighbors but also the FOBs themselves. Soldiers will have to hold off fearful, tearful, and dangerous mobs. Again, endless photographs and video footage of all this will play constantly. Before long, it will probably prove necessary to remove the embedded U.S. troops from the Iraqi military units. The situation will become too dangerous; the Iraqis will increasingly resent the restraint the embeds place on their actions; and the U.S. military will become fearful of being implicated in death-squad activity. It is a matter of chance whether the embedded troops are pulled before any are kidnapped or taken prisoner by Iraqi military units turning bad or being infiltrated by radicals.

. . . There will be no "decent interval" here during which we withdraw in reasonably good order--the withdrawal itself is likely to occur in the midst of rising violence. Instead of pictures of Americans on the embassy roof in Saigon, we will see images of Iraqi death squads at work with U.S. troops staying on their bases nearby. And let us not forget that in the world of Al Jazeera, we will be accused of encouraging those death squads. The overall result will be searing and scarring. The damage to the morale of the military could be far greater than what will result from burdening soldiers with longer or more frequent tours of duty in a stepped-up effort to achieve victory. Those who are concerned about the well-being of the Army should fear defeat of this type more than anything.

We know these things to be possible, because they've happened before: after Vietnam.

Do you want your vote to be responsible for the reign of terror that will inevitably follow our retreat from Iraq? I know no matter how pissed I am at the mistakes and the lack of progress, I don't want that blood on my conscience.

There is no third way; there is only defeat or victory. And thus the choice tomorrow is clear, because you know what the Democrats want to do. Even if you don't believe the Democrats want us to lose, you should give serious thought to whether you want us to lose, and to what would happen if we were to begin withdrawing forces from Iraq now, when they're needed there most.

Posted by annika, Nov. 6, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


We can stop terrorists, but we can't stop a civil war; just get caught up in it.

Posted by: Talmadge East on Nov. 6, 2006


I don't think the choices are quite as limited as you would like to believe thereby presenting you with only one voting option. I heard Kagan on the Lehrer show the other night and thought he was right on the mark. He sounded incredibly informed and reasonable and what you reprint seems to be as well.

I don't think he would agree with your choice of what losing means or what a victory might look like. Or even using these simplifications to describe any outcome.

I am at a loss to conceive of a way by which we might "fix" this situation. This is hardly the same as winning. Nor do I think pulling out would be a loss (since we really aren't fighting anybody in particular; certainly not an enemy that presented a threat to America) as much as it would be a tragedy of immense proportion tacked onto the current tragedy that is ongoing and also major. It would be the acknowledgement of a blunder of immense proportion: a foreign policy agenda that was, as many knew from the start, doomed by its hubris, ignorance , craven wish for revenge and shallow analysis of the nature of the forces that attacked America .

Bush and his cronies have broken something and rendered it unfixable. The horrific miscalculations that they employed as the basis for the invasion and the resolution they envisioned will be treated by history as a blunder on a scale never seen before in this nationís short history. We cannot "win" if winning means installing an "elected" government that will have the will and means to enforce the rule of law over this culturally diverse nation which is infected with the deep and irreconcible religious and cultural differences. No rule of law will succeeded unless a brutal tyrant commanding a loyal military and secret police can be resurrected. Or a colonial power is found that is willing to fully occupy Iraq with 5-7 hundred thousand troops, crush the resistance and then provides ongoing and open-ended support for an unpopular government as the British did too many times to mention.

Needless to say neither of these two scenarios is going to happen.

The Dem's will talk pull-out and may also may try diplomatic initiatives with neighbors, especially Iran and quite possible it will all come to nothing and two years from now they country will be just as bogged down as now. But what they wonít do is simply abandon Iraq. They, like you, would not want the consequences on their conscience.

I am very pessimistic. I see no way to right this wrong with out a continuation of the bloodshed and I have no hope of a substantive change in the status of the Iraqi government.

Part of me would like the see the balance in the house and senate maintained for another two years insuring a Democratic victory in '08. W is rapidly becoming megalomaniacal and so distant from reality that his total and through meltdown with out any help from a powershft would be gratifying

Posted by: Strawman on Nov. 6, 2006

Thanks for the reminder Annika.

I know almost nothing about military strategy, and I bet the strawman knows about as little as I do.

The majority of people in the military seem to agree with your analysis. Shouldn't their expertise be given some credence? Sure you can find a handful who disagree, but in the main, read the mil bloggers ...

btw, I have a new url for things you should do

Posted by: irishlass on Nov. 7, 2006

Why write "elected?" There is no proof whatsoever of rigged voting in the Iraq elections. There is more likely more voting fraud perpetuated by American Democrats than there was by those in Iraq.

Posted by: blu on Nov. 7, 2006


I didn't say voting fraud. I was watching a documentary as I mentioned the other night made by a women who spent 6 months with various Iraqi families leading up to the election and the aftermath. One family, educated people, father a doctor sat watching TV one night belitteling Bush's statements about fighting them in Bagdad not in Austin and laughing also about the puppet government the US installed.

I don't really know too much about the process by which candidates were certified which is, I suppose, as important as the vote casting process if you want to evaluate the Democratic process. So I based my comment on this Iraqi doctor's comment. Prolly no better than anything you have to offer I'm sure.

Posted by: Strawman on Nov. 7, 2006

Well, except that the entire international community was watching and evaluating the Iraq elections. There were no major problems found. (Luckily, Jimmy Carter wasn't in charge because as we know he certified Chavez's election despite his party's Nazi-like tactics and obvious and real intimidation of his rivals. But, then again, Dems love their Commies.)

And, of course, the other obvious comment is who did put together your documentary. If it was done by a left-winger or PBS, there is a good chance it was blatantly and unashamedly bias and probably full of errors. Thank God Michael Moore really raised the bar for the documentary....

Posted by: blu on Nov. 7, 2006

I think this idea that Democrats want us to lose is an unfair slap at good Americans who have a different point of view. Itís hard to believe that Republicans and their handmaidens in the media, FOX News, would have the audacity to blame Democrats and John Murtha for the problems in the Iraq war but thatís a pattern Iím seeing and I expect it to continue and intensify as we get closer to the elections.
General Steel - Innovative Building Solutions!

Posted by: World.Statesmen on Nov. 7, 2006


The money for the documentary was some small funding organizations. I know the producer. This was a simple follow people around and hear what they have to say. Follow people around and observe the conditions of their lives, no commentary, no editorializing. You, Blu, if you cared to, could see it for your self. Without too much effort most things of this nature are DL able. Title is "My COuntry, My COuntry"

Rather than telling me how bad the barn smells inside, why don't you go on in.

Nice to see my boy Danny Ortega making a comeback! BTW, did you know Nicaragua is only a two day march from Texas? I heard that nit wit Ronny Raygun on NPR this morning in a program about Ortega. Sound familiar? The Republicans have using those fear tactics forever. What would they do without fear?

Posted by: Strawman on Nov. 7, 2006

More interestingly, did you hear that he (Ortega) converted to Catholicism?

Posted by: blu on Nov. 7, 2006

No, I had not! Pretty weird. Does that mean he won't try to reverse the total ban on abortion they passed last month?

Posted by: Strawman on Nov. 7, 2006

I think that he was campaigning like he wouldn't...but politicians are politicians in every country. So, who knows.

Posted by: blu on Nov. 7, 2006

"I don't want that blood on my conscience."

This sounds a bit too strident, blame-transferring, and fear-instilling. The situation is probably already beyond restoration, so staying for 4 more years will likely accomplish little.

The Administration blundered too many times, from WMD deception and losing Bin Laden, to Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and resurgent Taliban, and Iraqi militias.

Posted by: will on Nov. 7, 2006