Thursday, September 11, 2003
::: NeoCons Near The Edge of The BushCliff :::
::: Or ::: What Is Up At PNAC? :::
It seems I am hearing criticism of Dubya, Rummy, Cheney or someone
"up there" in power. Could this be part of the White House Wars
we have been hearing about?
More Troops for Iraq
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that, on the security front in Iraq, "it seems to me that the trajectory we're on is a good one." But it is hard to find anyone else who agrees with that assessment. Certainly not the British - who now are thinking about increasing their force levels in Iraq. Certainly not the Shiites - who, for lack of security, are now discussing how to reconstitute their own militias. Certainly not even U.S. commanders - who, if you listen carefully to what they are saying, admit that there are not enough front-line troops to handle what needs to be done in Iraq.
Secretary Rumsfeld's response is that we need to turn things over to the Iraqis as soon as possible. Sounds fine in theory or even over the long run. Yet there is no way to train a large, effective and loyal Iraqi force in the time frame required. Despite this reality, the secretary resists any idea that more U.S. troops are needed
But the reality remains that, while the situation in Iraq is not as dire as many of the president's most fearsome critics suggest, we do face a serious security problem there. With a sound strategy and adequate resources, it can be addressed. However, it can't be if we pretend the problem doesn't exist or ask others to carry out tasks that only the U.S. and its allies can reliably accomplish.
More From The New American Century Guys
Gerecht on Post-Saddam Iraq
I would like to draw your attention to the following piece (“Help Not Wanted”) by Reuel Marc Gerecht in this week’s Weekly Standard. Gerecht, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and senior fellow at the Project, argues that “internationalizing” Iraq’s reconstruction will make the democratic transformation of the nation more difficult, not less.
“In the Muslim Middle East, in the age of bin Ladenism, where the rulers and ruled are constantly assessing American strength and purpose, multilateralism, when it is so evidently cover for a lack of patience and fortitude, is never a virtue….When Washington talks about the need to share the pain, what these men hear is that America wants to run.”
Gerecht ~~ Weekly Standard
The organizing principle behind the American occupation of Iraq, so advises a chorus of influential voices, ought to be the foreign policy equivalent of financially syndicating risk. America's budget deficit is too big, the costs of administering and reconstructing Iraq too high, and the killing of U.S. soldiers in the country too frequent for the United States to bear alone the burden of transforming Iraq into a stable, democratic country. A recent post-conflict reconstruction report issued under the auspices of the Center for Strategic and International Studies asserts that "the scope of the challenges, the financial requirements, and rising anti-Americanism in parts of Iraq argue for a new coalition that includes countries and organizations beyond the original war-fighting coalition."
Irrespective of whether we should seek to have Europeans, Pakistanis, or Indians dying with or in lieu of Americans, irrespective of whether murderous hard-core Baathists and Sunni fundamentalists would feel less "occupied" and less murderous seeing Turks in their country, and irrespective of whether the economically stressed, antiwar countries of the European Union would actually give meaningful financial aid to Iraq, the idea of a "new coalition" to oversee the reconstruction of Iraq is entirely unwise. It would probably encourage the worst political and cultural tendencies among Iraqis, even among those who are profoundly pro-Western. It could easily send a signal throughout the Middle East and beyond that the Bush administration doesn't have the stomach to transform Iraq, let alone the region.
Just consider the difficulties the Bush administration has had pre- and post-war because of the profound and petty differences between the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Pentagon. Though diminished, those differences persist. And they have had at times baleful repercussions for the post-Saddam administration of Iraq, confusing Iraqis about what American intentions really are. Now imagine layered on top of this U.S. debating society Europeans, Arabs, Pakistanis, and so on, all with their own national and cultural predilections.
It ought to be self-evident that Washington would not want any military or security assistance from any Muslim state that is not a functioning democracy, which essentially rules out everyone but Turkey. The Arab Sunni states, all ruled by dictators or princes, have to varying degrees an interest in not seeing a stable, democratic, Shiite-dominated Iraq born in their midst. America's toppling of Saddam Hussein may possibly provoke an intellectual and political earthquake in the Middle East, but we can be certain that the states of the Arab League, which refused to recognize the legitimacy of Iraq's new governing council, will try hard to preserve the status quo. And the Turks have an awful reputation in Iraq, both among the Kurds, who have long-standing ethnic troubles with their northern neighbors, and among the Arab Shia, especially their clergy, who see the Turks as propagators of a secularism hostile to Islam. The Bush administration went to great lengths to keep the Turks out of northern Iraq during the war. Having Turkish soldiers at Iraqi street corners would be one of the swiftest ways of torpedoing the country.
None of this means, however, that the Iraqis who detest the French or the Russians or the United Nations would fail to use any of these parties against the American administration in Iraq if by doing so they could advance their own interests. The process of drafting Iraq's new constitution over the next 12 months may turn out to be a bruising affair, as the various groups in the country try to advance their concerns. This battling will likely be healthy, revealing the seriousness of the Iraqis' constitutional intent. The Arab Sunnis, Arab Shia, and Kurds could naturally try to introduce outside parties into the internal Iraqi debate to gain advantage or protect their flanks. The United States is going to have a discreet (one hopes), front-row, judge-and-jury seat. The U.S. officials who oversee this affair may be tested severely, as the Iraqis wrangle among themselves about what belongs in a constitution.
Hmmmm .......... these fellows are a riot!