Today I heard Senator Christopher Dodd say that the US should begin to withdraw its forces next month at the rate of two and a half brigades a month, drawing down to a level of zero troops by some date next year (do the arithmetic). Speaker Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid made similar statements reflecting similar views today.
Some blognik remarked today that it was "interesting" that I have listened to Petraeus sympathetically. He found that curious because, in his words, "Lang has been a staunch opponent of this war." It is true that I thought and think that the Iraq war was "sold" to the American people in a propaganda driven systematic campaign of lies and exaggeration by the Bush Administration driven by lunatic nationalists and people of ambiguous loyalty to this country. I also think that the "kinetic" generals, often men and women of limited imagination and little real ability did a blind and terribly inept job of running the war. Often they seemed more concerned with self, career and the perquisites of rank than anything else.
Nevertheless, we are stuck on the flypaper of Iraq. In my opinion a rapid withdrawal from Iraq, abandoning the protean mess that is the Iraqi government would result in such a disastrous situation that we can not afford to do that.
Some of the consequences?
– A rump state of Iraq in the south in which whichever Shia faction wins will become a satellite of the Iranian government. That government, if not dealt with through a prolonged and aggressive combination of diplomacy and potential military force will continue to act as a major sponsor of Islamic zealot movements and their terrorist manifestations. Iran will also take up a major role as arbiter of alignments and activity in the region.
– Kurdistan will become one of the saddest of experiments in national popular sovereignty that I know of. Would Turkey and Iran continue to tolerate the Kurdish aspiration to achieving something as close to independence as they can manage? I doubt it.
– Would the wide variety of Sunni Arab groups that are revolting against the takfiri jihadis coalesce into a integrated part of a renewed Iraq? Probably not, and among all the little de facto city states, sheikhdoms, etc, the surreptitious support and participation of the Sunni "neighbors" would continue. This means continued war indefinitely in Sunnistan.
– Would the jihadis find a way to re-establish themselves somewhere in Sunnistan? Probably.
What does that add up to in terms of the ultimate political effect of the war on the Democratic Party?
I predict that If you are seen to be the instruments of such a collapse, then you will be blamed for a catastrophe in which thousands of American soldiers will have died. The public will wrongly think that they died for nothing. The public will not blame Bush, Cheney, the AEI crowd. No. They will blame you. You will carry that can for many years.
Petraeus recommends a gradual withdrawal from this disaster. You don’t want that? Have you really thought this through?
If you want to do something useful, pass resolutions tying up the president’s freedom of action in regard to Iran. Make him come to you for permission to strike them. Show some real courage. pl