Saturday, June 09, 2007

Bush Iraq Policy

Josh, at TPM, points up the central contradiction in the Bush Administration policy toward Iraq at this point, and this contradiction should get a great deal more airing and discussion. Current policy toward Iraq rests on two central points. On the one hand the Administration insists that to leave Iraq is to hand the terrorists a victory that would threaten western civilization. On the other hand, when confronted with the failures of the Iraqi government to get their own control over security, Bush or Rice will insist that our patience is not unlimited. However, the former point precludes the later. Our patience running out has no meaning unless it is followed by our withdraw of our military forces from that country. Alternately, if staying in Iraq is the only hope we have of staving off the terrorist threat, then our patience must be quite without limit.

The fact that George Bush specifically, and conservatives in general, cannot seem to even perceive this contradiction, let alone resolve it, speaks volumes as to the inability of conservatism to even approach foreign affairs and national security. Furthermore, of the two options I listed for resolving the contradiction
  • Our patience will some day run out and we leave Iraq
  • Leaving Iraq will destroy us so we will stay indefinitely
I contend that the later option is absurd. The notion that there exists absolutely no policy for containing and combating terrorism and Islamic extremism other than staying in Iraq, is beyond ridiculous. Even if we pull out of Iraq, no terrorist organization or group will achieve such dominance as to be able to put the United States in any danger much greater than we currently face. By rebuilding our alliances, relying more on international cooperation and police efforts and by rebuilding our military forces we can, in fact, improve our ability to defend ourselves against terrorist attack. This leaves to the obvious conclusion that our best strategy with regards to Iraq is to use the treat of our actual departure to motivate the Iraqi government to achieve something along the lines of stability and, if they cannot, to begin departure immediately.

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