Tired Old Soldiers With No Clue
A US exit strategy from Iraq, courtesy of.... er... Australian Opposition Leader Kim Beazley?
There was an electrifying moment here last week when a longtime friend of the United States spoke up during a meeting of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, a group I've been part of for several years. Kim Beazley, the leader of the Australian Labor Party and a former defense minister, proposed an alternative that would admit the errors of the past by way of salvaging America's influence for the future.Sorry, E. J. Dionne Jr., but I don't think so.
Former Defence Minister Beazley is one of those old hawks who are a little less hawkish than the hawks in power, so these days he comes across as a moderate. He's an old friend of Richard Armitrage, if that helps put it into a US perspective.
Beazley is right to say that Iraq is "sucking the oxygen out of American foreign policy." He's also probably right to say a "phased extraction" is required (very quick phases, please). But to argue that simply repositioning US forces around the Middle East will somehow solve the entire Iraq morass is either wishful thinking or wilfully misleading: anti-Americanism, Islamic fanaticism and violent resistance will continue to flower wherever the US seeks to shuffle their forces. What is needed is not a clever sleight of hand, but an unconditional apology backed by a wholesale rejection of US policy to date.
"You have to win, you know," said Beazley. "You cannot lose the war on terror."That is pure Bush*t. You cannot, ever, win that so-called war. There will always be a possibility of a man on a bus with a bomb in a case, or worse, blowing himself and his innocent victoms to kingdom come for whatever cause he deems worthwhile. You cannot definitively stop that from happening, not even if you destroy every civil liberty ever created and impose a Matrix-style police state.
The best you can do is make it as hard as possible for that killer to get his hands on the parts required to build such a weapon. But more importantly, you have to do everything possible to diminish his motivations (and public support) for such annihilistic acts. That is the real key to success against terrorists: attack the motivation, not the man.
But without a wholesale change in US foreign policy, this assault on the motivations of terrorists is simply not going to happen. As long as the USA and its Western allies continue to impose their will by force on the people of the Middle East, as long as we offer them fake puppet governments dressed up as "democracy", there will always be a "war" to be fought.
The question is, do we want such an endless war or not? Some of our politicians, evidently, do.
UPDATE: Here's a comment from a genuine Iraqi:
The US administration should think seriously of changing their policy in Iraq, and maybe changing their entire shameful Foreign Policy around the world.
The US stakeholders should conceder having some changes and modifications in their policy in Iraq on both the short and the long term.
On the short term, the US administration decision-makers should take the necessary steps from their side to stop the cycle of violence. The US-led coalition troops should be pulled out of Iraq ASAP. The details about the transitional period between the withdrawal of the occupation forces and the rebuilding of the Iraqi army and Iraqi security forces should be left to Iraqis to handle it by themselves. The US people should ask their government to stop causing the death of more US and Iraqi people in Iraq. The pentagon should start withdrawing the US troops from Iraq instead of sending more of them.
All the Bush administration's whining and speeches about “helping Iraqis by keeping the US army in Iraq” and “saving Iraqis from a civil war by keeping the US army to protect them from each other” make no sense and are all a bunch of lies and excuses to extend the US military presence in Iraq, and leave permanent bases in the country (Japan and Germany style). The US administration should simply change the idea of using Iraq as a military base for threatening other countries in the M.E. like Iran and Syria, and leave Iraq to Iraqis to live peacefully in their country.
If we want to “help Iraq” or to “save Iraqis”, the best way for doing so is asking the US-led occupation armies to leave Iraq.
If we believe in democracy and the right of people to rule themselves, and if we believed in the Iraqi people and their right to rebuild their country after the cruel decades of destruction because of internal and external reasons, we shouldn’t support another day of the illegal occupation.
On the long term, the US government supported by the US citizens should publicly apologize to Iraq and Iraqis for the horrible consequences of the illegal war and occupation, and they should ask the UNCC to start estimating the size of damage caused by the occupation forces to Iraq and Iraqis, and estimate the compensation that should be paid.
Whether this imposed constitution will be approved or not, it won’t solve the Iraqi crisis, it won’t be any better than the January pre-mature elections.
If it was about achieving more fake victories, and more benchmarks to prove something to the US people and the rest of the world, this constitution can be considered a small step in that direction.
If it was about achieving local accomplishments built on grassroots’ support, this constitution will be nothing more than ink on paper. It won’t be capable of improving anything, but it has the potentiality of making things worse by increasing the sectarian and political divisions in Iraq.