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October 16, 2006

Hegel, Warner Urge "New Strategy" In Iraq

Hegel never supported this war, and Warner's been wobbly. Still, a pair of preening canaries in the coalmine seem to herald that the new American policy will be, ahem, "Peace With Honor" with a "Decent Interval."

Because that worked out so well in Vietnam.

- Two leading Republican senators called Sunday for a new strategy in Iraq, saying the situation in getting worse and leaving the United States with few options. Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and John Warner of Virginia are part of the growing list of Republicans who are speaking out against President Bush's current plan for Iraq as U.S. casualties rise.

"The American people are not going to continue to support, sustain a policy that puts American troops in the middle of a civil war," Hagel said on CNN's "Late Edition."

Hagel said he agreed with Warner, chairman of the

Senate Armed Services Committee, who said after a recent visit to Iraq that Iraq was "drifting sideways." Warner has urged consideration of a change of course if the Iraq government fails to restore order over the next two months or three months.

Warner said Sunday he stands by that assessment, and even in the week since his trip to Iraq, there has been an "exponential increase in the killings and the savagery that's going on over there."

"You can see some movement forward, but a lot of movement back," Warner said on "Face the Nation" on CBS. "We have to rethink all the options, except any option which says we precipitously pull out, which would let that country fall into a certain civil war at that time, and all of the neighboring countries would be destabilized."

Bush told reporters last week that he invites a change in strategy if the plan isn't working. But he also said the U.S. will not leave until the job is done.

Hagel said it is time to change course, but "our options are limited."

"We need to find a new strategy, a way out of Iraq, because the entire Middle East is more combustible than it's been probably since 1948, and more dangerous," Hagel said. "And we're in the middle of it."

What "new strategy"? If they can envision one, why do they not announce it?

Like the Democrats, they call for a "new strategy" but seem to have no idea of what a "new strategy" might look like.

What do such calls mean? Partly they're a way of saying "cut and run" without outright saying so. Partly they're a way of expressing the frustration many of us feel. Except, being Important Senators, they cannot merely say "We're frustrated by the situation," they have to make Important New Strategy Initiatives like, for example, calling for a New Strategy.

But another part of this might be the psychological need to feel relevant. People back home may want to contribute to a success in Iraq, but it's the fighters who will actually win the war. People like Hegel and Warner can't actually help win the war on the ground, so they convince themselves that they can "contribute" by adding "bold new ideas" and "fresh thinking" to the effort.

But can they? In 100,000 years of human warfare, has there really been a fundamental improvement on the elemental strategy of "kill as many of your enemies as possible, and deny logistics and shelter to the rest"?

I wish the "New Strategy" pinheads would recognize their fundamental irrelevancy. Our boys will win this war, if it's winnable, by killing terrorists, capturing terrorist supporters, and co-opting soft terrorist supporters. It can only hurt morale to constantly call for "New Strategies" -- suggesting the current strategy is defective and futile -- without actually proposing, or even hinting at, a new strategy.

If you have a new strategy, say so. I'm sure someone in the DoD will look it over and, if it has any merit, will pass it on to the relevant decisionmakers.

If you're actually calling for retreat, then do so plainly, without these all these half-assed ass-covering locutions. Either we can win in Iraq or we can't; if we can't, there's no sense losing more of our best to a lost cause. Either support the war or oppose it, but don't pose as wishing to win it while undermining the effort.

If you have nothing especially insightful or specific to say-- please, stop trying to seem important and shut the fuck up.

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posted by Ace at 01:58 PM

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