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The Twice-Purloined Letter: Report Makes Clear Sandy Berger Was Attempting To Destroy Documents, Not "Borrow" Them For His Convenience | Main | Mahdi Army (Temporarily) Stands Down?
January 13, 2007

Sunnis Now Looking For Americans For Protection From Vengeance-Seeking Shias

I didn't see this one coming.

Oh wait, yes I did, I've been saying it for years: The Sunnis are attacking the only military force in Iraq protecting them from an ethnic cleansing that might turn into a full-blown genocide.

Were saving the Sunnis the only thing we're fighting for in Iraq, I'd say: Pull up sticks and let them be slaughtered.

But it's not.

Kaus has slammed Andrew Sullivan for suggesting that a bloody cleansing of mass ethnic slaughter might be just what is needed to stabilize Iraq.

I don't think he should be mocked for this particular random thought popping into his thick skull. It may be true -- it has long been the case since the dawn of man that wars are only truly settled when death and misery of such horrific magnitude are inflicted on one (or both) sides as to provoke a true surrender and armistice.

However, I would also caution that we would probably like to avoid this outcome if possible.

Because a lot of bad will happen during this period of wondrously cleansing mass slaughter Andrew Sullivan now favors.

For one thing, Saudi Arabia will begin working more closely, and openly, with Al Qaeda to suppor their Sunni correligionists in the war. Iran of course will side with the Shias, and the Iraqi Shias will become a client of Iran, a pawn in their larger religious war.

So this mass slaughter will empower both Al Qaeda and Iran. Hardly an optimal outcome for the US.

True enough, the Al Qaeda supporting Wahabbists in Saudi Arabia and Iran will be fighting each other, which has an obvious upside. But they will be fighting each other in a proxy war, not in a true war. The battlefield will be Iraq and the combatants will be (largely) Iraqis. The damage to to the Saudi Arabian Al Qaeda faction and to Iran itself will be minimal. Perhaps it would spiral into a true shooting war between the two, but I doubt it (Muslims seem to prefer their wars to be conducted via terrorism, not full national total war), and, further, for those who clamor for "stability" -- well, it would be a very unstable situation.

Those who believe such an outcome is inevitable anyway -- truly inevitable, not a damn thing anyone could conceivably do about it -- may in good conscience agitate for an immediate and full withdrawal from Iraq. After all, if this terrible outcome is predestined anyhow, there's hardly any good reason to waste more American lives delaying the fated.

But I don't hear a lot of clamoring for immediate and full withdrawal and surrender from the actual Democratic politicians in positions of responsibility (and I use that term advisedly). They seem to favor a 4-6 month timetable for withdrawal. With all due respect -- why the delay? What will the troops be doing during this 4-6 month period? Patrolling? Hunting for Al Qaeda? Why? If it truly is inevitable we cannot stabilize Iraq, why on earth would a politician suggest we waste more American lives for up to a half a year for no reason?

But of course there is a reason-- a political one. Democrats do not want to be "blamed" for losing the war, for calling for immediate withdrawal and surrender, and so they refuse to follow the logical consequences of their claims. They're willing to see another 500 or 1000 Americans die in order to avoid paying any sort of political price in arranging the surrender in Iraq.

Now, to be sure, there is a political calculation in Bush's (and my) position as well: I'd like to try to actually win the war, and victory, if acheived, would indeed be helpful to "my side." So, to grudgingly examine my position (and Bush's) through a cynical lens, I too am willing to see American soldiers die for political purposes.

But the two positions are not quite equivalent. For, between victory and slow-motion surrender, only one of the two outcomes is actually in the national interest. In America's interest, you know, the American interest the rootin'-tootin' super-patriots of the left claim to cherish above all else.

If Democrats want to be grown ups on the war, then they should immediately attempt to cut off all funding for the war. If they truly believe it's unwinnable, and if they really care about the US troops they always claim to be so concerned about, what possible logic is there in keeping our boys in harm's way for another half-year?

What possible reason, apart from political advantage? This is how Barbara Boxer chooses to "speak truth to power" -- by demanding more US troops die in a cause she believes is hopeless, just so no mean conservatives can say she helped lose the war in her next election?

On the other hand, if the surge -- and surge strategy, which seems to be more of an aggressive, no-holds-barred, and no-excuses-from-Maliki strategy -- actually has a chance to work, it would, in fact, be worth paying an additional cost in lives, to redeem those lives already lost, and to prevent further loss of life in years to come.

Does the Democratic position -- "let more troops die for no reason, jus so we won't be left holding the bag" -- exchange any deaths to save any lives, apart from some Democrats' political lives?

I don't think so. I'd like Ultimate Warrior Glenn Greenwald and the rest of the Task Force Bravo Channel to explain to me how the Democrats' current symbolic concern for the lives of American soldiers is not a monstrously, well-nigh murderously cynical calculation.

Allah Points Out... That Greenwald and the rest of the soon-to-be-patrolling-Kandahar nutroots don't support a slow-motion surrender, but rather an immediate one. Well, of course I know that. I'm asking for them to call a spade a spade and condemn their craven Democrat leaders for being far more monstrously cynical, and far more blithely willing to kill more American soldiers, not in hopes of an American victory, but only in hopes for a Democratic victor in '08.

The email exchange, if you care:

Allah: I don't think Greenwald and co. support the Democratic position, though

that's the hole in the conclusion

me: no
neither are they willing to admit the monsrous cynicism of it
If bush is cynical for trying to win a war, what of Democrats trying to lose a war-- albeit over a course of six months with additional casualties?
do we need six months to surrender?

Can't we emulate the French and do this more speedily?

Allah: so your point is about phased withdrawal versus immediate withdrawal
6:53 PM me: yes, and it's about the Dems' willingness to sacrifice Americans for a cause they claim is lost, in order to aid a more importnat cause, i.e., winning the White house in 2008

Whereas Bush is willing to sacrifice Americans for a cause he doesn't believe is lost, and, if he turns out to be right, will in fact accrue to the American interest

The Fightin' Fightin' Nutroots of course doesn't want to fight in Iraq at all. Fair enough -- that's a permissible position (though, I think, influenced greatly by their desire that the US cannot be permitted to win in Iraq, because such a victory would aid Bush as well as the despised American militaristic bloodlust).

But fine.

But please explain what possible benefit the US gets out of following the mainline, compromise Democratic position and killing more US soldiers in a doomed cause.

It's rather obvious what good comes from a US victory, should such a thing be possible.

But what possible good does it do to waste more lives in a war you've already decided to abandon?

Greenwald and the rest of the leftwing CyOps brigade don't favor the slow-motion surrender, but they seem to be willing to acquiesce in additional unnecessary deaths so long as it gets them the prize, the repudiation of Bush and the repudiation of further uses of American military force.

Reality check: Whether we attempt to win this war, or go along with the Democrats 4-6 month slow-motion surrender, we have, at most, 4-6 months of active warfare remaining anyhow. The public will not permit any more warfare than that (except if the new plan actually shows some success, but in that case, the assumption underlying the calls for withdrawal -- "defeat is inevitable" -- will ahve been demonstrated to be false).

So it seems that we're all agreed we will spend 4-6 months in Iraq either way, 4-6 months of US troops in harm's way.

The only live question, it seems to me, is whether we will spend that 4-6 months, and the 500 or so American lives lost during that period, trying to win the war or simply playing the farce of Mystery Surrender Theater 3000.

Beth Asks:

1tk) 2 So, to grudgingly examine my position (and Bush's) through a cynical lens, I too am willing to see American soldiers die for political purposes.

OK, that's not really what you meant, is it?

I really couldn't care less about which political side "wins" the issue of Iraq. I want America to win, regardless of who sets the policy that enables victory (stability).

No, I meant to admit that I would benefit, in political terms, from a victory. I'm just trying to be upfront that I have an agenda here too that may influence my thinking. In noting that the other side had a vested political interest in failure, it would be willfully blind not to concede that I, too, have a vested political interest in victory.

Of course, my vested political interest happens to, felicitously enough, coincide with the American political interest.

digg this
posted by Ace at 07:33 PM

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