Two quotes of the day ...
If the policy is to more rapidly Iraqify the situation -- as in Vietnamization during the Vietnam War -- then that is another version of cutting and running. One way to cut and run is to simply say we're pulling out. Another is to prematurely turn over security to Iraqi forces and draw down American forces. That's a near-term prescription for disaster.
Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del)
The United States will fail in Iraq if our adversaries believe they can outlast us. If our troop deployment schedules are more important than our staying power, we embolden our enemies and make it harder for our friends to take risks on our behalf. When the United States announces a schedule for training and deploying Iraqi security officers, then announces the acceleration of that schedule, then accelerates it again, it sends a signal of desperation, not certitude. When in the course of days we increase by thousands our estimate of the numbers of Iraqis trained, it sounds like somebody is cooking the books. When we do this as our forces are coming under increasing attack, we suggest to friends and allies alike that our ultimate goal in Iraq is leaving as soon as possible â not meeting our strategic objective of building a free and democratic country in the heart of the Arab world.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz)
No doubt about it. We are in a really bad position. We should have given our operation a stronger and more <$Ad$>durable international footing when we could act from a position of relative strength in the spring and early summer. We should also have created a road-map for the transition to at least nominal Iraqi sovereignty that was clear, predictable, and rapid.
But things which make sense when done with consideration and from a position of strength don't necessarily make sense when done at gunpoint. Let's not fool ourselves. The calculus at the White House is being driven by an effort to ward off a potential political transition in the United States rather than an effort to lay the groundwork for one in Iraq. This is political -- as many of the original architects of this war are now realizing and ruing.
Let's be honest: if the United States Army can't get a handle on this insurgency, how likely is it that a hastily-assembled US-built Iraqi Army will do any better? Same goes for a hastily-assembled Iraqi government put together in a climate of US withdrawal. We've boxed ourselves into a very bad range of choices. But if we're going to cut and run, let's at least be honest about what we're doing and clear-eyed about the consequences.
What we need is some clear thinking about how best to manage this situation for a good outcome for American interests.
Unfortunately what we're getting from the right, or at least some on the right, is the ridiculousness of today's editorial
on the Wall Street Journal
editorial page, which essentially argues that it's all the State Department's fault. Where we went wrong, they say, was in not turning the place over to Ahmed Chalabi in the first place.
This really is the ultimate articulation of the Chalabistas' trinity of accountability, responsibility and blame ...
Neocons come up with the harebrained idea. The US Army takes it on the chin. And the CIA, the State Department, the Democrats, miscellaneous foreign moderates and other deviants get saddled with the blame.
A nice division of labor, ain't it?
Everyone needs to lend a hand to figure out how to prevent a descent into catastrophe. But first there's got to be some accountability, a threshold recognition that the people who navigated us into this mess aren't the best suited to help us find our way out of it.
Telling us we didn't give them enough control over things the first time isn't a particularly convincing response.