Bush and Iraq.

July 24, 2007 § Leave a comment

 

Jon Cohen and Dan Balz write in The Washington Post: “Most Americans see President Bush as intransigent on Iraq and prefer that the Democratic-controlled Congress make decisions about a possible withdrawal of U.S. forces, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. . . .

“[B]y a large margin, Americans trust Democrats rather than the president to find a solution to a conflict that remains enormously unpopular. . . .

“Many would like Congress to assert itself on Iraq, and about half of poll respondents said congressional Democrats have done ‘too little’ to get Bush to change his war policy. . . .

White House Watch — News on President George W Bush and the Bush Administration – washingtonpost.com

The problem is that the administration lacks competenece at strategy and diplomacy. I think the situation we are in is as follows:

1. We were very wrong to go into Iraq

2. We might have been wrong to go into Afghanistan earlier. Afghanistan represents the same imperial power denying reality (our support of the Taliban against the Soviets)

3. We have stirred up a massive reaction against us, not only from within Islam, but all our Allies: Europe, Japan, Latin America.

4. To pull out of Iraq now would leave a much stronger Islamic fundamentalism and secular Islamic hatred of the US in place and entrenched.  It would also probably lead to increased cross border violence in the Middle East.

5. This logic should lead to the conclusion that we should stay.

6. But the reality is the U.S. does not have the diplomatic skill to participate in and help create the necessary multilateral relationships to carry out this policy.

7. Further, the U.S. goals for oil and bases in the Middle East would not be let go off by this administration and hence a modest strategy of trying to win friends and stabilize the Middle East is undermined by these closely held goals of the administration.

8. The result is we lack all credibility that in fact requires a change of heart and perspective towards the deeper dilemmas of the Middle East and to abandon our narrow support of economic interests and our support of Israel in its current belligerent form.

9. It follows that the only viable path is to announce that we give up the bases and the embassy and start withdrawing troops.

10. Since the White House will not agree to this Congress must take stronger steps to withdraw authorization and to fund only a drawdown of the troops and equipment.

11. This leaves to a later date the issue of the reorientation of American policies at the strategic level.  That puts great pressure on whoever wins the next presidential election.  Problems with Afghanistan and Pakistan are too likely to lead the next administration to find continuity in policy and not do the necessary reorientation.

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