Tuesday, May 01, 2007

That said ...

When Mark goes off his rails on foreign policy I feel that it is instructive to correct him. This is particularly true regarding issues concerning the war.

Mark asks what reason he has to believe Bush that the war is winnable? My answer would be none. For better or worse, Bush has left himself with no credibility whatsoever. Myself, Victor, and Bottum have all explained the reasons for this, but the simple fact of the matter is that it is true. Concerning WFB, it has been apparent to me for some time that he stopped supporting the Iraq war when he lost faith in the Bush administration. Since nothing has been done to earn back that faith, it doesn't surprise me that he has zero confidence in the man. And I might I add that his efforts to buy Tenet's silence by offering him a Medal of Freedom seem to have backfired quite spectacularly.

So let us turn instead to General Petraeus here and here as well as to Max Boot here for a frank discussion of the situation. If he wishes to accuse General Petraeus of falsehood, I would put to him the same question that Our Lord put to the Sanhedrin: If he spoke wrongly, then please state where, otherwise why do you lash out at him?

Mark quotes Rod Dreher, who has a lengthy excerpt from Lieutenant Colonel Yingling on the failures of our military leadership regarding Iraq before Rod concludes that the war is unwinnable and near as I can determine basically calls for an accounting of the American civilian and military leadership, the press corps, and the general public. I suspect that LTC Yingling might have some issues about taking it that far, due in no small part to the fact that much of what he says has already been stated ad nauseam in the pages of the Weekly Standard as well as, from among others, Senator McCain. What exactly does Rod believe that all of the conservative criticism of Rumsfeld from the Weekly Standard was about? If anything, I think that the biggest political failing of the American right in general was that so many of its activists were (and are) enamoured with Rumsfeld's tough-talking style and general demeanor that they failed to recognize why anyone who wasn't crazy would have a serious problem with the policies that he and his subordinates pursued concerning the direction of the US military. Given the successes that the surge has enjoyed to date, it seems to me as self-evident that they were wrong on every substantive point that adding more troops would not improve the security situation.

I would also take the opportunity to note to Mark that the Assyrian Christians, whose safety he has stated in the past apparently outweigh those of the Muslim population, are going to get their own province parallel to the enormous degree of automony already enjoyed by the Kurds should Petraeus prevail. To the best of my knowledge, this is all but unparalleled in the Middle East outside of perhaps Lebanon. Mark has repeatedly framed his decision to turn against the war in Iraq at least partially on the grounds that it has harmed the Iraqi Christian community. To him I would throw down the gauntlet of how he could make such claims then only to abandon them now in their hour of hope and greatest need?


Donald R. McClarey said...

Is the war winnable is a funny question to ask about the Iraq war. By any standard known to history, we have won. Our troops control the territory, Saddam and many of his henchmen are worm food, a democratically elected government has been installed, and the Shia and the Kurds are no longer treated as helots. We are fighting a bitter insurgency that specializes in attacking civilians but poses no threat to us in regard to control of the nation. As even the New York times was recently forced to admit in an April 29th story by Kirk Semple, things have turned around in the strategic province of Anbar:

"Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence is ebbing in many areas, shops and schools are reopening, police forces are growing and the insurgency appears to be in retreat.

“Many people are challenging the insurgents,” said the governor of Anbar, Maamoon S. Rahid, though he quickly added, “We know we haven’t eliminated the threat 100 percent.”

Many Sunni tribal leaders, once openly hostile to the American presence, have formed a united front with American and Iraqi government forces against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia."

What we have in regard to Iraq is not an unwinnable conflict but an American public that is unwilling to pay the price of blood necessary to ensure that Iraq remains in friendly hands. Every American death is a tragedy over there, my next door neighbor just last month buried her Marine son, but compared to casualties in past wars, we have lost in Iraq what we would have lost in a medium sized battle in the Civil War or World War II. However, we have always been an impatient people and war weariness has usually set in about the third year in any conflict we have fought. I think we will prevail in Iraq, or rather continue to prevail in Iraq, solely because President Bush will keep the troops there until his last day in office, in spite of having most of the American public arrayed against him. He has made many mistakes in this war, but in a time where most office holders take the weather-vane as their role model, Bush is a true leader.

Bubba said...

"What exactly does Rod believe that all of the conservative criticism of Rumsfeld from the Weekly Standard was about?"

I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't aware of the criticism. He riffs on a leftist stereotype of mainstream conservatives and in fact only acknowledges the writing of conservative pundits when they agree with him.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Alleged concern for Assyrian Christians, Chaldean Christians and other Middle Eastern Christians is the whip with which the Mark Sheas and their fellow travellers in the Church use to beat any Catholic who has the audacity to support the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq. I say "alleged" because their hero, John Paul II, their ultimate arbiter of all things geopolitical concerning the Middle East, really showed no concern about Middle Eastern Christians during his pontificate.

Renzo Guolo, professor of the sociology of religion at the University of Trieste and an expert in Muslim fundamentalism, wrote in his book, "Xenophobes and Xenophiles: Italians and Islam," that the late pope would not allow any discussion of the plight of such Christians in his presence. Sandro Magister of Italy's L'Espresso wrote that the late pope was so willing to forge an alliance with Islam that he was willing to overlook the transgressions against Middle Eastern Christians in Arab-Muslim dictatorships.

The Sheas of the world have learned their lessons well from the bishops, who use the poor as a whip to beat the rest of the Church into a manipulative state of guilt. The Church doesn't view the poor as human beings created in God's image -- and, as such, have talents, abilities, minds and will. The Church views the poor as wards or as puppy dogs incapable of making decisions for themselves. Consequently, the Church works to keep the poor impoverished (or, at least, at not much beyond subsistence level). That way, their value as a weapon is maintained.