Friday, December 29, 2006

Sorry, Senator Lieberman, I Don't Buy It

If you haven't done so yet, please read Joe Lieberman's editorial in the December 29 Washington Post and see if you find it as unconvincing as I did.

Lieberman starts out:
I've just spent 10 days traveling in the Middle East and speaking to leaders there, all of which has made one thing clearer to me than ever: While we are naturally focused on Iraq, a larger war is emerging. On one side are extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran, on the other moderates and democrats supported by the United States. Iraq is the most deadly battlefield on which that conflict is being fought. How we end the struggle there will affect not only the region but the worldwide war against the extremists who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001.

Okay: Joe Lieberman spends 10 days in the Middle East and comes back with an editorial right out of the Karl Rove playbook.

What leaders did he speak to? The ones who told him what he wanted to hear, apparently. Yes, a larger war is emerging. It's been emerging ever since we broke the cookie jar, and our presence does not appear to be containing it. And it's a funny thing how Iran is now the source of all the extremism and terrorism. Also notice how shortly after Lieberman mentions Iran, he makes the ubiquitous reference to 9/11. Is this the new subliminal message, that Iran was behind those attacks?

Lieberman follows with:
Because of the bravery of many Iraqi and coalition military personnel and the recent coming together of moderate political forces in Baghdad, the war is winnable. We and our Iraqi allies must do what is necessary to win it.

It's way past time to stop pretending we ever had a real coalition in this war. While I'm sure some members of Iraq's security forces has performed bravely, the overall track record has been one of corruption, infiltration by private militias, and unwillingness to participate in operations. This "coming together of moderate political forces in Baghdad" must have been really, really recent. Maybe, like Mr. Bush, Lieberman is playing fast and loose with tense. Maybe what he really meant was that he's confident moderate political forces will come together. And who exactly are our "allies" in Iraq. The Shiites? The Kurds? The Sunnis?

Lieberman says that the problem in Iraq is "not an absence of Iraqi political will or American diplomatic initiative, both of which are increasing and improving." Where's the evidence that either of those things are increasing or improving?

"If Iraq descends into full scale civil war," Lieberman says, "it will be a tremendous battlefield victory for al-Qaeda and Iran."

It is a full scale civil war, Joe, and a "battlefield victory" is something an army wins in an actual battle on an actual battlefield: al-Qaeda and Iran aren't going to fight a battle like that with anyone.

Lieberman gives us a number of anonymous testimonials. Some colonels he met with said we need more troops, and that we can "win." A "moderate Palestinian leader" told him "that a premature U.S. exit from Iraq would be a victory for Iran." (Iran again. Hmm.)

Rather than engaging in "hand wringing" or "carping," Lieberman tells us, we must summon "vision" and "will" and "courage" and blah, blah, blah.

Joe left "resolve" out of the piece, but he slipped in most of the usual buzz words: some form of "victory" five times, 9 instances of "moderate" or "moderation," 8 uses of "extreme" or "extremist," "moral" or "morally" three times, six repetitions of "terror."

We've listened to this kind of nonsense for years. Enough.

What's going on here, under the fluff, is that the war Lieberman has avidly supported from the beginning has gone to perdition in shopping cart, and he and the neocons are looking for one last chance to redeem themselves. Well, maybe that should be the "next" chance to redeem themselves.

Leading neoconservative Bill Kristol doesn't think a "surge" will do the trick. He thinks establishing sufficient security to allow the political process to succeed will take a longer commitment to increased troop levels. As much as I hate to admit it, I think he's right--a surge of six months or so probably won't establish the security environment we're looking for.

And I can't imagine that six months into an escalated engagement, Mr. Bush will turn around and say, "Well, it didn't work. My bad. Everybody come home."

One can't predict for certain what may happen if we send 10,000 or more troops into Iraq, but as we have seen, counting on a best case scenario to unfold is foolhardy. What the Liebermans of this world don't want to tell us is that if we up the ante, we'll likely go big and long, and possibly broke.

And we still might "not win."

Post Script

I just heard on MSNBC that the Iraqi government has announced Saddam Hussein will be executed by "Saturday at the latest."

Stand by for things to go ape.


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.


  1. Sad indeed, Wiliam.

  2. Anonymous12:26 PM

    I wonder who came up with the brilliant idea of killing him on the eve of hajj, the greatest sunni-festival of offering? I dont think youll see to many tears for Saddam, though..