Saturday, October 02, 2004

Plan to get out of Iraq?: "What is needed is a policy that takes deadly seriously what Iraqis believe about why the war began and what the United States intends. These beliefs -- that the United States came only to get its hands on Iraq's oil, to benefit Israel's security, and to establish a puppet government and a permanent military presence through which it could control Iraq and the rest of the region -- are wrong. But beliefs passionately held are as important as facts, because they powerfully affect behavior. What we see as a tragic series of American missteps, Iraqis interpret -- with reason when seen through their eyes -- as evidence of evil intent."

These are odd remarks in this Washington Post article. Of course the writer has simply described accurately the objectives of the war. But then added the comment 'this is not true.'

"To succeed, the United States needs to do what it can to undermine each of these convictions. The president -- no one less -- needs to state formally and unequivocally that the United States will not maintain a permanent military presence in Iraq, and to repeat it at every opportunity. The phrase "enduring bases" should be erased and the construction of permanent facilities halted. A transparent mechanism that makes clear that no Iraqi oil revenue will touch American fingers should be created, and questions about what happened to that revenue over the past year should be quickly and forthrightly answered. The U.S. Embassy should be drastically cut in size and moved outside the Green Zone (to Camp Victory, for instance) to emphasize that the United States is no longer running the country and that it and the Iraqi government are not one and the same. A statement signed jointly by Iraq's neighbors should pledge the United States and each of them to respect Iraq's territorial integrity within its present borders. And the president needs to address many Iraqis' conviction that elections held under the occupation will be fixed, by saying loudly and often that the United States favors no candidate or party and will accept whatever government Iraqis elect."

Now we see where the thinking is going. What the writer is saying in Washington newspeak is simply that the the war is a failure and a disaster, and that the US must therefore retreat. The plan for the retreat as outlined offers the best chance for the actual achievement of the stated goals of sovereignty and democracy and for a stable situation following the withdrawal, but equally represents a recognition of total defeat for the US. For this reason it will be hard for any President to swallow. It would take real statesmanship to do so.

No comments: