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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

# Posted 12:44 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

CHUCK HAGEL'S NON-WITHDRAWAL WITHDRAWAL: Liz Mair is mulling over the Nebraska senator's suggestion on Fox News Sunday that America begin the withdrawal process now but without a fixing a date for its end, lest the insurgents know exactly how long they have to wait.

I agree with Liz that the theoretically optimal solution to the situation in Iraq is more US personnel. A lot more. And I also agree with her that it simply isn't going to happen.

So why start withdrawing now as opposed to waiting for the Iraqi army and police to become more proficient? According to Hagel,
I've said start withdrawing troops. We have to show the Iraqi people — and this obviously cuts right to the great anti-Americanism by any poll, by any measurements there — that we are not there to predetermine their outcome. We're not there to control or to govern.
But are the insurgents really fighting us and slaughtering Shi'ite civilians because they're afraid of a permanent US occupation?

I don't think so. I might even suggest that Hagel has borrowed a very unfortunate page from the Jack Murtha playbook. As Murtha often says, the problem in Iraq is that we have become the enemy.

Well, there may be plenty of anti-Americanism in Iraq (except for Kurdistan), but the Shi'ites want an ally against the Sunni and the Sunni have begun to discover that the Shi'ites death squads are far more brutal than the Americans.

The challenge in Iraq is to stop rampant sectarian violence, not to persuade its citizens that we want to go home ASAP.

UPDATE: BDP fisks Hagel.
(6) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
I'm not sure on Hagel's plan. I do have a conservative friend that has some experience in the middle east that talks about the culture of haggling. That in some respects Hegel's idea is not as far off as possible. Iraq is never going to be what it could have been post Saddam or the time table will be very far behind in years of progress. The mistakes both the normal and incompetent ones have left us with a lot of bad choices.. Hagel's idea is not as bad as some who dislike his moderate position make it out to be. Hegel one position is that the military is not a force that needs to sit and absorb casualties for long periods of time with little hope of it bring about a different conclusion. The government is going to find middle ground and stand up a force that protects most people or their will be civil war.. (Some think we are part way on this path)... Either way the only thing we can do is slow it down and that cost is pretty steep. If we had the troops to deploy a larger force then we should have done it two years ago...

What is your solution David? Occupation is only a short term approach and the government has not done its job...
 
Hegel one position is that the military is not a force that needs to sit and absorb casualties for long periods of time with little hope of it bring about a different conclusion.

But honestly, the military is not even absorbing that many casualties. That gets to the heart of the problem-- the Administration policymakers and the military agreed with the Murthas and Hagels and many others (including much of the Left) that we would be the enemy and that too many troops would just inflame opinion against us. We really terribly underestimated the propensity of groups to go after Iraqi civilians.

Practically speaking, our military is hardly taking any casualties. Insurgents and terrorists of all sorts have found it much easier to kill Iraqi civilians, something which we did not anticipate.
 
"The challenge in Iraq is to stop rampant sectarian violence."

I completely agree with this. However, I also agree with Jack Murtha's 'very unfortunate page' that "we have become the enemy."

Hence, we are not part of the solution. So this occupation is pointless for the Iraqis and it is pointless for us.
 
Hence, we are not part of the solution. So this occupation is pointless for the Iraqis and it is pointless for us.

And do you believe that regardless of what the Iraqis themselves and their government itself says?
 
I don't think the reason Hagel is talking about withdrawing is quite the same as why Murtha is. I don't think it's the "We've become the enemy" argument. I think it's the "our people want the troops home and they're tired of seeing casualties-- and seeing so much money being spent" argument being voiced. Usually with Hagel, there's a money concern at the root of any proposal. And fundamentally, that and the public perception (even if it is a misperception) that our boys are getting slaughtered over there, is not going to change. So, we need to do something or the voters will get Nancy Pelosi, Murtha and Co to do something. And their something will be far, far worse. I am inclined to agree with Hagel, given the fact that deploying more troops is a politically impossibility.

Liz Mair, Editor WWW.GOPPROGRESS.COM

This has been cross-posted at my blog, WWW.GOPPROGRESS.COM
 
John,

"And do you believe that regardless of what the Iraqis themselves and their government itself says?"

This is a reasonable question.

If large numbers of Iraqis say that it is 'OK to kill Americans' and if large majorities say we should leave, then we would be fools to stay. I'll be blunt and say that I don't care a fig what their 'government' says.

The evidence that I've seen, the Gallup polls taken in Iraq that Murtha quotes, indicate this is the case.

So, I'm not believing this, 'regardless.'
I'm believing it, 'regardfully.'

And if you believe the evidence, I think you'd come to the same conclusion.
 
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