Wednesday, July 11, 2007

# Posted 11:32 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

PLAN B IS A DELUSION: Stephen Biddle is one of the top military analysts in the country. He wrote in this morning's Post that:
Growing opposition to the surge has not yet translated into support for outright withdrawal -- few lawmakers are comfortable with abandoning Iraq or admitting defeat. The result has been a search for some kind of politically moderate "Plan B" that would split the difference between surge and withdrawal.

The problem is that these politics do not fit the military reality of Iraq. Many would like to reduce the U.S. commitment to something like half of today's troop presence there. But it is much harder to find a mission for the remaining 60,000 to 80,000 soldiers that makes any sense militarily.
I don't have the expertise necessary to agree or disagree, but the political implications of Biddle's argument are quite unusual. He's telling us that the respected centrists have a much less coherent, sensible position than either of the poles. Of course, neither the advocates of extending the surge nor those of immediate withdrawal want to acknowledge that the other has a reasonable argument. Yet Biddle says they both do.

Tom Friedman [behind the NYT firewall] agrees with Biddle's main point:
The minute we start to withdraw, all hell will break loose in the areas we leave, and there will be a no-holds-barred contest for power among Iraqi factions. Our staying there with, say, half as many troops, will not be sustainable.
And yet Friedman supports withdrawal, because it means no more dead Americans and gives us a longshot at making peace by scaring the Iraqis into a compromise. In contrast to just about everyone else who wants a withdrawal, Friedman is honest about the probable consequences:
Getting out...means more ethnic, religious and tribal killings all across Iraq. It will be one of the most morally ugly scenes you can imagine — no less than Darfur. You will see U.S. troops withdrawing and Iraqi civilians and soldiers who have supported us clinging to our tanks for protection as we rumble out the door.
Another Darfur and another Saigon. A moral failure and an epic humiliation. That is the cost of surrender. If America decides that is our best option, we should do so in full knowledge of its drawbacks. But I am not yet persuaded.

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Of course that assumes that Friedman knows what he is talking about. Given his record, I wouldn't trust him to tell me that water was wet.
That is the cost of surrender.

No, that is the cost of involving the nation in useless, needless wars based on false premises.

There is no greater failing in human endeavour than war. It is not something to embrace, it is something to avoid at all costs and use only when no other alternative is available.
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