WELL ORGANIZED DEFEATISM
Marc Schulman posted today posted MoveOn.org’s ” Talking Points” for writing letters to the editor to papers across the country advocating a time-table pull-out of troops from Iraq in the wake of Bush’s speech. The key one is here because it gives away the game:
“We need a real exit plan with a real timeline providing real accountability for our leaders. We need to turn control of the training of Iraqi forces and the rebuilding of Iraq to the international community. And we must renounce permanent military bases in Iraq because that angers the Iraqi people.”
First, there are a number of good reasons for some kind of potential troop reduction. Resting and rebuilding overstretched and overstressed units. Movement to another deployment to carry on the war in a different theater in the GWOT. Shifting roles for U.S. military personnel within Iraq vis-a-vis Iraqi forces as Iraqi units increase their operational comptency. These would all be examples of reasons to alter troop levels. It’s a safe bet that none of these reasons are foremost in the minds of those who wrote MoveOn.org’s talking points.
I won’t bother with critiquing the self-evidently asinine “We need to turn control of the training of Iraqi forces and the rebuilding of Iraq to the international community.” That’s a throw-away line to reassure the nervous within MoveOn.org’s email list that there’s another form international 911 than the United States military to help the Iraqis. There isn’t an ” international community” with the military resources to undertake such a task, even if they had the will.
Telegraphing our ” exit strategy” with a public timetable is not designed to ” hold our leaders accountable”but to enable the insurgency’s strategic planning. It is designed to demoralize the Iraqi government soldiers and policemen who will then begin looking ahead to the day the U.S. pulls out and encourage their collaboration with insurgency. It is designed to create an inflexible and artificial constraint on the ability of American commanders and the Iraqi government to respond to the insurgency.
Strategically and tactically it represents some supremely wrongheaded advice from people who have a political vested interest in seeing bad things happen and who will take no responsibility for events once their advice is followed. If you pull troops out you can just pull them out, a ” timetable” doesn’t add value, it increases problems that make actually pulling out troops more difficult and costly.
I wager MoveOn.org’s leadership worries a great deal more about a stabilized and democratizing Iraq with a few American military bases in 2008 than an Iraq sliding in to chaos and civil war.