Carol Platt Liebau: The Murphy Plan

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Murphy Plan

Mike Murphy's idea -- draft the Democrats to help run the Iraq war -- would be an interesting one if it were at all practicable (and, of course, if the U.S. Constitution were written differently).

Murphy notes that President Bush is being hobbled by the fact that the war has become a partisan matter. His solution is to convene a "war council" including Democrats like Biden, Levin, Skelton and Reyes to formulate a bipartisan policy for conducting the war.

Let's start with perhaps the most intractable reason this idea can't work. It's called "The Constitution" -- which, it must be noted, sets forth a system under which the President, alone, is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces (making Murphy's analogy to Winston Churchill's war cabinet inaposite). No President would surrender his constitutional prerogatives -- nor should he -- to the extent that Murphy advises.

Second, Murphy's approach suggests that the Democrats have an interest in the run up to 2008 to seeing an outcome in Iraq that's favorable. I wish I could believe that there are some Democrats who are willing to put victory in the war on terror about partisan domestic political advantage, but if there are some, I'm still waiting to find them. Just the fact that they've been willing to pile on the President -- despite the fact that they, too, believed Saddam had WMD and advocated the invasion -- displays a stunning level of bad faith. Putting presidential aspirants like Biden on such a panel means we'll get lots of preening, little solid help.

Third, Democrats like Carl Levin simply want the United States to "declare victory" and leave Iraq. If there isn't consensus on what the military goal in the country should be, how, exactly, are people supposed to arrive at a consensus about how to achieve it?

In a world where the sun always shone, the birds always sang, and children played in chocolate ice cream mud puddles (under a different Constitution), Murphy's idea would be a great one. Given the world as it is, however, there's reason to believe that it's simply another moderate Republican effort to sell out to Democrats for political cover.

2 Comments:

Blogger wile e coyote said...

Before a military strategy can be developed, the Administration must first determine its political goals.

A unified and pluralistic Iraq at peace with its neighbors may not be politically possible, in which case, the military effort (and sacrifice) will be fruitless.

The political impossibility of a unified Iraq does not mean withdraw. An acceptable fallback position may be to partition Iraq (which has no real historical, political or cultural integrity) into the three provinces that existed in Ottoman times. This outcome resembles what happened in the former Yugoslavia.

Alternatively, we could support a Kurdish takeover of the country, recognizing that pacifying Iraq may require the means of the old regime, to be applied by a Kurdish surrogate.

This all begs the question of our grand strategy, of which Iraq is just a part. We have chosen to fight petroleum dictatorships by midwifing a market-oriented, pluralistic democracy in the heart of the Moslem world. Another element of grand strategy might be to impose a $2 gallon gasoline tax on ourselves to drive down the price of oil and to deny our enemies (Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela) the means to fight us.

9:18 AM  
Blogger eLarson said...

As Michael Ledeen points out, Iran has been at war with us for the past 27 years. Unless we deal with them, there will be no winning "the bigger war".

Does this mean we simply march out of Iraq and into Iran?

Not necessarily. Ledeen puts forward the notion of fomenting a demcratic revolution in Iran. He offered no details on HOW to do that, if there are means we are not already employing. (At least he did not in 12/12/2006 interview on the Laura Ingraham show.)

12:47 PM  

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