Carol Platt Liebau: Hardly a Pointless Question

Monday, April 09, 2007

Hardly a Pointless Question

In the LA Times, Andrew Bacevich argues that the question, "What is your plan for Iraq?" is as pointless as it is futile. In his view, the Iraq war has been lost and the only question is whether President Bush's successor will admit it.

Bacevich obviously misunderstands both the importance of the question and the ongoing threat of Islamofascist terror. It is important to know what plan each presidential candidate has for Iraq, because his (or her) approach is indicative of how seriously they take the war on terror generally and how committed to a US victory they are. People who are willing to give the surge time to work are people who take national security seriously; those who want to pull out immediately or on a defined date are those who either haven't thought or don't care about the ramifications of such a course on US national security.

Bacevich writes:

Candidates who still find merit in an open-ended global war on terror should explain how we prevail in such an enterprise. Given the lessons of Iraq, what exactly does it mean to wage such a global war? Where can we expect to fight next, and against whom? What will victory look like?

His formulation is revealing. No one finds "merit" in an "open-ended global war on terror." But the fact is that this is a war that wasn't started by the US, nor is it one that can be eliminated by the US simply insisting either that it can't be won or that it doesn't really exist. The threat will stalk us until we address it. Ironically, Bacevich seems to demand a theoretical framework for understanding the war on terror -- which President Bush offered -- but is unwilling to do what it takes (starting by winning in Iraq) to make that vision a reality.

In fact, it's fair to ask Bacevich and his ilk a few questions of their own. To echo his own words, those who simply want to surrender in the Iraq war and the war on terror generally should explain how we remain safe after pursuing a course that emboldens our enemies and seems to vindicate Osama Bin Laden's assessment of the west as decadent, fat, lazy and weak. Given the lessons of surrender (from Lebanon through the Clinton years), what does it mean if we simply turn a blind eye to Islamofascist aggression? Where can we expect to be hit next, and by whom? What does "peaceful coexistence" with people who want to kill us and change our way of life look like?


Blogger stackja1945 said...

History tells us that FDR did not surrender. Hitler's successor did. And again HST did not surrender. Tojo successor did.
So what has changed since then?

6:32 PM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...


By LAUREN FRAYER, Associated Press

BAGHDAD - Tens of thousands of Shiites — a sea of women in black abayas and men waving Iraqi flags — rallied Monday to demand that U.S. forces leave their country. Some ripped apart American flags and tromped across a Stars and Stripes rug.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Tens of thousands? Yeah, sure there were. We hear this everytime there is a demonstration against American or conservative policy. A real count always lowers the numbers, but it sounds good to report "tens of thousands". Grain of salt.

6:39 AM  

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