"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Friday, June 17, 2005

Rock --> Us --> Hard Place 

Kevin Drum has this one exactly right. He begins by pointing out that Iraq has officially, and as a matter of mathematical certitude, become unwinnable. The insurgency cannot and will not be defeated without substantially more boots on the ground, but - oh, look! - we are utterly and completely fresh out of boots. Even with a draft (which ain't gonna happen, but play along), it would be some time before trained and equipped combat units could be deployed in theater. There is no strategy that will lead to military victory in Iraq that doesn't involve magic.

So now there is an increasing push to withdraw - but what happens then? Drum connects the dots:
But here's the depressing thought: what happens if Democrats press for withdrawal and get their way? What then?

Liberals are fond of Vietnam analogies, so I've got one handy here: it will play out just like the aftermath of that war did. Something like this:

1. Democrats demand an end to the war. Increasingly, polls appear to back them up.

2. Under pressure, a Republican president finally does just that. After some suitably face saving nation building and treaty signing, troops are withdrawn.

3. As virtually all observers fear, Iraq then falls into bloody civil war. Hundreds of thousands die. Neighboring countries are pulled in. Eventually, a new dictator, perhaps a Shiite ayatollah, takes control and forms a passionately anti-American government.

4. Once again, America will appear to have been humiliated by a ragtag army. And despite the fact that polls seemed to demonstrate support for withdrawal, the aftermath will sit poorly with the American public. What's more, they'll know who to blame: Democrats.


Liberals today tend to view Vietnam as a vindication: We were right! It was a horrible war! But history suggests the American public never really agreed with that, regardless of what they told pollsters after the fact. After all, George McGovern ran on a platform of withdrawal in 1972 and suffered one of the worst defeats in American history. In all, following the period in the mid-60s during which Vietnam went sour, Republicans won five out of six elections. Only Watergate allowed Jimmy Carter to eke out a victory in the middle of that run.

Bingo. Or should that be "checkmate?"

 

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