Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On Murtha and Iraq

Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha addressed a throng of reporters last week concerning the Iraq disaster. He described administration flailing as, "a flawed policy wrapped in illusion."

Murtha is a Marine veteran who served as an intelligence officer in Vietnam. But that didn't stop a little tart from Ohio from implying that Murtha was a coward. Likewise, White House press secretary, and paid prevaricator, Scott McClellan said Murtha was endorsing the foreign policy positions of Michael Moore.

My knowledge of Murtha's record is actually quite limited, though I recall him representing the hawkish wing of the Democratic Party before the GOP takeover in 1994. He is a bear of a man, the kind of Democrat you can imagine slugging back a beer at the local union hall after a day of deer hunting in southern Pennsylvania.

Murtha's sound strategic critique of policy failures in Iraq should provide cover to fearful Democrats, allowing them to finally produce a coherent strategy for withdrawal. But alas, it is not to be. The Dem's presumptive nominee, Ms. Rodham, took issue with Murtha's assessment and says withdrawal "would cause more problems for us in America." Hillary continues, "It will matter to us if Iraq totally collapses into civil war, if it becomes a failed state the way Afghanistan was, where terrorists are free to basically set up camp and launch attacks against us." One wonders if Senator Rodham has turned on CNN lately. Is Iraq not already a failed state where terrorists roam freely attacking American troops?

Likewise picking up the hawkish mantle is another wannabe emperor, Joe Biden. I saw part of Biden's enthralling speech to an assorted assemblage of movers-and-shaker at the CFR over on C-SPAN the other evening. I was unable to confirm if these were Senator Biden's actual thoughts, or whether he'd cribbed them from Neil Kinnock. Speaking to Murtha's call for an orderly, face-saving strategic exit from Iraq, Biden said, "I share their frustration. But I'm not there yet. I still believe we can preserve our fundamental security interests in Iraq as we begin to redeploy our forces. That will require the Administration not to stay the course, but to change course and to do it now."

According to Biden, the new course would include a strategy to build "a political consensus, starting with the Constitution, that gives the Kurds, Shi'a, and Sunnis a stake in keeping Iraq together." Biden insists that we must rebuild Iraq by providing, "Government ministries that work and provide basic services, and we need to re-do the reconstruction program to deliver real benefits."

The naivete of this powerful United States Senator is amusing, and maddening. Civil war or Shiite tyranny was the inevitable outcome of the Iraq War. The Washington Post reported recently that roving bands of Shiite death squads are terrorizing Sunni populations. According to the Post, there are:

Growing charges of mass illegal detentions, torture and killings of Sunni men [in Iraq]. Members of the Sunni minority, locked in a struggle with the Shiite majority over the division of power in Iraq, say men dressed in Interior Ministry uniforms have repeatedly rounded up Sunni men from neighborhoods and towns. Bodies of scores of them have been found dumped by roadsides or in gullies.

Bob Dreyfuss and Seymour Hersh both reported that American tax dollars were being funneled into the creation of paramilitary forces in Iraq whose goal is to terrorize Sunnis.

Meanwhile, Sunni political figure are magically disappearing all over Iraq. The London Observer reports:

According to human rights organisations in Baghdad, 'disappearances' - for long a feature of Iraq's dirty war - have reached epidemic proportions in recent months. Human rights workers, international and local, who asked not to be identified in order to protect their researchers in the city and their organisations' access to senior government officials, told The Observer last week that they have hundreds of cases on their books. They described the disappearances as the most pressing human rights issue in a country that is in the midst of a human rights disaster.

Read Beaumont's article and you can only conclude that Iraq has spun completely out of control, and that Senator Biden's call to give "the Kurds, Shi'a, and Sunnis a stake in keeping Iraq together" is little more than a fairytale.

Meanwhile, Biden says that we must begin to deal with the insurgency. But the insurgency is largely homegrown, the result of American intervention, and would wither away with our departure from the scene. As I have written before, the pool of anti-American fighters driving the insurgency has likely grown as a response to the invasion of Iraq. Indeed, studies have demonstrated conclusively that even the foreign fighters in Iraq were radicalized by the war itself.

The recent admission that white phosphorous was used during the destruction of Fallujah merely adds fuel to fire. Through the occupations and our actions in Iraq, we become the chief recruiting instrument for Bin Laden and his Islamist allies.

As Congressman Murtha says, "Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME."