Saturday, September 08, 2007

The GOP Debate

Unable to sleep the other night, I flipped to a repeat of the Faux News New Hampshire GOP food-fight as a means of inducing slumber. Instead, my blood pressure soared as I endured the smugness of Fox News journalists and the smarmy ignorance of our would-be emperors.

With the noble exception of Dr. Paul, these mighty warriors want to take the fight to the “Islamo-Fascists.” Here is a sampling of the tough talk from swaggering presidential wannabes in the thrall of the War Party:

Sam Brownback—“I think you’re going to need a long-term U.S. presence in, I think, particularly in the Kurdish region in the north and the Sunni region in the west, that you’re going to have a long-term -- invited by those governments, and you’re going to need it to assure the Turks that the Kurds aren’t going to pull out and to assure the Kurds that the Turks aren’t going to come in. I think that’s what you have to do in looking at the reality.”

Mike Huckabee—“We have to continue the surge. And let me explain why, Chris. When I was a little kid, if I went into a store with my mother, she had a simple rule for me. If I picked something off the shelf of the store and I broke it, I bought it.

I learned don’t pick something off the shelf I can’t afford to buy.

Well, what we did in Iraq, we essentially broke it. It’s our responsibility to do the best we can to try to fix it before we just turn away because something is at stake.”

John McCain—“It’s working because we’ve got a great general. We’ve got a good strategy. Anbar province: Things have improved… are succeeding, and the great debate is not whether it’s apparently working or not. The great debate is going to take place on the floor of the United States Senate, the middle of this month. And it’s going to be whether we set a date for withdrawal, which will be a date for surrender, or whether we will let this surge continue and succeed.”

Duncan Hunter—“We’ve got 129 battalions in the Iraqi army that we’re training up. We’re training them up, we are getting them into the fight. When those Iraqi battalions are battle-hardened and they start to rotate into the positions on the battlefield, displacing American forces, the American forces can then rotate out, come back to the U.S. or go to other places in Central Command. That’s the right way to win; it’s called victory. That’s how we leave Iraq.. if you think we’re going to be there for a long time, you don’t understand the determination of the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Army. We’re going to turn it over.”

Tom Tancredo—“But let me get back to a central point here, and that is why we’re there and, in fact, with whom we are at war. The war is not actually in Iraq; the war is with radical Islam. That’s who we are at war with -- (applause) -- and we have to understand it. Iraq is a battlefield in that war.”

Mitt Romney—“This is not about broken pottery, and it’s also not about just getting out because we made a mistake. This is a global conflict going on. Radical, violent jihad. This effort ranges from Indonesia, Nigeria, and through Europe and into America, and this battlefield of Iraq is a place where we have to be successful because the consequences of what will happen on this global battlefield are enormous. And that’s why it’s so important for us to be successful with the surge, and I agree, it looks successful. I certainly hope it’s going to be fully successful. And as we are able to do that, we’re going to see ourselves able to continue in our efforts to overwhelm jihad.”

I’m perfectly willing to concede that we have an Islamic problem, but “victory” will only be achieved through defensive means. As Serge Trifkovic has written, “The victory will not come by conquering Mecca for Americans but by disengaging America from Mecca and by excluding Mecca from America. Eliminating the risk is impossible. Managing it wisely, resolutely, and permanently is something attainable."

The goal should be isolation from sources of disorder. That implies first and foremost sealing our borders. But it also must mean a change in foreign policy, disengaging from the Middle East and extricating ourselves from the suffocating impact of The Lobby.

Non-state actors like al-Qaeda thrive under conditions of instability and disorder, the very conditions we have created in Iraq. Creating a permanent presence in Iraq via huge embassies and military bases simply breeds instability by making the creation of legitimate Iraqi institutions impossible.

What is disturbing is that after four years of this nonsense, most of the GOP is still committed to the enterprise and seems eager to spread the disorder and destruction throughout the rest of the Middle East.

Among presidential aspirants, Ron Paul is the only principled non-interventionist. During Wednesday’s debate, Paul identified the Neocons as the problem and with deftness and precision put the issue into perspective. "I am less safe, the American people are less safe for this. It's the policy that is wrong. Tactical movements and shifting troops around and taking in 30 more and reducing by five, totally irrelevant. We need a new foreign policy that said we ought to mind our own business, bring our troops home, defend this country, defend our borders.”


Blogger John Savage said...

Mr. Dow, overall I like the ideas here, but I hope you won't write off Tancredo. Remember, Tancredo didn't vote for the surge, and in one of the early debates, he said the Iraqis need to fight for their own democracy. It's too bad if he's moved toward a more hawkish stance, which I imagine is to appease the primary voters. Will they really not attack us if we pull out as Paul suggests, though?

4:07 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Mr. Savage,

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment. Glad you're largely in agreement. I often feel pretty lonely.

First, Dr. Paul and his supporters are not saying attacks will cease as such. I think we do have a problem with elements of the Islamic world, but that al-qaeda, while a significant threat, is largely a band of modern-day pirates. Thus, we help to strengthen their narrative, and inadvertently spread it to others, via our interventionist foreign policy.

As for Tancredo, he may have a proper view on these matters, but his remarks have been intemperate. If I were not supporting Paul, I would be backing Tancredo as I believe the immigration issue to be an existential issue that will define us as a people for generations to come. And on that issue, he is on the right side.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Darrell said...

"John Savage"? I just got it. As a fan of dystopian fiction I should have caught the reference. Just shows I'm not that bright.

4:46 PM  
Blogger John Savage said...

Yes, I consider myself a separationist, just like you've discussed with Trifkovic. Separationists do not insist that we must never intervene, but definitely insist on keeping Islam out of the West. Tancredo has come closest to suggesting that we follow the separationist philosophy. However, he might be thinking that he needs to move closer to the neocon position to get votes at the moment. Separationism just isn't popular enough. There are a few of us, though; I just put up a poll to see how many of my own readers agree with the separationist position.

Yes, you have read me right with the screen name. A lot of people don't make the connection, even knowing that my blog is about Brave New World. Good to meet you!

9:42 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

I checked out your blog briefly and hope to spend more time reading it.

I tend to think a realignment politically is needed, too. I didn't spend enough time poking around to figure out you think religion fits into the picture.

The "social issues" get sticky and tend to make any sort of Right-Left dialogue difficult.

In 2000, I tried to help out on the Buchanan campaign in my state. I had the best of intentions in terms of working with "moderates" and Naderites who might largely agree with me on foreign policy, trade, etc.

But in the end, we couldn't get past the social issues. You will also have a difficult time getting lefties to think clearly about immigration because they simply assume you have racialist motivations if you favor retriction. They are knee jerk reactionaries in the worst sense.

In any case, keep up the great work. To post as often as you do I can tell that there must be no wife and kids in toe! That or you write very quickly!

9:43 PM  

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