Monday, April 30, 2007

Iraq, still, from both directions

Maybe I will do some commenting from here, rather than there. Over at The Conversation ( Jonathan Potts suggests that Charles Krauthammer is being something of a hypocrite for complaining that Boris Yeltsin failed to create total democracy in Russia since we haven’t been able to do so in Iraq. I guess I am sarcasm-impaired, this statement didn’t sit well with me:

“Perhaps a more capable leader could have guided Russia from totalitarianism to democracy. And perhaps a more capable leader could have brought democracy to Iraq. But to paraphrase a great man, you go to war with the president you have, not the president you want to have.”

I understand the comparison, but in my opinion it is flawed. Democracy, or some form of political change, was pretty much inevitable in Russia. By comparison, Iraq was entirely optional, interms of going there to set up democracy. If we had resisted going to war there, by now we might have rolled up much of the Islamic fundamentalist terror network and put a truly democratic government in Afghanistan.

I think it was on the PBS program “Now” that the idea was advanced that if we hadn’t disbanded the Iraqi army, the insurgency might have been headed off. Maybe. I accept the statements of the person being interviewed, that a day after the army was disbanded, the first IED attack occurred. But I think that even if the army were intact, there would be other problems over there. Tribal or religious divides would have emerged, or the people would get tied of the dictator that we would have put in place. Still, I suppose there is something to knowing exactly when the policy went to hell.

At two political junkies ( they complain about Jack Kelly’s latest column accusing congressional democrats of, well, treason or appeasing the enemy or something. Kelly is seriously off the deep end, but I don’t think his column should be dismissed totally out of hand. The democrats in Congress and running for president have an interesting problem. They realize that while people want to get the troops out of Iraq, they also want to win the war, if there is any chance to do so. Ths creates an interesting dance, because I think the democratic leadership sees itself as vulnerable. I mean, it hasn’t hurt Murtha, and Pelosi and Reid are possibly safe, but the first major presidential candidate who comes out for unambiguous pullout can probably kiss the nomination or at least the general election good bye. Really, for everyone; the President, the republicans and the democrats, waiting is maybe the most attractive answer. The democrats pulled off a good policy maneuver this past week, sending the president something with a timetable to veto, so that everybody can look like they are doing *something* to their base. But really we are likely to see a whole slew of odd postures as candidates try to seem like they are both for and against the war. Kind of like the bids on Price is Right, closest to winning (whether in pullout or surge) without going too far in one direction.

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