Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dancing With (the) Stars - All Four Of Them

I listened, along with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, to the pontificating Senators during yesterday's hearings. I paid just enough attention to realize that more was not being revealed than was.

Though the language differed, there was a thread that prevailed throughout. Every time there was an actual question rather than an accolade, we were told, mostly by Crocker, that it is a complex situation.

Obama asked what we need to know.  ... if the definition of success is so high, no traces of Al Qaida and no possibility of reconstitution, a highly-effective Iraqi government, a Democratic multiethnic, multi- sectarian functioning democracy, no Iranian influence, at least not of the kind that we don't like, then that portends the possibility of us staying for 20 or 30 years.

If, on the other hand, our criteria is a messy, sloppy status quo but there's not, you know, huge outbreaks of violence, there's still corruption, but the country is struggling along, but it's not a threat to its neighbors and it's not an Al Qaida base, that seems to me an achievable goal within a measurable timeframe, and that, I think, is what everybody here on this committee has been trying to drive at, and we haven't been able to get as clear of an answer as we would like.

That's it.  What is the administration's definition of success?

What seems quite clear from what was not said is that we also have no exit strategy. I don't think either the General nor the Ambassador was lying. You can't lie if you have no truth.

Yet today, the General did an about face before the House on whether or not the fiasco in Basra was due to bad planning on the part of the Iraqi forces.  I'd feel much better about the whole process had he not done so.  But then, I guess we need to look at the definition of "bad planning" as the administration would have it.

I can only ask why it is bad strategy to end the war and leave the region to a fate of it's own making when there is no definition of success and therefore no way to plan a strategy to achieve it?

Remember the dance-a-thons of old? One by one the contestants would collapse from exhaustion. The last contestants standing won.   In our case, will it be exhausted funds, personnel and public opinion? I doubt we will be the last contestant standing. It will be one or another of the Shiia sects or the Sunni.

It's time to face reality: noun - the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Exit strategy?? I well remember the "strategy" in Vietnam. Pandemonium and fighting to get on the few planes available. The remainder of the population who had sided with the Americans, were left to their fate. In actuality, although communism is our cup of tea, Vietnam seems to be doing quite well at present. Left to settle in their own way (again not our cup of tea, but we don't live there do we) perhaps Iraq could regain some form of normalcy. Their normal, not ours. CU