Monday, April 12, 2004

Geography Lesson

You know what creek you’re up when Pat Buchanan goes off the reservation.

”No one knows how America’s occupation of Iraq will play out. Optimists say this will be like Germany and Japan after World War II. . . . Pessimists point to Lebanon and Israel’s invasion of 1982. Put me down among the pessimists. I think Brer Rabbit just hit the tar baby.” So I wrote, a year ago, as our tanks rolled into Baghdad.

The brutalization of four Americans in Fallujah and the upsurge in gun battles across the country suggest that we did indeed hit the tar baby when the 3rd Infantry Division crossed the Line of Demarcation.

Iraq was a war of choice, not a war of necessity. Saddam Hussein had no role in 9/11, no ties to al Qaeda, no weapons of mass destruction — the programmed liars of the Iraqi National Congress notwithstanding. We all know it now.

Even State Secretary Colin Powell is saying that the case for war that he made to the United Nations was based on bad intelligence and that he might have argued differently in the war Cabinet had he known it. Nevertheless, as Dean Rusk, the state secretary under President John F. Kennedy, used to say, “We are there, and we are committed.”

What Fallujah and the Shi’ite attacks tell us is that failure is now an option. We have not pacified the Sunni Triangle. In towns such as Fallujah, Americans are at greater risk than Israelis in Gaza. Even before the radical Shi’ites clashed with our troops in Baghdad, geostrategist Anthony Cordesman was warning that defense officials were telling him, New combatants are emerging as fast as we kill or capture the old ones.”

But if the Iraqi resistance is recruiting fighters faster than we kill or capture them, and Shi’ites are joining the resistance, and we are supposed to be drawing down our troop levels and handing over power to Iraqis, how do we win?

We cannot. Either we accept the possibility of defeat, or adopt the McCain option: more boots on the ground, more divisions in Iraq. In Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s words, as he suddenly encountered Chinese troops as he marched to the Yalu, it is “an entirely new war.” [Miami Herald.]

Editor’s Note: The Miami Herald now requires “free” registration to gain access beyond their front page. This is a growing trend among the big dailies, and I’m loath to sign up for spam. But it’s better than having to pay for it like at The Albuquerque Journal or Der Volkischer Beobachter (The Wall Street Journal). I’ll continue to provide a link to the articles I glean from those papers that require registration and leave it up to you to decide if you want to register.