The Neocon's Iraq Plan and Reality

The Washington Post has an op-ed by two of the nation's most influential neoconservatives, William Kristol and Rich Lowry, wherein they lay out their vision for the future strategy to win the War in Iraq. They begin by recognizing the reality of our current situation:
We are at a crucial moment in Iraq. Supporters of the war, like us, have in the past differed over tactics. But at this urgent pass, there can be no doubt that we need to stop the downward slide in Iraq by securing Baghdad.
So that's a good start, right? A few months ago, acknowledging the "downward slide in Iraq" got you branded a terrorist enabler, so this strikes me as a healthy trend. They go on to lay out the crux of their strategy.
The bottom line is this: More U.S. troops in Iraq would improve our chances of winning a decisive battle at a decisive moment. This means the ability to succeed in Iraq is, to some significant degree, within our control. The president should therefore order a substantial surge in overall troop levels in Iraq, with the additional forces focused on securing Baghdad.
Up to this, I find myself agreeing as long as I keep my thought process insulated from the grander reality we occupy. Granted, more troops would allow us to win the Iraq War. Put a pair of Marines in every living room and Mosque and the insurgency would die off very quickly. So I'm with them, in a fantasy-world sorta way.

Then they go off the rails:
There is now no good argument for not sending more troops. The administration often says that it doesn't want to foster Iraqi dependency.
This is where it becomes clear that the insular reality that I found myself agreeing with is, in fact, Kristol and Lowry's entire understanding of the circumstances surrounding the war. While they are correct in saying that there is no argument for not increasing troop levels, there is a reason. That reason has nothing to do with "not wanting to foster Iraqi dependency," and everything to do with the fact that we don't have any more troops to deploy. How can such intelligent men be fooled by the Administration on that one?

Over and over again we hear that the Army is near a breaking point, where both men and equipment are worn down. Our resources have been diverted from the normal equipment maintenance and replacement cycles towards the immediate needs of war - you know, bullets and their associated accoutrements. This continuous-duty meatgrinder has taken us to our current situation, where two-thirds of Army units are unready for combat, and that number is even higher for the National Guard. The problems with our recruitment efforts have been well documented, and make it even harder to increase troop levels. While there may not be an argument for keeping more troops out of Iraq, the reason we don't deploy more troops is that there are no more troops to be deployed.

These intelligent men cannot truly be ignorant of such basic facts. A far more likely explanation stems from the fact that they have crafted an entire public persona around masculinized strength and military fortitude. To advocate realistically would bar them from forwarding the "Increase the Troops" strategy, leaving what, exactly? If there are no more troops available, and the current troop levels stand no chance of achieving victory, then redeployment is the only strategy available to us - a strategy that essentially acknowledges a loss in Iraq, and for them to acknowledge that loss would destroy their career. It's hard to get someone to understand something their salary depends on not understanding, even when thousands of deaths are the price.

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