Thursday, July 21, 2005
The measure, approved 291-137, says the United States should leave Iraq only when national security and foreign policy goals related to a free and stable Iraq have been achieved.
"Calls for an early withdrawal embolden the terrorists and undermine the morale" of U.S. and allied forces and put their security at risk, the amendment to a State Department bill reads.
The resolution does, of course, state the obvious. Since the minority Sunni insurgency cannot under any circumstances defeat the United States or even the majority Shiites and Kurds on the battlefield, it is trying to break the will of the counterinsurgency through terroristic attacks against primarily civilian targets. As a practical matter, this means dispiriting the United States sufficiently that it withdraws -- manifestly the stated goal of the insurgency -- and forcing the majority ethnic groups to grant the Sunnis political power not otherwise available to them at the ballot box. That the resolution drew 137 votes in opposition is a painful reminder that we do not call upon Congress to formulate geopolitical strategy for a reason.
Some Members, however, were not merely content to vote against the resolution, but opened their mouths and proved their stupidity beyond a shadow of a doubt. James McGovern, a Democrat from Massachussetts, actually said that "to suggest those of us who oppose this war are somehow 'emboldening terrorists' is, to say the least, grotesque."
No, it actually is true. Of course Congressmen who advocate scheduling the withdrawal of the United States from Iraq are elboldening the insurgency. How could it be otherwise? The terrorists have established American withdrawal as their victory condition. The only way they have to assess the possibility of America withdrawing is to listen to the public statements of our political leaders. If no American political leaders called for withdrawal, the insurgents would have absolutely no light at the end of their tunnel. Since at least 137 Congressman, the New York Times and any number of Washington "shadow government" types have called for withdrawal, the insurgents know that American will is weakening and they are closer to victory as they have defined it. Again, how could it be otherwise?
If James McGovern had an ounce of principle, which he obviously does not, he would acknowledge the irrefutable point that for a Congressman to demand American withdrawal might very well embolden the terrorists, but that he thinks that withdrawal is in America's best interest even at the price of handing the Iraqi insurgents their victory condition. That would be an argument worth exploring. Unfortunately, James McGovern lacked the stones to make it, even though he is at exactly zero risk of losing his 2006 election.
"The terrorists have established American withdrawal as their victory condition."
No, Tigerhawk, the Qur'an established that:
"There are two types of armed religious warfare in Islam, namely the defensive jihad and the offensive jihad. Most Muslims consider armed struggle against foreign occupation or oppression by domestic government to be worthy of defensive jihad. Indeed, the Qur'an appears to require military defense of the besieged Islamic community."
- from "Defensive Jihad" in Wikipedia
I agree that McGovern's remarks are illogical. However, the resolution frames a point of view that obscures the key issue. The key issue is not whether or not calls for early withdrawal "embolden the terrorists and undermine the morale" of US forces or not, but whether or not our continuing presence there is morally justified.
Suppose you decide to break into somebody's house to steal a safe, find a husband and wife there, and after killing the husband, stop to consider whether or not you should kill the wife, also. Perhaps you are having a twinge of conscience, perhaps you are concerned that the extra time you take to kill the wife will be sufficient to allow the police to catch you.
The key moral question is "should I continue killing and plundering or not?", and not "do I feel guilty?" or "will the police catch me?".
Apparently, you would like us to participate in Bush's fantasy world of benign imperialism and avoid asking the most important questions.
Oh, and while there's no doubt that calling for an early withdrawal would embolden insurgents, the morale of the US armed forces is already low, and I would expect most would be thrilled to be coming home soon.
Part of Bush's fantasy world (depending on the version du jour, which is mostly a function of political expediency, as far as I can tell) involves freedom and democracy. If you also believe in democracy, then I presume you would also have no problem at all with asking the Iraqis themselves when they would like us to leave. In January 28 of this year, Zogby reported that "Majorities of both Sunni Arabs (82%) and Shiites (69%) also favor U.S. forces withdrawing either immediately or after an elected government is in place." (Ref: http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=957)
So, if another survey is done today and the question is "Do you want U.S. forces to withdraw immediately?", you would be willing to abide be the results, correct?