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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Debating Iraq Without Debating Iraq

OK, this is just stupid. In the debate on Bush's surge in Iraq, GOP House leadership are urging Republican congresscritters not to debate the surge, Iraq, mistakes made in Iraq, or whether or not we can win in Iraq. In a letter (PDF) obtained by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Reps. John Shadegg and Peter Hoekstra tell fellow Republicans, "The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose."

So, in a debate about a resolution opposing Bush's surge in Iraq, what do they recommend they discuss, if not the surge and Iraq? "We urge you to instead broaden the debate to the threat posed to Americans, the world, and all "unbelievers" by radical Islamists. We would further urge you to join us in educating the American people about the views of radical Islamists and the consequences of not defeating radical Islam in Iraq..." we're told, "[T]he debate must be about the global threat of the radical islamist movement."

So, what happens to terrorism if we don't win in Iraq? As far as I can tell, pretty much the same thing that happens if we do. It's not like we win in Iraq (whatever that means) and terrorists say, "Well, that's that. We gave it a good shot, but they beat us fair and square. Time to get out of the terrorism business."

And is there anyone out there who needs to be educated 'about the views of radical Islamists?' After six years of using terrorism to scare the bejeezus out of everyone every time they need to bump up their poll numbers, it's kind of hard to believe that there's anyone out there who isn't all that clear on what militant fundamentalist muslims believe.

Besides, the civil war in Iraq doesn't really have a damned thing to do fundamentalism anymore -- if it ever did. It's the entirely predictable (but unpredicted by the authors of the letter) sectarian struggle to fill the power vacuum created by removing an authoritarian government. If you want a recent historical precedent, look at the Balkans; the Soviet Union collapsed and every ethnic group in the region thought it was their time. War and fragmentation ensued. So sectarian violence in Iraq shouldn't be the big surprise neocons and hawks seem to think it is. Islamic extremism doesn't really have a damned thing to do with it.

GOPers are also given a list of "Some Major Attacks by Radical Islamists Since 2002" -- none of which are actually in Iraq. And some are just perplexing; we're told that a falafel stand bombing in Hadera, Israel that killed seven in 2005 constitutes a 'major attack.' But no mention of three bomb attacks in Baghdad markets just two days ago that killed 64 people.

Oops! I forgot, you can't mention Iraq in a debate about Iraq. Which will make asking this question posed by Messrs. Shadegg and Hoekstra a little tricky:

Join us in asking our Democratic colleagues the essential question: If we do not defeat radical Islam in Iraq, then where will we do so?

It's a stupid question anyway. Again, even if we 'win' in Iraq, are we supposed to believe that this would be in any way a decisive victory against global terrorism? Why?

At this point, it's looking like the war backers really have nothing. They can't even come up with a realistic argument for continuing the war. Considering that, it's kind of hard to figure out why we should let them.


Technorati tags: ; ; ; brilliant s and have a strategy for debating 's in -- don't mention the surge or . Now, if they only had a strategy for Iraq...

1 comment:

NewsBlog 5000 said...

My old math teacher always said, "If you can't solve the problem, change the problem into something you can solve."

It's impossible to argue that Iraq is going well. It is easier to argue Iran will go better.