Does Harry Reid Believe the War is Lost or Just Not Worth Winning?

The evidence indicates that the “surge” is working, at least in terms of improving the quality of life for the average Iraqi. Here’s a firsthand report from Rocco DiPippo, published in the American Thinker….

Two weeks ago, I took another trip through Baghdad. I then headed south and eventually north to a small town close to Iran’s border. In all, I traveled approximately 400 miles. At no time did I feel threatened, either when approaching checkpoints, (all of which were legitimate and well-manned), or upon exiting my car to visit a few reconstruction projects, each in separate towns miles apart.
There were other stunning differences between that trip, and the one I’d taken in December.
On the December trip I had seen abandoned shops and frightened people. On the latest one I saw many shops opened and people going about their business in what appeared to be a relaxed manner. On the first trip I saw cars and trucks in gas lines that stretched for miles. On the latest trip, though gas lines existed, they were far shorter, and looked about as long as those experienced by Americans at the height of the 1970s oil crisis. On the first trip I saw nothing but ruin: houses and other buildings in derelict condition, most appearing unfit for human habitation. On the latest trip I still saw many houses in poor condition, but I also saw homes being built, and a good number of existing houses and storefronts being repaired.
From a more official source, the leader of the Iraqi Red Crescent doesn’t think that withdrawing American troops, or setting a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops, will help the humanitarian situation in Iraq (h/t Instapundit)…
The president of the Iraqi Red Crescent, the only relief organization operating in Iraq, is calling on the Democratic-led Congress to rethink its troop withdrawal strategy and recognize that Iraq suffers from a worsening humanitarian crisis.
His call follows on the heels of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) announcement yesterday that Appropriations Committee conferees will set a non-binding goal, as part of the 2007 emergency war supplemental, of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq by April 1, 2008.
Congressional leaders find themselves in a continuing stalemate with President Bush, who has vowed to veto any measure that contains a withdrawal timetable. Bush has the support of most Republicans on Capitol Hill.
In Washington for a series of advocacy meetings in Congress, Said Hakki, the president of the Iraqi Red Crescent, expressed concern that by setting a withdrawal timetable, the U.S. would abandon Iraq at the height of a humanitarian crisis.
“It is important that Congress identifies that there is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq,” Hakki said in an interview with The Hill. “If they agree there’s a crisis, let’s not have America be a problem but the solution.”
The Iraqi Red Crescent Society or Organization, as it is often referred to, is an auxiliary arm of the Iraqi government and is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
So why is it that Democratic leaders insist, contrary to the evidence from the front, that the presence of American troops is not at least temporarily of benefit to the people of Iraq? Do our political leaders really believe that the quality-of-life of average people in other societies is not a part of international relations, world politics, and the harmony of the world in general?
More likely, what Democratic leaders like Senator Harry Reid, and even more sane ones like Congressman James Langevin, really believe is not that American can’t help the people of Iraq, but that America shouldn’t help the people of Iraq. They believe the cost in blood and treasure of repairing the broken societies of the Middle East is too high. That is a legitimate “realist” and/or “isolationist” position, akin to the position the U.S. Government took with respect to Rwanda in 1994, deciding that preventing the massacre of 850,000 people was not worth deploying the few thousand troops that probably could have stopped it.
What is not legitimate, however, is pretending that the future of Iraqi society and governance from this point onward is set in stone, when it is not. Senator Reid has adopted his war-is-already-lost meme
“I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense and — you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows — [know] this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday”,
…because he is trying to avoid responsibility for the course of action he seeks to impose. He wants to pretend that walking away from Iraq is not his choice, but the only choice. He says the war is lost — even though the reports from the ground consistently say that the increased American troop presence is having a positive impact — because he wants to hide his actual position, that the U.S. should no longer try to win the war in Iraq, behind rhetoric intended to convince people that the further decline of Iraq is now inevitable, because of forces beyond anyone’s control.
Men who want power but not responsibility for their decisions have no place as leaders in a democracy.

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klaus
klaus
14 years ago

OK, just one question. Are you willing to implement a draft and commit to a 10-year occupation of Iraq in order to “win’?
Because if you’re not, you’re blowing smoke here. Folks here keeping ranting about the cowardly Dems and the need to win, but I have never, ever seen any *realistic* admission of what it will take to settle the situation in Iraq.
Shinseki said it would take 350,000 troops to pacify Iraq after the end of major fighting. We went with half of that. Now Bush tries to add a pathetic 21,500–but only by shortening leaves and extending tours. So, in effect, he’s not “adding” anything because There Are No More Troops to add.
Unless you’re willing to call for a draft.
Time’s up, people. 4 years is too long. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Are you willing to implement a draft? Because we can’t do it without one.
If you’re not, you are fundamentally *not* serious about “winning.” Your sole purpose is to make political gain out of this.
So what is it, guys? A draft?

Andrew
14 years ago

Klaus,
The size of the active duty military today is about 500,000 soldiers and sailors less than it was in 1991 (I believe that includes uniformed personnel in combat and non-combat roles).
There was no draft in 1991. So it seems like there’s some room for expanding the all-volunteer force, if that’s what we need to do. (And the guys at the Weekly Standard have been calling for increasing the size of the military for years now).
As is your habit, you’re allowing yourself to being driven by some agenda that’s different from the problem being discussed.

Greg
Greg
14 years ago

You can’t increase the size of your military when your potential workforce sees every day on the news how crappy we treat the boys we already have fighting.
Even in Vietnam it was 364 and a wakeup and you went HOME. The Pentagon has been RAPING our servicemen, violating contracts that, if the servicemen violate they go to JAIL, and not arming them, armoring them or supporting the injured when they get home.
Would someone please explain to me why the M-16 is still the U.S. military’s weapon of choice. It’s roundly agreed worldwide that it’s the crappiest assault weapon ever designed. It jams at the drop of a hat. Our boys have to wrap them in pantyhose to keep the sand out. Meanwhile the enemy is using AK-47s. Simply the finest weapon ever made. It will fire wet, dry, filled with mud, jammed with sand, upside-down, underwater, covered in jam. Whatever!
I’ve been working my arse off trying to convince those around me who are considering military service that the recruiters LIE every chance they get and are encouraged to do so.

george
george
14 years ago

“Men who want power but not responsibility for their decisions have no place as leaders in a democracy.”
Like our president? The man who says its not his job to try to finish this war just to coast along and make it someone else’s problem?
Democrats problem with the “Bush Surge” is that it is not an actual plan. It is, I am going to add more troops and hope for the best. Bush has no plan to rebuild Iraq, has no plan on how to fight terrorism. The man has no strategy in Iraq and is just trying anything in hopes of making himself look better.

klaus
klaus
14 years ago

Andrew, the sole item on my “agenda” is to expose bad thinking. For example: …it seems like there’s some room for expanding the all-volunteer force, if that’s what we need to do… Do you mean that? Have you any idea of what has been happening? The Army can’t get recruits. It’s had to cut standards, and they still can’t get enough. Given that, how, pray tell, do you expect to increase the size of our all-volunteer army? And Shinseki recommended 350,000 troops, or more than twice as many as are there. So,yeah,there’s a whole LOT of room, but very few takers. Any other ideas? I thought not. Because I keep hearing “stay the course” but none of your folks advocating a get-tougher policy have any idea of how we’re supposed to to this. And how long will it take? Since you’re unaware of recruitment problems, I’ll assume you are also unaware that David Petraeus just said that there is no military solution to the problem in Iraq. Who’s he? Some commie pinko? Uh, he’s CinC in Iraq. Got that? No solution. So even if we had another 250,000 troops to send, that probably wouldn’t work. Heck, we had half a million in Vietnam, and that didn’t work. If forcible occupation worked, the British and French would still have empires. Ever hear of the French in Algeria? Or the British in Iraq? Or, how about the Soviets in Afghanistan? Those all worked out. And then there’s the blow-back when Nancy Pelosi went to Syria. Nixon went to China. Reagan went to the USSR. The feigned outrage about her trip was ludicrous. Syria and Iran are necessary to any real solution in Iraq. Bush’s refusal to talk to them is simply yet more proof that he is not in the least serious… Read more »

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Let’s put Petraeus’ comments in context:

He said that “any student of history recognizes there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency in Iraq.”
“Military action is necessary to help improve security … but it is not sufficient,” Petraeus said. “A political resolution of various differences … of various senses that people do not have a stake in the successes of Iraq and so forth – that is crucial. That is what will determine, in the long run, the success of this effort.”

That’s worlds away from the “lost cause” impression that you give. Indeed, I’d point out that it is Petraeus’s recognition of the military’s role in a broader solution that leads him to believe that he doesn’t need the 350,000 troops that Shinseki said would be needed to “occupy” Iraq. We’re not occupying Iraq because we have learned that “forcible occupation” doesn’t work.
I’d further argue that one aspect of the political (i.e., non-military) component of the solution is to present to allies and enemies in Iraq alike a resolve not to let the country slip into chaos. That is why Pelosi’s trip was outrageous: because she embarked on it in stark contrast and opposition to the President of the United States — a title that both Nixon and Reagan held on their own ventures, by the way.

Andrew
14 years ago

Let’s see, Klaus.
You start off by saying we should reinstate the draft, and that we need a 10-year commitment and 500,000 troops to win. There’s agenda #1. Then you tell me we can’t “win this militarily”, right after you’ve told me we need to add 500,000 troops. There’s agenda #2. Then you tell me that “forcible occupation” can never work, and declare the American attempt to build democracy in Iraq to be equivalent to a pre-World War II imperialism. There’s agenda #3. By the end, you’ve told me that you want the U.S. to reinstate the draft, to send 500,000 troops into a situation you don’t believe can be won militarily, under any circumstance, because imperialism doesn’t work
So since you’ve obviously not thinking this through in any strategic sense, why don’t you just tell us what ideological agenda it is that leads you to blurt out whichever “because America is strong it must be wrong” thought that happens to pop into your stream of consciousness.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

Klaus, you’ve kind of had your butt handed to you here. Let me finish the process.
With regard to France and England, if resource ransacking imperialism were our goal, the oil would have started flowing from Iraq to Texas about three years and eleven months ago. As it turns out, it didn’t and you are wrong.
As to Pelosi in Syria, Reagan in the USSR and Nixon in China, I refer you to the Constitution of the United States. Reagan and Nixon occupied the Office of President, where conduct of foreign policy is vested. It was impressive when they made overtures to our enemies because they had the power of the office. Pelosi is the Speaker of the House. Anyone she dealt with, while being polite to her, would have known that she had no power and that any representations she made were meaningless.
That about wraps it up, Klaus. The one mistake you did not make was to include a Nazi comparison and I do commend you for that.

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