Dangers Of Pullout May Be Delusional

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

Pardon the extensive quote, but Steven Chapman’s editorial nails — I mean, nails — everything I’ve always thought and said about Iraq:

Hard-core supporters of the war, no longer able to pretend that we are making progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq, have fallen back to their last line of defense — insisting that no matter how bad things are with us in Iraq, things would be far worse with us out.

Pulling out, the argument goes, would destroy our credibility and embolden the terrorists. Neoconservative Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is among those confidently predicting a parade of horribles: ethnic slaughter, a regional war and a secure base for Al-Qaida to launch attacks on us and our allies.

If we withdraw, he wrote recently in the Washington Post, "the war in Iraq and in the region will not end but will only grow more dangerous." And there is the old argument that if we don’t fight the terrorists in Iraq, we will have to fight them at home.

The first flaw in this line of reasoning is that lamenting the dangers of failure is not the same as finding a formula for success. Bush tells us that his new approach offers a path to victory, but that’s what he said about the old strategy. Why should anyone believe that this time he knows what he’s doing or is telling us the truth?

The forecasts of neoconservatives have generally been as reliable as your daily horoscope. In 2004, Robert Kagan derided those who thought the war was lost, declaring that the United States was about as likely to fail as Derek Jeter (a career .317 hitter) was to hit below .200.

Consider the other horribles that are envisioned. An emboldened Al-Qaida? It’s not as though the terrorists are all sitting home playing checkers, having lost the desire to slaughter infidels. In fact, as they demonstrate daily in Iraq and Afghanistan, they’re emboldened already. Lost credibility? Our credibility crumpled when we invaded on the cheap and proved unable to preserve basic order.

Read the whole thing — it’s a must-read.