The Talking Dog

December 1, 2005, The Coalition of the Wilting

Ukraine and Bulgaria, two members of our multi-national force in Iraq (it is, at least, that) have announced their intentions to withdraw their forces, a combined total of 1,250 troops, from Iraq in the next few months. This comes amidst a number of other countries (Italy, South Korea, Poland and others) already discussing or outright planning on partial or total withdrawals of their own, all while the 800 pound super-power gorilla debates whether the 98-pound weakling local Iraqi guerrillas have inflicted enough military and political damage to increase the Americanwithdrawal plans (around 1/3 of current forces, or a remaining force of 99,000 or less by next October 1, damn the torpedoes, car bombs and geo-political implications... midterms, you know.)

Of course, Bruce the Veep sends us this Spencer Ackerman snippet from "even the liberal New Republic which tells us, ostensibly, what we have known for a while: the Sunni-Shiite civil war is on. It's already started, and we pretty much can't stop it now, no matter what our strategy is, and that's that. I tend not to be that pessimistic; I don't think the civil war will be fully on until we're pretty much out of there. The problem is, the status quo is not sustainable for the United States either politically or militarily for, frankly, more than another few months, if not weeks. So, whether its on now, or conditional on our being largely (if not entirely) gone... I do agree that it's pretty much a foregone conclusion. The simple facts on the ground-- Shia death squads, Baathist dead-enders blowing up American convoys and Shia mosques-- demonstrate this. One side is itching for pay-back, and the other side knows it, and is trying for preemptive horror. With Americans getting killed or maimed every day, standing in between (and the Kurds haven't even been-- at least by and large-- dragged into this... yet...)

That said... there is nothing wrong with using the December 15th elections to say "our work here is done" (translation: "you're on your own"), and moving our military personnel out of Iraq, and into other venues where, at least, they might make a difference, and, perhaps, actually advance American strategic interests, instead of being walking targets in someone else's civil war.
Indeed, something tells me the Secretary of Defense agrees with me, which is why we will, by and large, be withdrawing our troops possibly faster than the mandatory "under 99,000 by mid-terms" we are already committed to do.

Once again, if you take the President at his word, our pre-war goals of disarming Saddam's Iraq, regime change and establishing democracy in Iraq have all been achieved. So... by what the President suggested we could achieve by launching an aggressive war... has already been achieved...

That said... this would be an excellent time to cut and walk, declare victory, and plan our next, more palatable aggressive action... somewhere else. We can devote our military resources to other things. And there was that tall bearded guy... O-something or other... whoever he is... maybe we can start thinking about him...