Sunday, July 4, 2004

Bullwinkle J. Kerry's Realistic Path

Bullwinkle J. Kerry has taken the time to present what is postured to be a major position piece. Let’s give him the benefit of our time and patience.

A Realistic Path in Iraq. By John F. Kerry. Sunday, July 4, 2004; WaPo Page B07.

Like most Americans (I always despise it when anyone claims to be with “most” Americans; I can believe “many,” but “most” infers data which we know does not exist), I want to believe that this past week's events -- the transfer of sovereignty and the appearance of Saddam Hussein before an Iraqi court -- will place us on the road to success. (Fluff; meaningless opening.) But there is still no sign of a strategy that will get us there. We have transferred sovereignty, but (“but,” always a “but.” Nothing is good enough for this clown – we are either occupiers or leaving too soon.) Iraq still lacks the capacity to provide security and essential services. (I cheated – I read ahead. Bullwinkle’s “strategy” is to let somebody, anybody but us to do it!) To give democracy, pluralism and regional peace a chance (give peace a chance? Tell me that isn’t an intended grouping of words. Sorry, JFK, I knew John Lennon. Sir Winston O’Boogie you’re not), we need a policy that is effective -- a policy that finally includes a heavy dose of realism. (To be effective, we must be realistic. OK. But why do I feel that the first part of your realism is to tell Le Papier de Rapport that they were right – the situation is hopeless?)

Our foreign policy has achieved greatness only when it has combined realism and idealism, our sense of practicality and our deep commitment to values such as freedom and democracy. Look back at NATO and the Marshall Plan, the enduring creations of the Truman administration.
(Harry Truman. Remind me … same guy that chose to pre-emptively bomb a couple of cities in Japan rather than invade and risk great loss of life? Same guy know for his lack of nuance in his speech? The same guy that said, “Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive. And don't ever apologize for anything”? You are quoting him? Ahhh, now I understand – Truman also said, “If you cannot convince them, confuse them.” OK, I’m with you now.)

Our military performed brilliantly in the war's first mission: ending the regime of Saddam Hussein. And all Americans share President Bush's desire for Iraqis to live with the blessings of democracy
(What happened to “pluralism” above?) and security. But we are a practical people, and we know that all the rhetoric we've heard hasn't been accompanied by a realistic plan to win the peace and bring our troops home (Oh, give me a break! Is this some crack at being a plain-spoken New Englander? And drop the “we,” Bullwinkle – you do not speak for me). We know that a chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Eric Shinseki, was right when he argued that more troops would be needed to establish security and win the peace in the weeks and months after Saddam Hussein's fall (The same Shinseki who told Congress in February 2003 that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." Your sources crack me up, Bullwinkle!). And we know, especially, that we should have brought more friends and allies to the cause. (Tell me – French, Germans, Russians? They were afraid to fight against their own weapons!)

The point here is not to revisit history
(Wow. So you were just digressing thus far? You are 24.4% into your word count and now you say none of the above matters?) but to forge a new policy based on what we know and on what will be most effective. We still have an opportunity to prevent (which implies, of course, that only intervention in our current path will correct the course. OK. I’m listening.) Iraq from becoming a failed state and a haven for global terrorists (better there than here, eh, Johnny?) and Islamic extremists. We can still succeed in promoting stability, democracy, protection of minority and women's rights, and peace in the region, even at this late hour (do you hear yourself when you write? The sky is falling, the sky is falling!), if we construct and follow a realistic path. But if we are to reduce the overwhelming military and financial (bummer, the GOA just reported that Iraqi oil revenue is paying for the reconstruction, not us) burden America is bearing and maximize the chances of success, we will need help from others (tell, me – the French, Germans, Russians?). Getting that help will require not only convincing our friends and allies that we share an interest in preventing failure but also giving them a meaningful voice and role in Iraqi affairs (at the expense of who’s voice? The Iraqis themselves? They are the only ones running their affairs. Boy, this smacks of an occupation). That is the only way to forge real cooperation, and it is long past time for this to be done.

In recent months the Bush administration has taken some of the needed steps. It has worked through the United Nations to legitimize the transition to an interim Iraqi government and to call for troop contributions and financial assistance. But we need a more far-reaching plan if we are to win the substantial help
(“win” substantial help? So the help will be forthcoming only if we “win” it? Then I guess, it will be deserved. Then, if it is not thereafter forthcoming, we can sue them to compel the “substantial help”? This guy is pathetic.) that is required. We have to move our allies beyond the resentment they feel about the Bush administration's failed diplomacy (Boy, I feel a Cheney Moment welling up inside of me. The UN oversees the theft of billions of dollars in the Oil-for-Food Program; Old Europe sells weapons and enters into sanction-defying business deals … and W failed? You, Bullwinkle, are a moron.) so they can focus on their interest in fighting terrorism and promoting peace. The best way to do that is to vest friends and allies in Iraq's future.

On the economic front, that means giving them fair access to the multibillion-dollar reconstruction contracts
(oh, I get it – “winning” their “substantial help” means buying it.). It also means letting them be a part of putting Iraq's profitable oil industry back together. In return, they must forgive Hussein's multibillion-dollar debts to their countries and pay their fair share of the reconstruction bill. (Good thing they already said they would do this, eh? Otherwise you may fail at your diplomacy.)

We should also give them a leadership role in pursuing our wider strategic goals in the region
(Always presuming that someone else can do it better than us. Amazing. Consistent, but still amazing.). As partners, we should convene a regional conference with Iraq's neighbors. Such a conference would have two goals. First, it should secure a pledge from Iraq's neighbors to respect Iraq's borders and not to interfere in its internal affairs (You’ve never negotiated with Arabs, have you?). And second, it should commit Iraq's leaders to provide clear protection for minorities, thus removing a major justification for possible outside intervention (How funny! If only Iraq would provide clear protection for minorities, say the Christians and Jews, then Iran and Syria would not intervene. My 14 year-old son has a deeper and more accurate analysis.). Together, we should jump-start large-scale involvement with an international high commissioner (And where would this person come from? Please say the UN?) to coordinate economic assistance and organize and implement these diplomatic initiatives.

Then, having taken these dramatic steps
(Dramatic? Specifically, let the French/German/Russian federation tell the Iraqis how to run their country, we give them the spoils of war in the reconstruction contracts, and then let the UN tell the other Arab countries to butt out), we could realistically call on NATO to step up to its responsibilities (would that be the part of NATO that includes France or the part that includes Poland?). Our goal should be an alliance commitment to deploy a major portion of the peacekeeping force that will be needed in Iraq for a long time to come (You’ve never actually negotiated with the Russians, have you?). Just as NATO came together to contain the Soviet Union and bring peace to Bosnia (the same Bosnia for which Amnesty International writes in their 2004 report that “[i]mpunity for human rights violations remained endemic”? The report is available in French on their website.) and Kosovo (The same Kosovo that, in a report dated June 10, 2004, it was stated, “Today marks the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the ethnic cleansing of Roma, Ashkaelia, Egyptians and other persons regarded as "Gypsies" from Kosovo. In the wake of the cessation of NATO action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in June 1999 and the subsequent return of predominantly ethnic Albanians from abroad, ethnic Albanians violently expelled approximately four fifths of Kosovo's pre-1999 Romani population -- estimated to have been around 120,000 -- from their homes. In the course of the ethnic cleansing campaign, ethnic Albanians kidnapped Roma and severely physically abused and in some cases killed Roma; raped Romani women in the presence of family members; and seized, looted or destroyed property en masse. Whole Romani settlements were burned to the ground by ethnic Albanians, in many cases while NATO troops looked on.”), with the right kind of leadership from us NATO can be mobilized to help stabilize Iraq and the region )see above). And if NATO comes, others will too (Russia? China? North Korea? Al-Qaeda?).

Inside Iraq, the overriding need is for security, and the essential participants are the Iraqis themselves
(Oh, didn’t you say it was the French, et al., above?). The missing ingredient in this quest so far is a political accommodation among Iraqis (What was the constitutional congress all above?). Each Iraqi group -- the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunnis -- has to feel it will have safety and a fair share in Iraq's future. Yes, let the Iraqis move forward with their schedule for elections and the writing of a constitution, but all must realize that the results of these elections and the constitution will hold only if the parties know they can protect their basic interests (Wow, if I were an Iraqi, I would feel another Cheney Moment coming – somehow embedded in the phrase “don’t lecture me, son, you haven’t a clue as to what I’ve been through.). Helping Iraq come together this way, by peaceful negotiations and not by civil warfare, is the realistic way to secure the loyalty of Iraqis to their new state, and the best way to give them a future to defend (Yadda, yadda, yadda … boy, this guy is really boring). And it will strengthen our efforts, and those of others in the international community, to overhaul the program to train and build Iraqi security forces that have the will and the capacity to fight against the insurgents and terrorists. In this context too, Iraqi reconstruction of Iraq with international assistance will have a chance. (At this point, I got up to get a sandwich.)

Success in Iraq must be separated from our politics. It is too important to our troops who are serving there and to the security of our nation.
(Wow. What balls this neutered Mr. Heinz-Kerry has.) I hope President Bush will fashion policies that will succeed. But today we are not pursuing the most effective path. It is only by pursuing a realistic path (The only “realistic path” he mentions is turning over everything to Old Europe and the UN. I fail to see a strategy there.) to democracy in Iraq that we can connect our ideals with American common sense. Only then can we heal the wounds between our allies and ourselves and only then can we muster the might of our alliances to isolate our enemies and win the war on terrorism around the world.

OK, he’s had his say. How’d he do? Sorry, ladies, but this piece by Bullwinkle is devoid of strategy and realism. And to think he used Independence Day to unveil it. What a waste.

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