June 09, 2005

Jacksonian Daalder!

Ivo Daalder:

But now the American people are increasingly clamoring to be heard. They know this is a war that America cannot possibly win -- only the Iraqis can. So we need to put all our effort into training Iraqi police, paramilitary, and military forces. That must be America's number one, two, and three mission. And we must make clear that when Iraqis decide and vote on a constitution, our job there will be done, and our troops will come home.

Sounds more Jacksonian Rumsfeld than sober Brookings-ian mien, no? Or maybe it's just Howard Dean-y?

P.S. Will Ivo Daalder tell us what more he'd be doing on 'train and equip', like, specifically? Rather than have us hapless folk leaning over the counter at cafe TPM cogitate and hazard a guess at what "number one, two and three mission" might mean? Oh, and is it just me, or is it a flat-out risible policy prescription to have all the troops exit the minute the ink is dry on a constitution? Please.

P.P.S. Blogospheric snark aside, I'm very happy indeed to see an I.R. scholar of Daalder's caliber blogging over at TPM. We'll be reading him regularly over here at B.D., and adding him to the blog-roll soon.

P.P.P.S. I'm in the wilds of Armenia just now, but have high speed at the hotel. My schedule has been really hectic, but I might try to get a few thoughts down on Syria later tonight (I'm nine hours ahead of East Coast). Lotsa rumors swirling about re: what's next for Washington and Damascus.

Posted by Gregory at June 9, 2005 11:19 AM | TrackBack (3)
Comments

"And we must make clear that when Iraqis decide and vote on a constitution, our job there will be done, and our troops will come home."

You're right Greg, that doesnt make sense. Unless the training of Iraqi forces goes faster than the most optimistic predict, or the constitutional process goes slower than the most pessimistic predict, its hard to see Iraq being ready for zero US troops on Constitution day.

Posted by: liberalhawk at June 9, 2005 08:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"...its hard to see Iraq being ready for zero US troops on Constitution day".

It sure is. So hard that I'm shocked someone smart like Daalder is actually advocating it. He'll say it's because the war is not "winnable" and that it's the only halfway viable exit. To stay will be an even greater disaster etc. etc. I'm not buying. And, it bears mentioning, these are the kind of centrist-liberal/Brookings/Beltway bien pensant guys Kerry would have been listening to. Meantime, Iraq's current tensions--if you threw in the massive power vacuum that would result with a too hasty U.S. exit--well, today's violence would like a walk in the park compared to the carnage we'd leave behind in our defeatist rush out.

Posted by: greg at June 9, 2005 08:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yes, Greg, but now that we know what you think of Daalder you need to tell us what you think of Khindogny.

Posted by: JEB at June 9, 2005 08:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

i try JEB! but your damn email doesn't want to receive email from me!

Posted by: greg at June 9, 2005 08:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As someone absolutely opposed to the invasion in the first place, nonetheless anybody advocating a withdrawal needs their head examined.

I do suspect the Bush admininstration was incredibly ill-prepared for the requirements of a post-invasion occupation and nation bulding, but the ultimate mistake in this entire fiasco would be to withdraw - as I think most here would agree.

That said it does in some sense make me seriously wonder about the lask of wisdom in the Bush Admin's "Sabre Rattling" (To quote p.lus) towards Iran. The positively worst thing the Bush Administration could do at this point is escalate things with Iran. The reality is that the US is stretched to thin to open another theatre of conflict, and I cannot forsee her allies being willing to invade Iran without US military support.

Therefore at this point in time they may have no choice but to accept the Iran will develop the bomb unless the Europeans can prevent this - which they may delay but I'd be surprised if that can do more than that.

Bush's stance on Iran in particular smacks of a hyperactive child. Its almost as if now that Saddam's gone he's losing patience with the actual hard work of building a viable democratic state and is casting an eye around for the next glorious fight and bit of excitement. Given his personal history as something of a shirker, maybe its not all that suprising...

Posted by: Aran Brown at June 9, 2005 10:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As someone absolutely opposed to the invasion in the first place, nonetheless anybody advocating a withdrawal needs their head examined.

sorry Aran, but by making a commitment to withdraw at some point (like when a Constitution is approved) the US would be able to receive far more help/co-operation from the international community in preventing Iraq from sliding into chaos. The reason we don't have more international support is that nobody trusts Bushco's motives (with good reason.) Were the US to commit to withdrawing all of its troops from Iraq (and the rest of the Middle East --- no fair "withdrawing" through Syria, or staging them in Qatar for an attack on Iran) the international community would probably feel compelled to act to avoid the consequences of Iraq falling into chaos.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 10, 2005 12:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Honestly, P. l., do you know this or are you just making it up? It is a huge stretch to imagine that "the international community's" reasons for wanting to stay aloof from Iraq are the same as the reasons you dislike American policy there -- especially in view of the fact that were European and other nations to change their stance it would be their guys who'd be getting shot at, not you.

My guess, off what happened in the former Yugoslavia ten years ago and Rwanda eleven years ago, is that the fervent desire not to have their guys shot at is a pretty big deal for most European governments, and most of the countries to which it is not such a big deal don't feel that big a stake in avoiding the civil war in Iraq that would follow hard on an American withdrawal.

Posted by: JEB at June 10, 2005 03:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

JEB,

No kidding! The idea that Europe especially would do anything significantly more dangerous than what they are doing now under any circumstances is misreading them completely. Nothing we did in the past or do in the future will change that at all. This requires an internal transformation. Bush and Blair's supposed inept diplomacy is not the issue. There is absolutely no precedent for Europe, outside of Britain, putting large amounts of troops anywhere off the continent (or even on the continent if it is outside their own state) since WWII except to try and hang onto their own colonies.

Posted by: Lance at June 10, 2005 04:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That said it does in some sense make me seriously wonder about the lask of wisdom in the Bush Admin's "Sabre Rattling" (To quote p.lus) towards Iran. The positively worst thing the Bush Administration could do at this point is escalate things with Iran. The reality is that the US is stretched to thin to open another theatre of conflict, and I cannot forsee her allies being willing to invade Iran without US military support.

I think another problem with an escalation is Iran's influence within Iraq -- they could really cause the place to blow up if they wanted.

Posted by: guy at June 10, 2005 04:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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