I’d like to commend Ralph Peters’s most recent column to your attention (hat tip: Austin Bay). In the column Peters gives a little unsolicited advice to the Democratic leaders who’ve taken control of the Congress after 12 years in the wilderness.
A few things in the column caught my eye. For example
Most Dem leaders realize that, with just a few missteps, Iraq could become their debacle. Their problem is that they never formulated a serious plan for Iraq. All rhetoric and no specifics, they just ran against the administration’s bungling.
The Democrats do have a plan. It’s called “phased re-deployment”. It calls for removing most of our forces from Iraq by the middle of 2007, re-deploying them variously stateside, to Afghanistan (where they’ll be handy targets for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda raiders who flee across the Pakistan border), to an unnamed neighboring country (if any will have them after we’ve abandoned what friends of the United States still remain in Iraq).
Now that they’ve won on the issue, the Dems would like Iraq to just go away.
I don’t think the Democrats are alone in this. I think that the Republicans and most Americans would just like Iraq to go away. I will be very surprised if the Republican response to their losses on Tuesday will be to call for victory in Iraq. I think they’ll want to get U. S. forces in Iraq off the front page by 2008.
Unfortunately, even if our forces currently in Iraq go away, our interests in the region won’t. These interests include the sometimes cozy sometimes tense relationships that the governments in the region have with their own violent Islamists, Israel, and, of course, oil. Simply decamping will weaken our hand in ensuring all of these.
I think that Peters’s concluding adivce is sound:
Advice to the Dems: You’ve won. Congratulations. Now get your extremists under control and assess Iraq honestly. And don’t just mew about supporting our troops – do it.
Advice to the Bush administration: Don’t take desperate measures in Iraq without thinking them all the way through. Mr. President, sit down one-on-one with the two- stars who command or commanded in Iraq – the fighting generals – without any Defense Department apparatchiks manipulating what you hear. Listen to the unfiltered truth.
Advice to Sen. McCain: Ask the tough questions before either the administration or the Democrats on the Hill make a bad situation worse in Iraq. Our government needs adult supervision. You’re it.