Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Monday, August 25, 2003
A Simple Plan
Calpundit wonders what Bush is trying to do in Iraq.
So what is he doing? His reluctance to involve the UN or the rest of the world is at least understandable given his worldview, but his reluctance to do anything just boggles the imagination. Even accepting the world on his terms, his actions make no sense.
At this point, I simply have no idea what he's up to. He's in the process of losing the war he was so eager to fight six months ago, a loss that could have a devastating impact on American security, and he doesn't show any signs of caring. He's seemingly more interested in protecting his tax cuts than he is in making sure that our victory in Iraq remains a victory.
First, it's often dangerous to assume there is a master plan with this bunch. They have a habit of getting into messes by just doing whatever expedience or ideology calls for and then finding ways of explaining why this was exactly where the brilliant all-contingencies-allowed-for long range framework called for them to be at this point. The budget deficits are less a cunning plan to destroy Social Security than simply the automatic result of cutting and recutting taxes without any attempt to impose politically unpopular spending discipline. The same thing can be seen in Iraq; having fallen into a sewer they come up with the 'flypaper' story to show that the sewer is the ideal place to be.
I suspect that the broader strategy in Iraq was what the Neocon master plan called for: use this attack and later ones in Syria and perhaps elsewhere to launch a domino effect of creating pro-Western, anti-terror, and perhaps even democratic regimes throughout the Middle East. Having run into total failure on the first plan, the backup looks something like this: Take one year to throw together something that looks like a democratic regime in Iraq or a reasonable facsimile thereof. This allows the troops to withdraw at exactly the time you want them to. The upcoming or just-completed withdrawal can be announced with fanfare at the Republican Convention, and Bush can get great campaign photo ops with returning troops. The new government will probably give us long term leases on a base or two, where we can keep watch over Syria, Iran, and the Gulf. Mission accomplished, a new regime in Iraq, the world made safe for democracy.
It won't hold, of course, but the beauty of this plan is that it doesn't have to. If we withdraw in one year, the new government only has to hang on for a few months until the first Tuesday of November, and that should be very doable.
Plan A: reform and redesign the entire Middle East. Plan B: set up a Potemkin republic that will hold long enough for one election. Think of it as the option we didn't try in Vietnam: declare victory and get out.