In a speech today before the Johns' Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, Senator Edward M. Kennedy laid out what TruthOut.org unsurprisingly calls a realistic and responsible course for America's future in Iraq. The plan consists of five points:
Of course disengagement is exactly what is occurring in Iraq as we have transitioned from a military government to a civilian interim government to a freely elected Iraqi government to be chosen this weekend. Senator Kennedy is simply saying that we should do what we are doing.
His insistence that the United Nations should take over, however, is a prescription for disaster. The U.N. has never successfully brokered or protected a peace unless it was backed by American arms. The U.N. is deeply mistrusted by those Iraqis who saw their oil wealth diverted into the pockets of it's officials and who remember how the U.N. pulled up stakes and ran when their headquarters were bombed in 2003. If the U.N. had its way Saddam would still be in power. It's not likely that the blue helmets would have the resolve to stand up to Zarqawi and his thugs for very long.
This is so vague as to be meaningless. What does the Senator mean by "long-term presence"? Five years? Fifty years? Does leaving Iraq preclude maintaining military bases or depots there? What if the new Iraqi government wants such bases? We are still in Europe and South Korea fifty years after the wars that brought us there. Our presence around the globe has kept the peace where war would have otherwise been likely. Why should we pull our military completely out of Iraq if our presence there can prevent civil conflict or foreign invasion. Why not let the Iraqis decide what our long term relationship will be?
This is another foolish proposal. We should not leave Iraq until Iraqis can provide for their own security. To do otherwise would be to condemn the Iraqi people to the vengeance of the Islamist terrorists and the avarice of its neighbors. It would betray Iraq and utterly destroy respect for America around the world.
This is not only foolish, it is a fantasy. Does Senator Kennedy really believe that the Arab League would lift a finger to stop Iran, Syria, or Turkey from invading Iraq? Where was the Arab League when Iraq invaded Kuwait? What forces can the Arab League deliver to Iraq should any of its neighbors choose to invade? How will the Arab League prevent al Qaida or Zarqawi from carrying out large scale revenge killings? Was anyone laughing when the Senator delivered this line in his speech?
Again, the Senator is simply saying that we need to do what the Bush administration is already doing and trying to make it sound as if he's proposing something novel.
Actually, the Senator's plan, if acted upon by the U.S. would result in nothing but chaos and war. It would be an unmitigated calamity for the U.S. and the world. Kennedy's plan, to the extent that it does not simply restate Bush policy, consists of rhetorical bubbles, pretty to look at, perhaps, but fragile, insubstantial and doomed to burst. They are ungrounded in the realities of the Iraqi situation. Perhaps the Senator should stick to strategizing about how to take best advantage of the many fine restaurants and watering holes in Georgetown and leave international affairs to more qualified and thoughtful people.