A piece in the New York Observer chastises the Democrats for some shallow thinking on Iraq. Here are some excerpts:
If opinions about what to do in Iraq could be untangled from views of the Bush administration, it might be possible to have an honest debate about the consequences of a rapid American pullout.
Instead, we are treated to glib remarks even from some of the nation's foremost politicians. "There is no military solution," Senator Hillary Clinton said on the night before the testimony. "That is why I believe we should start bringing our troops home."
It was a dispiriting non sequitur from a woman who is known as one of the more realistic voices in the Iraq debate. There is indeed no exclusively military solution. But that doesn't change the fact that American troops are an essential part of any attempt to get Iraq back on its feet, since they appear to be needed to provide the security that might allow political progress to gain traction.
The thinking of other leading Democrats seems to trundle along even more predictable and flawed lines. The progression seems to be: Bush is bad; Bush doesn't want withdrawal; therefore withdrawal is good.
In a Washington Post op-ed on Saturday, presidential candidate Bill Richardson exhibited an abundance of wishful thinking.
Mr. Richardson asserted that "only a complete withdrawal can ... break the deadlock that has been killing so many people for so long."
But it is not "deadlock" that has been killing people. It is gangs of heavily armed religious fanatics and assorted other thugs. To suggest that a U.S. withdrawal would lead those groups to come to some kind of amicable understanding is risible.
Those who favor an immediate American withdrawal from Iraq bridle at being described as "irresponsible." That is fair enough when Republicans throw out the term as a thinly disguised code for "cowardly" or "traitorous." But at a much more fundamental level, the U.S. does indeed have responsibilities toward Iraq. They do not just begin and end with Colin Powell's famous injunction that "you break it, you own it."
The U.S. sought to create a new, free Iraq. Millions of Iraqis joined with it in that project, at mortal risk to themselves. They were badly let down by America's blunderings and botches. But to abandon them too hastily, too selfishly or too thoughtlessly would be the greatest betrayal of all.
Reading this column I was reminded of the movie Beyond the Gates which tells a story based upon the tragedy of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Thousands of helpless Tutsis had taken shelter from the murderous Hutus in a school occupied by U.N. troops. Hundreds of Hutus massed outside the gates of the school shouting threats and waving their blood-soaked machetes in the air night and day. At length the troops are ordered to withdraw, and the orc-like Hutus close in on the defenseless Tutsis, butchering 2500 of them.
I doubt anyone could watch this movie without feeling total anger and outrage at how these people were abandoned by the West and left to be slaughtered by the Hutus. If anyone doubts the complete fecklessness and uselessness of the U.N. they should watch this movie, but if they do, they need also to see it as a metaphor for Iraq. The left is insisting we do in Iraq the very same thing the U.N. did in Rwanda. The U.N. troops were caught in a civil war of extermination. They could have saved thousands of lives by staying and protecting the Tutsis but they chose to get out of the way, just as the Last Helicopter crowd is urging that the U.S. do in Iraq.
I invite anyone who believes we should pull out - John Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Russ Feingold, Dick Durbin, Bob Casey, Chris Dodd, Barbara Boxer and the twenty or so other Democratic senators who demand a pullout - to watch this movie and then at the end - while the U.N. is wheeling their vehicles out of the school grounds, and the desperate children are lying in their path to stop them, and the Hutus are dancing with glee in anticipation of their imminent butchery - say that the U.N. was doing the right thing by getting out of the way.
If they can't say that about the U.N. in Rwanda how can they say we should retreat from Iraq where the consequences of our withdrawal would be probably at least as horrific as what happened in Rwanda? And if they can support the U.N.'s actions then I don't want to ever again hear any of these people talk about how they care about people. I think it would make me sick.
Rent the movie. It cuts through all the arguments and abstractions about Iraq, even though Iraq, of course, is never mentioned, and shows us vividly exactly what the likely fate of Iraqis would be as soon as we leave them to the savages whose chief delight is the butchering of innocents.RLC