You’ve caught the firetruck. Now what?

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).

And this:

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 advice 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.

Cross-posted to The Glittering Eye.

FILED UNDER: General, , , , , , , , , , ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. Michelle Malkin, PoliPundit, Riehl World View, Instapundit, Althouse, Classical Values, The Sundries Shack, Sister Toldjah, Blue Crab Boulevard, Red State American, The Political Pit Bull, Weblogging, Outside The Beltway, The Adventures of Chester, The Belmont Club, Austin Bay Blog, Scared Monkeys, Redstate, Right Wing News, Alabama Liberation Front, No Quarter, Macsmind. This post is an open trackback. Make a link

  2. Cernig says:

    Hi Dave, and welcome to OTB. James has caught himself a good one. You’ll be a great addition to his team.

    Now, I’m going to disagree, and simply cross-post my comment from Glittering Eye:

    Why should the Dems have a plan again? None of them are the Commander in Chief and head of the Unitary Executive. Seems to me they don’t need a plan until 2008 – by which time Bush will have had 2 more years of opportunity to solve or make a mess of things. Until then, all they need to have is realistic criticism of and advice for any new Bush plan, to make sure it isn’t as damn stupid as the last one. Isn’t that their correct job as majority party in both houses when they don’t actually control the administration?

    Bush and the Republicans got everyone into the mess in Iraq and are now demanding that the Dems solve their intractable Gordian Knot for them. So are you and Ralph Peters. How does that work again? It’s intellectually and politically dishonest to a breathtaking level. Let’s hear what the new Bush plan is, then work from there.

    Come to that, what would your plan be? Or mine. Or Ralph Peters. Seems to me those are as relevant a set of questions as asking what the Dems’ current plan is.

    Regards, Cernig

  3. Cernig,

    There is a phrase of lead, follow or get out of the way. While you may forget past votes, the AUMF was passed with bipartisan support.

    The democrats won the election. They have the opportunity to lead. If they choose not to, then they need to either follow who they would want to lead (you seem to suggest Bush) or get out of the way. Saying that they should just snipe from the side lines is not getting out of the way.

    We will fight this war in this region. The only question is do we fight it today or do we fight it in the future. Failing to fight to win today will make the war in the future harder to fight, but not impossible.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    And, as I noted in my post, the interests that are at stake and won’t go away just because we leave Iraq are American interests not just the interests of the present administration.

    Mind you, I think you’ve laid out pretty well one likely Democratic strategy for going into 2008: we can’t do anything at all until we have control of the presidency, too. Not particularly statesmanlike but possibly shrewd politics. Like everything else it’s a gamble and a gamble that banks on Americans trusting them not just more than the Republicans but more than divided government.

  5. madmatt says:

    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. YES TELL USLL ABOUT EXTREMISTS YOU HACK!

    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. THAT HASN”T HAPPENED IN 6 YEARS WHY WOULD HE CHANGE NOW…HE HAS DECIDED AFTER ALL?

    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.
    THE ULTIMATE FLIPFLOPPING HACK AND HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE ADULT….WHEN HE RETURNS TO HIS PREVIOUS POSITION ON FUNDIES I MIGHT HAVE A LITTLE RESPECT FOR HIM…PLUS HADN’T YOU HEARD HE FAKED HIS CAPTURE IN VIETNAM AND HUNG OUT IN BANGKOK WITH WHORES FOR 5 YEARS!

  6. Dave,

    Welcome to the guest host spot on this blog. Let me introduce to you madmatt. He is one of the more coherent members of the left on this spot. You can’t mistake what madmatt is saying is anything less than what it seems. Please feel free to reason with him. It provides loads of entertainment to the rest of us. Sort of like feeding time at the zoo but messier.

  7. Al-Qaeda in Iraq claims it’s winning war…

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed in a new audio tape Friday to be winning the war faster than expected in Ir…

  8. just me says:

    I don’t think the democrats are in a position to step aside.

    Many of them ran on promises to bring the troops home, to fix Iraq, they kept saying “we can do better.”

    Basically, if they do nothing, then all the lovely campaign commercials will start showing up in ’08 asking why X congressman made the promise and didn’t keep it.

    Shoot in NH about the only thing I ever heard Hodes say was that he would do a better job in Iraq, and he promised to bring our national guard and reserve troops home. I better at least try to deliver, because now that the dems are in charge, they can’t sit back and snipe for the next 2 years.