Saturday, November 19, 2005

Smoking crack about Iraq

As my friends know, one of the things I find fascinating is how political debate sometimes leads to elaborate, almost ridiculous neoogisms. A case in point is the word "Finlandization" that I encounted in the old game "Balance of Power", which is intended to refer to the submission of a weak nation towards a powerful neighbor (for example, Finland and the Soviet Union during the Cold War). Another favorite is "Liebermanization", referring to the process by which a Democratic Politician destroys his or her political support by adopting a hawkish stance on the use of military force.

A New York Times article (hat tip: Ann Althouse) reporting on the symbolic defeat of a bill calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq offers another interesting neologism: the word "Swift-boat" is now a verb.

The article is interesting in another respect:
On Thursday, Mr. Murtha called for pulling out the 153,000 American troops within six months, saying they had become a catalyst for the continuing violence in Iraq. His plan also called for a quick-reaction force in the region, perhaps based in Kuwait, and for pursuing stability in Iraq through diplomacy.
Let's think about this for a second. The terrorists in Iraq are, at the very least in part, functional elements of Al Qaeda's global terror network. Al Qaeda certainly views American troops in Iraq as a catalyst for more violence. Al Qaeda views American troops in Kuwait, or anywhere in the Arabian peninsula for that matter, as a catalyst for more violence. Al Qaeda views me, the overweight American non-muslim who has nothing to do with Iraq, as a catalyst for more violence. The war on terror is being fought in Iraq, like it or not. Until the Iraqi government is stong enough to suppress the terrorist insurgents on its own, a total withdrawal of America's military from Iraq can only be construed as a defeat in the war on terror.

Of course, one suspects that Mr. Murtha suspects this himself, which is why he offers up the smokescreen of a quick-reaction force based in Kuwait or some other host country in the area. If I remember correctly, the idea of a quick-reaction force of American troops based in Kuwait was a Clinton-era proposal designed to deter Saddham Hussein from launching another invasion of either Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. Obviously, that strategic underpinning of a quick-reaction force no longer exists. I'm also not convinced that a quick-reaction force in Kuwait can intervene in Iraq more rapidly than, say, forces stationed in Iraq proper. And, of course, when the terrorist insurgents shift their attacks from Iraq to Kuwait to counter our quick-reaction force -- they are puported catalysts for violence, after all -- our withdrawal from Iraq to Kuwait will have accomplished exactly nothing.

1 Comments:

Anonymous E-man said...

Yep... you are right, Al Qaeda views anything as a catalyst for more violence. But Al Quaeda is formed by 10, maybe 20, very bad guys, say, and that's I think too little to keep suicide-bombing for more than a month... What the occupation of Iraq is causing, not to mention all side effects (remember Abu Graib?) is convincing "normal" people -who every single day lose a brother, or a father, or a mother or sister or whoever- that it is worth blowing themselves up to punish (usually) only two U.S. soldiers... That's why I think not only U.S., but anybody in the world, should stop being arrogant, hold back their will to overwhelm and begin to be less greedy, less selfish, more humble...

7:43 AM  

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