Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Dems Do What They're So Mad At Bush About Doing

Tom Vilsack may deserve to be governor of Iowa, but he definitely does not deserve to be president.

We ask our presidents to make hard decisions based on good information, good strategic intelligence and a long-term perspective. Vilsack, in a WaPo op/ed calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, lies to the American people about the intelligence and offers up a feel-good strategy with a short-term view.

Here's the reasons Vilsack gives for withdrawal:

Casualties: He starts the op/ed with this:
Think of the last time you were in a public place with 1,000 people -- a sports event, a Fourth of July parade, a concert.

Now imagine all 1,000 of those people dead.

His point: At current rates, 1,000 troops will die in Iraq in the next year. He finds this a powerful image, influenced, no doubt, by the fact that as governor he's met with the families of more than 40 fallen soldiers.

His argument is a good one for fighting the war smarter, but it is not one for withdrawal. Americans are willing to lose more than 1,000 troops if the cause is good: Elimination of the Islamofascist threat and stability in the global oil zone. Simply being saddened by the loss is not justification for withdrawal, because withdrawal comes with a price too.

Nowhere in Vilsack's piece does he discuss what might follow withdrawal. No discussion of a rising Iran or a terribly bloody war for power that would leave millions, not thousands, dead. No mention ofwhat withdrawal would do to America's ability to fight next time. All he wants is to stop feeling bad, to stop American families from losing their sons and daughters. But unfortunately that is not reason enough.

Winnability. Vilsack says, in effect, we're loosing because the status quo isn't working. He provides no evidence. He cites the Iran Study Group, which said the status quo is working in some ways and not in others. And he says the latest National intelligence Estimate says "that Iraq is in the throes of a civil war and that the capacity of U.S. troops to influence the outcome is severely limited."

It says no such thing; Vilsack is caught lying about the intelligence before him. The NIE does not say Iraq is "in the throes of a civil war." Here is exactly what it says:
The Intelligence Community judges that the term “civil war” does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qa’ida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence. Nonetheless, the term “civil war” accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements.
Vilsack might as well have said Sunnis were shopping for yellowcake in Africa.

Nor does the NIE say out capacity to influence the outcome is severely limited. In fact, the very next paragraph after the one quoted above says,
Coalition capabilities, including force levels, resources, and operations, remain an essential stabilizing element in Iraq. If Coalition forces were withdrawn rapidly during the term of this Estimate, we judge that this almost certainly would lead to a significant increase in the scale and scope of sectarian conflict in Iraq, intensify Sunni resistance to the Iraqi Government, and have adverse consequences for national reconciliation.
Vilsackt is a minor candidate who will certainly fall out in the first round of primaries, yet he shows the challenge the Dems will face in 2008: To appease the anti-war elements of the party -- and they must appease the anti-war elements if they have a hope of winning -- they have do exactly what they accuse Bush of doing: Ignore or lie about intelligence, and be driven by personal motivations, not what's best for America.

The Dems, who wrongly accuse Bush of lying us into a war, will have to lie their way out of a war if they hope to win.

Hat-tip: Real Clear Politics
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