Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hillary Has A Point, But Doesn't Know It

It's interesting that this photo accompanies AP's story on Hillary's response to Defense undersecretary Eric Edelman's answer to the candidate's request for info on Pentagon tactics for withdrawing from Iraq. Edelman now famously wrote back,
Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon, and [your husband's personal fiasco] Somalia.
The photo isn't interesting because it appears to show Hillary coming up empty-handed, but because it was taken yesterday as she addressed the Planned Parenthood Action Fund's annual policy summit. How is it that she can be so concerned about the welfare of our troops, who volunteered for war, while being so cavalier about the unborn, who do not volunteer for abortions?

As much as I loved the gutsiness of Edelman's answer -- no job for him should Hillary win! -- she does have a point. Not that she knows it, as evidenced by her response:

"Undersecretary Edelman has his priorities backward," Clinton wrote, calling his claim "outrageous and dangerous."

As if abandoning the war on terror for a point or two in the next poll isn't outrageous and dangerous.

Her point, and I hope someone will point it out to her, is this: Leaving Iraq won't be easy or safe. It will be costly, time-consuming and risky. The first two are self-apparent; the latter involves first the question of how to defend a diminishing presence when that presence is more concerned with logistics than defense. An elated, victorious al-Qaeda will want to bloody us until the last boot leaves the ground, so withdrawal will be done in the context of increased hostility and threat.

A withdrawal contingency planning effort would also need to address force level planning for whatever comes next, after a jubilant jihadist movement determines its next step in their long-term war plan.

It would be good for this information to be part of the public debate, because the Dems are proceeding as if withdrawing in defeat is a simple, risk-free task that protects the troops. They won't pay attention to the fact that there's a second very bloody chapter that will follow their desired rapid end of chapter one, so maybe we can get their attention by illuminating how a quickly ended first chapter will, indeed, end.

It will be a sad story. There will not be places "just over the horizon" that will work to stabilize Iraq. Because the "just over the horizon" concept is fundamentally unworkable, the cost and risks involved in stabilizing Iraq from unsatisfactory remote locations will be high.

There will be much justification for reducing our troop counts from current levels due to the changes brought by defeat, but as I mentioned, any reasonable withdrawal planning scenario would also have to consider the jihadists' next move, and the troop force implications of those moves.

Edelman, of course, is right: Discussing this publicly would be a propaganda gold mine for the jihadists, who would use it to recruit more suicide bombers, saying the Great Satan is on the run, so this is a great time for martyrdom. But the Dems are exploiting the situation, pointing only to the death toll in Iraq without having to deal with the implications of their drive to withdrawal and defeat.

Give the Armed Services Committee a confidential briefing and let them deal with it. If they don't, let there be leaks.

Labels: , ,