Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Withdrawal debate? What debate?

In case you haven't heard, the debate over scheduling a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq has unofficially ended. Going forward anyone arguing that we should stay there indefinitely is virtually peeing into the wind. Somebody please notify the administration.

What this you may ask? No more debate? What gives Mr. Frik? Well the sovereign government of Iraq installed by America and ostensibly given free reign to govern independently has called for a withdrawal timetable.
The participants in Cairo agreed on "calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces ... control the borders and the security situation" and end terrorist attacks.
And this wasn't even the controversial stuff! Check out this nugget from the Seattle P.I. given to us by our Iraqi allies.
The conference's final statement also stated that "resistance is a legitimate right for all people" - a nod to Sunni Arab leaders who have sought to distinguish Iraqi insurgents they say are resisting the U.S. presence in Iraq from terrorism.

But the statement added, "Terrorism is not legitimate resistance and thus we condemn terrorism and the acts of violence, killings and kidnappings that target Iraqi citizens; civil, governmental and humanitarian organizations; national wealth and houses of worships. We ask that they be immediately confronted."
Wow... so the insurgents should not attack civilians, or houses of worship, or aid organizations, or their neighbors wife, nor his ass, nor the palm trees lining the road, nor the great heron or those after his kind, nor the factory of the township, nor the...etc etc etc... but guess who didn't make the off limits to attack list? Coalition troops! Nicely done by our Iraqi comrades. Now according to official policy American troops are legitimate targets. And no amount of spinning from state department flack Sean McCormack can turn this turkey into an eagle.
"They are calling on people to confront terrorism, so I think that is certainly very positive," spokesman Sean McCormack said of a statement adopted by Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders at a reconciliation conference in Cairo, Egypt, backed by the Arab League.

The statement, he said, deals with the legitimate right to peaceful protest, peaceful expression of differences. And, he said, the United States had "no quarrel with that idea."
Erm... that would be all fine and dandy Mr. Spin, but peaceful resistance was not what the Iraqis were contemplating. We would love it if the insurgents made their displeasure known by striking and conducting protests, but the term "resistance" here is not presaged with the word peaceful. As is made clear in the MSNBC article:
The final communique, hammered out at the end of three days of negotiations at a preparatory reconciliation conference under the auspices of the Arab League, condemned terrorism, but was a clear acknowledgment of the Sunni position that insurgents should not be labeled as terrorists if their operations do not target innocent civilians or institutions designed to provide for the welfare of Iraqi citizens.
In Egypt, the final communique's attempt to define terrorism omitted any reference to attacks against U.S. or Iraqi forces. Delegates from across the political and religious spectrum said the omission was intentional. They spoke to The Associated Press anonymously, saying they feared retribution.
Golly Iraqi allies... thanks for the backup on this. Based upon these developments alone president Bush would be absolutely dimwitted to not give the Iraqi government exactly what they asked for. A timetable to take away what the Iraqi government now says are legitimate targets for the insurgency. Our troops obviously have worn out their welcome and it is now time to start planning the withdrawal.

The issue was who should be labeled terrorists. Insurgents who only attack military targets are not terrorists, as commonly defined. They could be called rebels, insurgents, or revolutionaries, but not terrorists.

As for calling for a timetable for withdrawal, any good politician in Iraq should do that. Notice that they are talking about maybe being ready a year from now. Typical political posturing. It will be interesting to see if Bush gives them a timetable.
Jeff makes a good point about the definition of terms.

I think that a time table should be set as well. Libertarians were fairly split on going to Iraq when it first happenend.

I was one of the guys that believed the WMDs issue. After all, Hussein did use Mustard Gas on his own people. (The Kurds) That shows a willingness to use them *IF* he had them.

That said, I'm not happy with how things were handled and do believe that Imperialism is unacceptable.

Therefore, the Iraqi government SHOULD insist on some type of timetable now that they are building security forces. There's a difference between Intervention and Imperialistic Occupation. If the US does not have eyes on building a world empire then there is a need to articulate an exit strategy or rough time table. If the Iraqi's intend on self-rule, they need to insist on it.

I don't buy the Republican argument that a time table only tells the enemy how long to wait to attack the hapless government.
The fact is that on any given weekend, we could do the one thing we did well in Iraq. The Iraqi government could request Carrier Task Force strikes on targets and repel any enemy troops with minimal risk to American lives. This along with Iraqi troops should suffice. There's no need for us to risk more American Troops.
With the Iraqi's requesting a timetable it's time to get to work on it. I have previously supported a withdrawal of all forces except for keeping a couple of air bases in country to help with air power to try to stop a civil war. This is a proposal by Juan Cole who I respect immensely for his indepth knowlege and analysis of the middle east. I don't think anyone is calling for an immediate pullout, except the republican house leadership in trying to embarrass the democrats.
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