Thursday, August 03, 2006

Why carry on in Iraq? In Lebanon? Because we can't let them win. No other reason.

David Broder has published an editorial today that the White House needs to read.

The question in both Iraq and in Lebanon is why we are fighting there now. The only remaining answer, David points out, is "we can't afford to let the other guy win."

Not that if we continue what we are doing we or the Israelis will win the war we each are fighting. Both know that doing what we are doing right now will not lead to winning. The only reason we are continuing to do what we are doing is to keep the other side from winning! There is no policy in either theater of war that will lead to a win for either us or the Israelis. Apparently the hope is that after enough time passes, maybe something will change and we'll get lucky.

Broder then points out that for the U.S. in the two previous stalemates we finally negotiated a stalemate in Korea (that resulted in over 50 years of Peace in which the North Koreans have not again invaded South Korea) and we simply left South Viet Nam and effectively turned it over to the man we had been fighting against from the time the French left in 1954, twenty years earlier. The result of that is that Viet Nam is a trading partner of the U.S. and we have our embassy located in Hanoi instead of Saigon.

So what will happen if we simply walk away from Iraq, or the Israelis simply stop shooting up Lebanon and ask the neighboring states for help?

I've got more confidence that we could walk away from Iraq as we did with Viet Nam and have little negative repercussion. I frankly have a lot less trust in the members of Hezbollah. Israel has already turned South Lebanon over to them once, and all they did was to build a larger and stronger army and continue to attack Israel. But in neither case is "Stay the Course!" going to give any satisfactory result.

"Stay the Course!" is the strategy of the alcoholic who wakes up every morning and starts drinking again, hoping that somehow he'll not end the day as an alcoholic loser. That's doing the same thing that got bad results yesterday all over again, but hoping that some miracle will save you today and give a better result. As the alcoholics in AA will point out, that is the definition of insanity.

Which, come to think of it, is a real good description of the Bush administration and the Republican leadership in Congress. They are insulated, isolated, and insane.

David Broder is much too polite to utter that obvious truth, but he came very close in today's editorial.

[Thanks to Kevin Drum]

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