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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stolen from comments at Tapped

The idea of a timetable for withdrawal leads to Republican claims that the insurgents would lie low and wait for us to depart. Wouldn't that be the best thing for training the Iraqi army? Without all those explosions and firefights wouldn't training take place in an environment where a)the Iraqis would show up,b)infantry training with drills instead of live fire and c)fewer roadside bombs since the insurgents are simply biding their time to attack again.
Set a timetable and stick to it. It's the only rational course.

TJM has just articulated what I have been thinking all along, isn't it exactly what we want for the insurgents to lie low for a time so we can rebuild the infrastructure, get Iraqis back to work and train the military and police. Who would want the insurgency back after we did all that?

What TJM said. I was about to write a blog post to that effect (really). I especially agree with Th's argument in support of TJM.

All I have left is the chance to note one odd thing. There is a bit of symmetry between the surge and the deadline -- both make combatents lie back and wait for it to be over.

please read on before biting my head off.

It appears that the surge has caused a shift of violence from Baghdad to Diyala as fighters are avoiding direct contact with the surging troops (esp the Mahdi army guys). Thus the "promise" consists of convincing Mahdi army fighters to lay low. On the other hand a deadline would be terrible because they and the sunni insurgents would lay low all over Iraq.

Now I think I can oppose the surge and support a deadline without falling into contradiction. For one thing the surge has direct costs to our overstrained military and the deadline does not. For another, the flypaper theory is absurd while there is solid evidence that the Baghdad surge has lead to increased violence in Dayala (the Mahdi army and the insurgents are not going to leave Iraq while laying low). Both Moqtada al Sadra and al Douri (close to insurgents) have said their condition for a cease fire is just that deadline. Iraqis are not convinced we don't plan to stay forever. A deadline for withdrawal would lead to actual withdrawal which I support (as do most Americans).

However, I don't see how it is possible to support the surge, which is explicitely of finite duration, while opposing a deadline for withdrawal. Both lead to fighters laying low. Is that a good thing or a bad thing Mr Brownstein ?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


The Life of King Henry the Fifth
By William Shakespeare

Act III. Scene I.

France. Before Harfleur.

Alarum. Enter KING HENRY, EXETER, BEDFORD, GLOUCESTER, and Soldiers, with scaling-ladders


Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Exeunt. Alarum, and chambers go off