americanthinker Part 2

I received an email response from David Yerushalmi regarding my response to the americanthinker article. Let me respond here.

I apologize in the extreme, but your response is incoherent.

You'll have to tell me which bit you didn't understand in order for me to fill in the details.

You suggest the entire “Bush game-plan” is to do just enough to allow the Iraqis to effect a cultural, religious, and social revolution of sorts.

Correct. It's certainly my game plan, and so far Bush has been doing everything I wanted him to do. The advantage of my position is it suggests that Bush is fighting competently, while your position requires the entire Bush administration to be criminally incompetent.

But you provide no evidence, historical or otherwise, that this can be done or that any reasonable person would conclude that it will be done.

Also correct. We have no experience of doing this sort of thing. We don't have a lot of prior experience with Arab Muslim democracies. A lot of people said it couldn't be done - that the Arabs couldn't handle democracy. I have even heard this opinion from Arabs. We needed to get a handle on why Arabs apparently preferred sadistic dictators to liberal democracy, to at least understand WHY the Arabs couldn't handle democracy. Because whatever is wrong with them, it's started becoming a security threat to the free world. Iraq was the country most likely to succeed. With 3 distinct groups, liberal democracy is the only viable system we know of. We needed to find out what on earth was in the Iraqi people's brains, and the only "information" we had prior to the war was that 100% of them had voted for Saddam. I'm not sure why you find this so inconceivable. We needed to first analyze the problem in order to be able to deal with it. We needed the results of a secret ballot with no coercion whatsoever.

Given, that, to send in our armed forces and to expend the lives and the treasure on such an ambiguous battle plan is precisely the analogy to Vietnam.

You are failing to recognize that Vietnam in 1972 was a COMPLETE and UTTER US victory. We had set up a South Vietnamese government that was able to look after its own territory, which it did for THREE YEARS unassisted. The ONLY thing it couldn't handle was an external military invasion by a superior force, be it USSR, China, UK, France or as it turns out, North Vietnam. South Vietnam should have been given the same protection that Australia was given from an external invasion by the USSR.

A military plan could work but it requires a real military’s execution not a rag tag country-regime-army of Muslim Arab Iraqis (order is important in this listing) in the making.

It is the insurgents that a rag-tag army. The new Iraqi Army is better trained, has far superior firepower, and vastly outnumbers the insurgents. Of course it is a long way from being as good as the US Army, but it doesn't need to be as good as the US Army in order to defeat the insurgents. So long as we don't require the Iraqi Army to defend against an external invasion by say Iran, the Iraqi Army will eventually prevail against the insurgents, even without US help. However, there is no reason to prove that. It is better to keep the war grossly one-sided by keeping US troops in the arena.

We might suggest you read the responsive critique of the Colonel’s essay by James Lewis posted by the AT on their blog portion – right side. It is a classic “neo-con” argument that you have proposed in less clear terms. The Colonel and I replied rather vigorously to Mr. Lewis and you can also find that reply posted in the blog section of AT. We have also linked that at SANE. Mr. Lewis posted on final rebuttal but it was more a concession. He showed real intellectual integrity where most men just dig in and bury their heals.

I assume you are talking about this article. It was your reply to James Lewis that caused my original message. This does not negate anything that I have said.

I can only suggest that you peruse our arguments on the War and the war strategy at SANE carefully.

I assume you are referring to this article.

Let me respond briefly to that too. In Vietnam as a whole, a majority had probably been sucked into the siren song of communism. Ergo, democracy meant communism. The non-communists voted with their feet and created South Vietnam. You can argue that we should have left all of Vietnam to the communist majority, and you can argue that we should have forced all of Vietnam to be capitalist. But the US thought a reasonable solution was simply to have two Vietnams, as was working in Korea. Securing South Vietnam was a straightforward technical task, and by 1972 had been accomplished. There was no fatal flaw. The strategy was totally successful. The US only needed to keep a small force to protect South Vietnam from a conventional external invasion. The US's failure to do so was where the fatal flaw was. You didn't even mention that. There was nothing stopping Vietnam from looking like Korea. It is not rocket science. It is a straightforward technical task to give to the US military.

The US military has been given a similar straightforward technical task in Iraq - train up a new Iraqi army which can look after its own territory. All indications are that this is a complete success. It was a complete success from the moment people started forming long queues to VOLUNTEER to join the Iraqi Army, and continued to form long queues even when those queues were regularly attacked. The Iraqi people have done their bit. They proved to be both brave and to trust the US. Everything else is straightforward. The other thing the Iraqi people did was vote for a moderate government which respects human rights including freedom of speech. Again, we can't really ask for more than this. There was a risk that 90% of them had been brainwashed to vote for someone like Saddam. This danger turned out to be unfounded.

The sectarian violence in Iraq is certainly unfortunate, but it has NO MILITARY EFFECT. It is no different from a lot of car crashes, or the murder rate in South Africa. It lowers the population a little bit, but is not a threat to the government. There are an estimated 20k insurgents who have got it into their head that they can somehow topple the democratically-elected Iraqi government. 20k in a population of 27 million. Up against 300k Iraqi security forces. This is a turkey-shoot. The 300k will eventually defeat the 20k, and US assistance makes the fight even more one-sided and has the extra benefit of making sure no external invader enters Iraq, which would indeed mean the whole war was for nothing.

The current strategy is not just sound, it's EXACTLY the most strategic thing to do. If you have any specific complaints about Bush's actions since 9/11 I will be happy to answer them. The only quibbles I have with Bush's actions are:

1. When bombing the Taliban, he paused, and gave them an opportunity to hand over Osama Bin Laden. This would have been disastrous. Turning Afghanistan into a friendly democracy was far more important in geostrategic terms than catching a two-bit terrorist. Quite apart from the moral obligation I believe the free world had to liberate 25 million Afghans from state-slavery and protect women from being lashed by their own government. Fortunately the Taliban refused to hand him over.

2. Bush told Saddam that he could still avoid war by laying out his weapons. Again, Saddam's WMD were not nearly as important as understanding Arab Muslim mentality so that we can figure out how to respond to 9/11.

So, I do have my suspicions about Bush's competence, but where he has engaged in war, he has done so PERFECTLY, trying to find out the minimum force required to fight a war of liberation instead of a war of conquest. Creating new military doctrine. A new military doctrine that will dramatically lower the barrier to war, and enable a multinational force to liberate people instead of the coalition being dominated by the US. This is where we want to end up.

I have written about this previously on my blog. There are many articles, e.g. this one.

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