[Homestead] US Pull-Out of Iraq 2005
lkvp at floydva.net
Tue Sep 28 14:39:18 EDT 2004
An interesting opinion w/ a Republican slant. I don't care for what he says about my candidate of choice, but then I didn't expect him to be favorable.
Gary North's REALITY CHECK
Issue 382 September 28, 2004
U.S. PULL-OUT FROM IRAQ IN 2005
It's coming. That's the opinion of columnist Robert
I heard Novak give a tribute at Phyllis Schlafly's
80th birthday on September 18. Phyllis looks pretty much the
same as she did 25 years ago. She sounds the same. She
looks about my age. OK, maybe a bit younger. It was
Novak made it clear in his speech that he expects Bush
to win, and that he favors this outcome. He also said that
he has learned from talking with Kerry's staffers that they
are convinced that Hillary will get the nomination in 2008
if Kerry loses, which they think will lead to a Republican
victory, maybe for several Presidential elections.
That's too far in the future for me to worry about.
But Novak is as savvy a political columnist as any I read.
So, when he, as a partisan Republican, writes about
imminent Republican policies, I pay attention.
"DECLARE A VICTORY AND WITHDRAW"
That was Senator George Aiken's advice to President
Johnson regarding Vietnam in 1967. It was ignored. His
phrase has remained part of the country's vocabulary.
Eventually, we withdrew. There was no pretense of
victory. We suffered a clean-cut defeat. A bunch of men in
black pajamas beat us.
Desert Storm in 1991 was supposed to have been the
American military's liberation from the shadow of a defeat
in Vietnam. It wasn't. It was a war not fought to
completion -- no occupation of the defeated country. It
was fought in the open desert, where modern high-tech
military weaponry works: no place for enemy troops to hide.
That was a strategic fluke. No enemy will ever fight that
kind of war again against a modern military force. Instead,
the enemy will be plural. They will fight the kind of war
that Iraq's militants are fighting today: a war with no
head of state to surrender.
This is Fourth Generation warfare. William Lind has
written a lot about this. It is the warfare of the future,
the hit-and-run warfare of Fallujah.
A recent article in "The Guardian" cited military
strategists on the deterioration of the position of the
military in Iraq. One of the critics is Marine General
Joseph Hoare, who is the former Chief of the US Central
The idea that this is going to go the way these guys
planned is ludicrous. There are no good options.
We're conducting a campaign as though it were being
conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground.
It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the
world. The priorities are just all wrong.
Urban warfare has replaced Vietnam's jungle warfare,
but the strategic question is the same. How does a
conventional military force with very long supply lines
defeat a nationalist guerilla force that can recruit from a
growing number of alienated locals, who shelter the
guerrillas? That was the question the Russians faced in
Afghanistan in the 1980s. Their military defeat cost them
their empire. They are still facing this strategic
problem in Chechnya. They have come up with no solution, despite
far shorter supply lines.
We finally pulled out of Vietnam. The public would
tolerate the war no longer. The guerrillas wore down the
public's will to pursue victory. Novak says that plans are
now being made at the highest level to pull out of Iraq
Inside the Bush administration policymaking
there is strong feeling that U.S. troops must leave
Iraq next year. This determination is not predicated
success in implanting Iraqi democracy and internal
stability. Rather, the officials are saying: Ready or
not, here we go.
Could he be correct? He has looked at the three
alternatives, and he says the third is most likely.
Whether Bush or Kerry is elected, the president or
president-elect will have to sit down immediately
the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The military will tell the
election winner there are insufficient U.S. forces in
Iraq to wage effective war. That leaves three
options: Increase overall U.S. military strength to
reinforce Iraq, stay with the present strength to
continue the war, or get out.
Well-placed sources in the administration are
Bush's decision will be to get out. They believe that
is the recommendation of his national security team
would be the recommendation of second-term officials.
The same three options will face Kerry if he is
Novak says. He thinks Kerry will also choose the
The reality of hard decisions ahead is obscured by
blather on both sides in a presidential campaign. Six
weeks before the election, Bush cannot be expected to
admit even the possibility of a quick withdrawal.
John Kerry's political aides, still languishing in
fantastic speculation about European troops to the
rescue, do not even ponder a quick exit. But Kerry
supporters with foreign policy experience speculate
that if elected, their candidate would take the same
The political problem facing either man in 2005 will
be the same. Both have said that it was right to invade
Iraq. Each has said that his plan will work to bring
democracy to Iraq. Bush has said that a democratic Iraq
will serve as a beacon for other Islamic states in the
region. He told the U.N., "We must help the reformers of
the Middle East as they work for freedom and strive to
build a community of peaceful, democratic nations." This
assertion is looking less plausible every day. The
opposite looks true: Iraq's lack of democracy will stand as
a beacon for Islamic radicals throughout the region.
Novak doesn't mention it, but there is a major piece
of evidence pointing to withdrawal next year: the absence of
Donald Rumsfeld from TV screens ever since the Abu Ghraib
scandal broke. He was on screen constantly in March, 2003.
This year, he has been invisible. He, above all of the
Administration's officials, is most closely associated with
the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He is almost as
absent today as Baghdad Bob, and for the same reason. Like
Baghdad Bob, he is facing early retirement.
Even after our troops leave, the costs of the invasion
will remain. Iraq will become a foreign aid sinkhole.
Getting out now would not end expensive U.S.
reconstruction of Iraq, and certainly would not stop
But a problem will remain, foreign aid or no foreign aid.
Without U.S. troops, the civil war cited as the
worst-case outcome by the recently leaked National
Intelligence Estimate would be a reality. It would
take a resolute president to stand aside while Iraqis
battle it out.
Is Bush this resolute? Novak thinks not. Would Kerry
be this resolute? Kerry has called for additional troops
as a military solution -- though not lately. So has the
Democrats'ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, Joseph Biden. This would require the
re-institution of the draft. But it is politically
inconceivable that Kerry would re-institute the draft.
This would go against his entire political career, not to
mention his constituency. The Republicans would fight him
in Congress as a partisan defensive operation. So would
enough Democrats to block the bill.
If a President tries to re-instate the draft, soccer
moms will go into political lock-and-load.
Meanwhile, the government has re-established the draft
for the volunteer forces. Volunteers who signed up for a
fixed term are not being allowed to quit. This sends a
clear message to would-be volunteers: "Don't sign on the
dotted line. The contract will not be honored." A
contract that can be unilaterally violated is not a
contract. It's a surrender of one's liberty. Recruiting
has failed to provide sufficient troops. This is why the
Army is redeploying troops from South Korea and elsewhere.
Kerry has said nothing specific about what he plans to
do militarily in 2005. He is a mush-mouth, unlike Howard
Dean, who called for withdrawal. He is looking more and
more like Wendell Wilkie, the Republican mush-mouth who ran
against Franklin Roosevelt in 1940 on a platform of
The Kerry campaign, realizing that its only hope is
attack Bush for his Iraq policy, is not equipped to
make sober evaluations of Iraq. When I asked a Kerry
political aide what his candidate would do in Iraq,
could do no better than repeat the old saw that help
on the way from European troops. Kerry's foreign
advisers know there will be no release from that
SPEAKING LOUDLY AND CARRYING A WEAK REED
The cost of the Iraq war keeps rising. Attacks on
Iraq's oil pipelines take place almost daily. The
American-appointed government in Iraq does not possess
national legitimacy. Guerilla attacks on our troops and
Iraqi civilians are continual. Car bombings -- the
cultural innovation of the Irish Republican Army in 1972 --
take place daily. Terrorism is growing.
There was a once-popular argument that by taking the
war to Iraq, the President was keeping terrorists away from
our shores. The President invoked it again in his speech
to the United Nations on September 21. "Coalition forces
now serving in Iraq are confronting the terrorists and
foreign fighters so peaceful nations around the world would
never have to face them within our own borders."
(http://snipurl.com/99ym) But what happens if the
United States retreats, visibly beaten? No one is talking
about this. Yet from the beginning, this was the crucial
On September 17, 2001, my analysis of the projected
invasion of Afghanistan was published on Lew Rockwell's
site. I saw the invasion as a strategic mistake because no
nation has ever conquered Afghanistan. At best, an
occupying force can control Kabul, as the Soviet Union did,
but it cannot control the countryside, where warlords are
Today, the warlords are once again in control in the
countryside, now that the Taliban is out of power. They
make their money from the drug trade. The planting of opium
poppies is now at pre-Taliban levels. The Taliban had
forced drastic reductions in opium production. This cut
the income of farmers, so the U.S. government paid $43
million to the Taliban government in May, 2001. That
brought foreign aid to Afghanistan to $124 million for the
I wrote that our invasion would subsidize bin Laden's
A terrorist group needs recruits. A terrorist
movement needs recruits. If your strategy of terror involves
the extensive use of suicide missions, you need very
To get such recruits, you need the following: (1) a
cause that is greater than any individual; (2) a
of destiny associated with your cause; (3) the
perception that a sacrificial act on behalf of your
cause is never wasted or futile; (4) a vision of
victory; (5) publicly visible events that demonstrate
the power of your movement.
From what little I have read about Osama bin Laden,
movement possesses all five factors. He is especially
skilled with respect to point five. He understands
symbolism, and he understands Western media. This man
is a formidable enemy of Western civilization.
I believe that Americans have completely
misunderstood the events of 9-11. The attack was not a direct
assault on the United States primarily for the sake of making
us fearful. It was part of a recruiting campaign.
I have not changed my mind. We read today that
recruits are flowing into al Qaeda, despite the arrest of
bin Laden's top subordinates. Al Qaeda is now recruiting
non-Arabs, making the infiltration of the United States
easier. This became clear with Pakistan's capture of
Mohammed Naeem Khan and his computer in July. The media
picked up this story, but they did not headline it. It has
faded. (http://snipurl.com/991z) In 2001, I wrote:
Acts of terrorism are part of a larger strategy. A
government cannot stop all individual acts of
terrorism. A government's task is to thwart the
strategy. It can do this two ways: provide widespread
justice, thereby strengthening the resiliency and
legitimacy of the society, or else adopt ruthless
counter-terrorism. Anything in between will fail,
a society becomes a target of terrorists. Think of
Nicholas II. Think of Louis XVI.
The acts of 9-11 were symbolic attacks on American
finance capital (the towers) and American military
might (the Pentagon). The terrorists knew better than
to imagine that a nation can be undermined by terror
alone, especially terror that hits only sporadically.
They were making a statement: America's government
cannot protect its people or itself from men who are
willing to die. This statement was primarily for the
folks back home, not for us. The message is this: if
you are willing to die, you can help undermine the
Great Satan's seeming indestructibility. I am
that this attack was part of a recruiting program.
The problem for any military invader of Afghanistan is
that the troops cannot control the territory outside major
cities. This is doubly true in this war, because most of
the troops have been sent to Iraq, but I did not forecast
this in 2001.
Bin Laden got exactly what every strategic terrorist
wants. He got the enemy government to escalate a war
which the terrorists inherently control, for they
the battlefields, the weapons, and the escape routes.
The terrorists establish the terms of engagement. The
initiative lies with the terrorists. The government
We will be victorious, Congressmen assured us, one by
one, on C-Span, in their speeches on September 14.
Well, politicians also tell us there will be
tax reform. There hasn't been for twenty years. They
tell us Social Security is solvent. It isn't. They
us there are trust funds with money in them. There
aren't. Now they tell us that bin Laden is as good as
dead. He isn't.
Our military defeated the Taliban, but in doing so,
it turned the country back over to the warlords. Bin Laden
escaped, or seemed to. If he is dead, his name is still a
force to be reckoned with. He remains alive in the minds
of the recruits.
Our politicians threw down a verbal gauntlet. It was
a very risky gauntlet. Its success depends on the ability
of U.S. forces to maintain control on the ground.
I have never heard such rhetoric as I heard on C-Span
regarding the President's authorization to use all
resources to strike against terrorism. In one-minute
segments, Congressmen and Congresswomen kept saying
that we will impose our power to show the terrorists
that we are strong. The problem is, if we don't get
them, this will expose us as weak. Bluster is a
liability. "Speak softly and carry a big stick" is
than a slogan; it is a strategy for keeping enemies
balance. Now we have thrown down the verbal gauntlet.
We have said that we will get them. If we fail, it
make the terrorists even bolder.
With respect to bin Laden, our leaders speak loudly
carry a weak reed. Loud talk will not do us any good.
"We are coming after you, and the fury of hell is
coming with us," one Georgia Congressmen said on the
floor of the House on September 14. He pretended to
direct his remarks to bin Laden. In fact, they were
his constituents. It would be best to link our cause
a likely outcome. It would also be wise not to link
fury with hell's. To invoke hell as your model when
are challenging a Muslim terrorist group is not the
best way to get your message across to a Muslim
that your military strategy requires to provide a
Rhetoric can backfire. If reality fails to conform
rhetoric, the recruits will grow bolder. Better to speak
softly and carry a big stick than to speak loudly and carry
a weak reed.
If bin Laden did it, then he is recruiting. Even if
didn't do it, he is recruiting. He has taken the
initiative. This is a classic terrorist operation.
model goes back at least to the Russian terrorists of
the nineteenth century. We have seen it all before,
at least historians have. America is reacting
predictably. Except for widespread public prayer,
has been the classic response to classic terrorism.
It is the response which the terrorists work hard to
achieve. The man who understood this best was the
non-violent revolutionary, Saul Alinsky. He provided
the slogan that encapsulates the revolutionary's
strategy: "The action is in the reaction."
The action today is in the streets of Iraq's cities.
The initiative is being taken by the insurgents. What was
a reaction -- defensive operations by guerrillas-- has
become the action. This was predictable. As I wrote:
The terrorists establish the terms of engagement. The
initiative lies with the terrorists. The government
We are now the government. We react. The insurgents have
established the terms of engagement.
Novak believes that the President will remove our
troops from Iraq in 2005. If he proves to be correct, then we
can expect escalating violence in the region against
Western-linked Arab rulers. The Saudi family will be in a
The flow of oil is what it's all about in the region
-- in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in the emirates. It's why
we are there. It's why we are building 14 permanent bases
in Iraq. (http://snipurl.com/993x) But how permanent are
they? They are no more permanent than the American voters'
will to impose military force of guerrillas, with no hope
We have pulled our forces out of Saudi Arabia, as bin
Laden demanded from the beginning. We are now on the
defensive in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is costing
American taxpayers billions of dollars a month. More to
the point, it is costing American lives, day after day,
like the drip, drip, drip of the famous Chinese water
torture. But the liquid is blood.
I think Novak is right. By the end of 2005, most
U.S. troops will be out of Iraq. But the flow of oil from Iraq
will remain at pre-invasion levels. The insurgents know
the soft underbelly of the West: oil. The pipeline bombings will
The terrorists will be the winners. They will
de-stabilize the entire region. That was my fear in 2001.
It remains my fear today. If we depart, they will have
proved their point: the West is weak. It has no will to
resist. This is the great psychological goal of every
violent resistance movement: to erode the enemy's will to
resist. Islamic terrorists are worse in this regard.
There is religion involved.
If it really is true that our troops have tied down
the terrorists in Iraq, which so far appears to be the case,
what happens after our troops are brought home?
Nobody is talking about this. That's because it's a
Presidential election year. Politicians do not talk about
specific solutions to politically unsolvable issues in
Presidential election years.
Bush, like Kerry, has now officially placed this
nation's hopes on the United Nations. He said in his
speech, after calling for a new round of government funding
for democracy, which he has promised to initiate with
American taxpayers' money,
History will honor the high ideals of this
organization. The Charter states them with clarity:
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, to
promote social progress and better standards of life and
I remain skeptical. Betting on the UN is like betting
on the Italian Army.
The days of cheap energy have come to a close. We
must adjust to this.
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