Friday, December 01, 2006

A response to David Keelan

Over at Howard County Blog, the Blogger-in-Chief , David Keelan, doesn't think my ridicule of Newt Gingrich's article in Human Events was justified.

Let's just say,that he was unable to persuade me that (1) Newt is not a gasbag, and (2) that Newt had much to say of any importance in his article.

First, the underlying premise of Newton's article is that the U.S. can't afford to lose Iraq. I agree that losing Iraq will be disastrous for the U.S. and for the Middle East. What I find ridiculous about Newt's article is its implicit assumption that the U.S. could still "win" in Iraq. It's too late for that. We should have never invaded in the first place. Once we invaded, we botched the occupation. There is no way to win there now. The sooner we leave the better it will be for both us and the Iraqis.

Second, I find using the particular example of the American Revolution to make his point, rather interesting given the former Speaker's previous occupation (Professor of American History). The military success of the American Revolution, where a small, poorly funded army of insurgents defeated the greatest superpower the Earth had ever known (at the time) at the height of its powers, showed how difficult it is to defeat an insurgency when you are despised by the locals. Newt had the analogy reversed, we are now in the same position as the British, not General Washington.

Perhaps the question should have been: What would have happened if King George had a Baker Commission?

Better yet, what would have happened if George the 43rd had a Baker Commission before he decided to invade?


David W. Keelan said...

Your second point does make an ironic point. It is rather funny and sadly accurate.

I don't think anyone has defined what "win" means in Iraq and I doubt the ISG will. Newt doesn't define it either.

I will attempt to define it. Leave a stable and fair government behind that will be moderately friendly to us. Train a police and military force that can protect that government. Leave.

Unfortunately, we invaded. We can't change that. We can't change a botched occupation either.

I keep thinking about the occupation of Japan and Germany after WWII. Didn't we learn something from that experience? Seriously. We kicked out all the Bathists in Iraq. In Germany and Japan we kicked out only the worst of the Nazi's and Imperialists or hanged them. We kept the beauracrats in business because we needed them to tranform and run the countries. We didn't do that in Iraq and it was a huge mistake.

Second mistake. One of the primary purposes of our own GI Bill was to keep a large group of trained killers off the streets and occupied with a task. There were not enough jobs for the returning GIs. So what do you do with a bunch of unemployed trained killers? You put them in College. What we did in Iraq was disolve the armed forces and put an entire military of trained killers on the streets.

After WWII in Europe we had massive amounts of armaments every where. They were mostly in the hands of the Allied armies. However, I can't find any refrences to Japanese or German uprisings during post WWII. It could have happened, but I can't find anything. If resistence existed how did we handle it? If resistance didn't why not?

Steve Fine said...

We need a diplomatic solution in Iraq. And the diplomacy will need to be conducted by someone other than the U.S. because no one trusts or respects us in Iraq. We need to tell the world we are leaving before anyone else will step in. One problem, if we leave a American companies won't get to develop Iraq's energy resources and Iraq has the second largest supply of cheap to extract and refine oil.

At the end of WWII, both the German and Japanese People were so sick of war and so thoroughly beaten (most of their fighting aged men had been killed or maimed, they welcomed the well run occupation. They were also dependent on Americans for food. Also, the American military and governments were well run with highly capable and unusually far-sighted leadership. Rumsfeld is no Eisenhower or Marshall. Bush is no Truman or Roosevelt. The people in Eastern Europe didn't fair so well, but they were pacified by utter ruthlessness and brutality.

Anonymous said...

Wow, there is more substance in this single post than anything Steve Fine has posted prior to this. Up until now, this site has been useless.

About time.