John Kerry's editorial in the New York Times is reading for anyone who finds internal contradiction fascinating. Let's examine, shall we?
"[T]he Bush administration's choices have made Iraq into what it wasn't before the war - a breeding ground for jihadists"...but..."underestimated the likelihood and power of the insurgency." Presuming that either or both of these statements have some bearing in fact, they contradict one another. How can one plan for a jihadist presence that never existed before? That would make it a truly unforeseen development, wouldn't it? In any case, we knew that Iraq was a safe haven for terrorists before we deployed there. As far as underestimating the "breeding", as it were, Sen. Kerry needs to use a different term, such as "importing". Foreigners--not Iraqis--are funneling into the country to keep up the terror presence. This is not an insurgence or a rebellion, both of which imply native, and therefore more legitimate, opposition to the occupier. These are illegal combatants who are traveling across international borders to fight American and Iraqi troops in order to force their bin Ladinist vision of global terror occupation upon Iraq. They know if Iraq "falls" to a republic, the Middle East will sooner or later follow.
He didn't even care enough to put these comments into a different sentence: "...sent in too few troops to secure the country, destroyed the Iraqi army through de-Baathification..." So much to do here. Not enough troops, but the ones we had decimated their military. And why wouldn't we want to root out the Baathists? In hindsight, it would have been convenient to have something still standing to reconstitute into a fighting force. And perhaps it would have been the same in Germany in 1945. Judging it wise to eliminate an enemy military as opposed to leaving it around for the future (so that it could attack our forces again, and wouldn't the Senator be upset about that...) the Army and Marines did do. Monday Morning quarterbacking doesn't count when you supported the invasion as is. But here's yet another problem: "We're doing our part: our huge military presence stands between the Iraqi people and chaos, and our special forces protect Iraqi leaders." So we underestimated, but we're managing? So it's not an intractable quagmire? It's only a "tractable" quagmire? Help me out here.
Once again, back to back: "Happy talk about the insurgency being in 'the last throes' leads to frustrated expectations at home. It also encourages reluctant, sidelined nations that know better to turn their backs on their common interest in keeping Iraq from becoming a failed state." Americans want to hear that they are losing (no frustrations there, unless you are a leftist like Kerry), but why would "sidelined nations" care? Who are they, and what is their interest? France and Germany saw no interest. Same with Russia. But be that as it may, if we're talking about Iraq's neighbors, it seems that Syria is exporting insurgents and may be the home of some of Saddam's WMD. Similarly, if most of the combatants are Saudis, I can't imagine the House of Saud doing much to benefit Iraq. And Jordan, which embraced Saddam in 1991 seems all to busy to worry about it in 2005. But the Iranians aren't. And I can't imagine Tehran sending troops to secure Iraq, but I don't doubt that they would like to send troops with other objectives in mind. So these supposed "allies" probably aren't jumping to help one way or the other. But news by the numbers that the opposition is flagging is pretty demoralizing--to the opposition, and possibly. And how would those sidelined nations "know better" anyway? Because they're sending in the terrorists? Not a great argument.
Following that, this howler: "The administration must work with the Iraqi government to establish a multinational force to help protect its borders. Such a force, if sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, could attract participation by Iraq's neighbors and countries like India." Remember, as above, the neighbors in that neck of the woods aren't the kind who you ask for a cup of sugar. The UN may also decide not to take sides in a conflict, like they did between Hutus and Tutsis, causing nearly one million deaths. I somehow feel that Kofi Annan's flaccid troops aren't the answer. When he is in command, innocent people end up dying deaths he can prevent but won't. And while it would be nice to attract India, someone needs to whisper to him that they've already got the U.S.
And another mistake of fact: "If Iraqis, particularly Sunnis who fear being disenfranchised, see electricity flowing, jobs being created, roads and sewers being rebuilt and a democratic government being formed, the allure of the insurgency will decrease." The Senator forgets that the insurgents are foreigners. But generously presuming that his assumption is correct, it seems silly to say that the better we make things for the potential class of insurgents, the more they will just go about their business. Determined terrorists don't give up just because they can get Oprah on TV.
And then this from the guy who had military records redacted to cover a less than starched-white history: "The first thing he should do is tell the truth to the American people." Correct. Can we get someone else to deliver this message?
In all, Senator Kerry misses the point bigtime. His expectation that we not only stomp out a clandestine terrorist organization operating among civilians, politically stabilize the nation, in addition to rebuilding the economic infrastructure of the nation potentially defies the timetable he demands. No other nation in history has done what our fighting men and women have done in Iraq. Rather than coming in to conquer, they came in to free the Iraqis to themselves. It's one thing to impose conqueror government. It's quite another to help the people to organize their own government. And quite another still to put off an external attacker who hides among the people. And even more so to at the same time put in place the public works system that the prior government allowed to collapse in order to allow a market economy to begin to thrive.
So the Senator can please give us a break. He cannot praise the work being done and still demean it in the same breath. This article is as much a campaign speech as the networks feared the President's speech would be tonight. And the Senator may want to remember the success that this backhanded assault on our nation's resolve, that of our military and that of our commander in chief got him last year.
How about telling the truth yourself, Senator?