The Serious Police Strike Again

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Wading into the ongoing war of words between several bloggers and Time columnist and professional liberal hater Joe Klein, The New Republic's Jason Zengerle frets that

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people opposed to escalating the Iraq war aren't being serious enough about the entire enterprise and we owe the people who screwed the pooch the courtesy of being listened to yet again.

I don't get it. Washington sucks any common sense out of your brain, and apparently the only reason I haven't personally lost it is because as a native of the area I'm perhaps immune.

Iraq is screwed. It's screwed because there were no weapons of mass destruction and no plan to deal with the American occupation and the resulting insurgency. We're almost four years into this war and no wiser. Iraq isn't anywhere near a functioning democracy and most of its people are frankly not interested (they're more interested in a tribal Islamic republic). I fail to see the reason why, in order to demonstrate how "serious" they are, why Democrats must play this game with American lives again. What is the worth of playing up one's foreign policy credentials among the DC elite when all it leads to is more caskets shipped home and the continued spread of international terrorism?

I don't know of anyone that knows that Iraq will be a mess if we leave, but it's already a mess today. The choice is no longer between Iraqi fantasy and wimpy retreat. It's between dead Iraqis and Americans or dead Iraqis. Neither choice is great, but that's the hand the Bush administration has dealt us. Arguing about this like there's a magic bullet position to take is silly.

The argument that not staying in Iraq forever will be a victory for Al Qaeda is equally silly. In the case of Iraq, Al Qaeda has already won the PR war. We, by mistake and incompetence, have proven right many of the things they've said about the West and specifically the USA. We went to an Arab country, invaded and occupied on trumped-up pretenses and when we got there allowed anarchy to take hold while also torturing citizens. What more has Al Qaeda got to say? Thanks to the Bush presidency, their rhetoric is as strong as ever.

In 2003, way too many Democrats made the "serious" decision when it was clear to the vast majority of folks on the left that the choice was asinine. As I wrote back then, I wanted America to succeed, but it was a bad decision from the get-go. It departed from every reason we've historically fought wars for on moral grounds, and the planning for it both as it was laid out in public and as we've learned in private, was a recipe for the disaster we see today.

The United States should redeploy and cease occupying Iraq in order to re-engage in the war against terrorism, specifically Al Qaeda, and return to its mission of defending America and its allies.