Joe Biden has a plan for Iraq. It is, simply put, a completely counter productive and absurd proposition. Biden’s plan is to divide the country into three regions, one for the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds. He proposes that each have its own military but that they all fall together under the jurisdiction of the federal Iraqi government. If the anti-war critics greatest argument today about the Iraq War is that it’s caused, or will cause, a Civil War, this is senseless remedy to that, increasing the prospect of War tenfold. But that’s not all that’s wrong with it, and I’ll let Dennis Byrne take it from here.
Biden pops up with this lunacy just as Norui al-Maliki, Iraqi’s new prime Minister is trying to put together a cabinet under a three-week deadline and form the long-sought unity government. Biden’s timing couldn’t have been more self-serving or destructive. Everything Biden does is self-serving, so no need to dwell on that. As for destructive: the Bush administration long has been pressuring Iraqi factions to work better together. Their joint decision now to replace an inept prime minister with al-Malik is a major milestone on the road to Iraqi independence and self-government, an accomplishment surely as significant as crafting its new constitution and holding successful elections.
This step toward overcoming centuries of hatred and bloody warfare apparently isn’t all that stunning for Biden, whose op-ed virtually ignored this accomplishment. Nor is it newsworthy for the American media, which suffered the indignity of having to mention it at all. Constitution, elections, unified government; skeptical politicians and media said none of it would happen. And after each happened, they quickly moved on to find the next thing “that’ll never happen.” For the Iraqis, this process requires huge gulps of pride, self-sacrifice and an admirable tolerance for danger. Every Iraqi participating in this process risks getting his throat cut. So, along comes Biden’s wrench in the works, as if just another form of American abandonment of Iraq is a serious and credible alternative. Iraqi unifiers now can only wonder if America will betray them.
Here’s hoping that they pay less attention to Biden then does our fawning media. […] [W]hat a proposal. Of course, it includes the threadbare progressive formula to “convene a regional conference,” so that everyone can to agree to “respect” Iraq’s borders. Be sure to pick up your Hello nametags at the registration desk and get to know your neighbors at this evening’s meet-and-greet. What is it with liberals that they see themselves as global event planners who believe that “if only” we can get Iran, Syria and other belligerents to “sit down together,” we can “work out our differences.” Okay, that’s just a small part of his proposal, which essentially would take apart a country that the Iraqis are trying to put together. Biden says it will work, just like it did in Bosnia.
Aside from Iraq not being Bosnia, the plan has a few flaws. Consider: He says Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions would be responsible for their internal affairs and each have their own “internal security,” i.e. army, I guess. Baghdad would become a “federal zone, while densely populated areas of mixed populations would receive both multisectarian and international police protection.” That’s such a fine solution, why doesn’t he propose it for, say, Jerusalem as well.
Actually, the idea of a federal zone, protected by an international force, sounds familiar: It’s what we’re already doing in larger Iraq, Joe. Or trying to do, but pretty much by ourselves, not that we haven’t asked for some help. So, what are we supposed to believe–that we could get a truly international armed presence to police violent Baghdad, any more successfully than we’ve been able to get a truly international force to protect the more peaceful hinterland? What do you suppose France will say when Biden comes knocking for 20,000 grenadiers to patrol Sadr City? If Bush’s strategy is fanciful, Biden’s is absurd.
Of course, I concur with the article. I thought Biden’s idea to be ridiculous, and filled with the logical holes that I abhorr. Logical holes, however, seem to be in abundance in recent days as sensical yarn seems to be out of stock at the local conventional wisdom stores. Ed Koch writes today that we should prepare for Iran. By getting out of Iraq.
Maybe I’m mistaken, but if there’s ever to be a war with the Iranians, it’s helpful for military purposes to be right next door to the Iranians. Does Koch expect a war to be waged against Iran using only air strikes? Perhaps he thinks we should strike the Iranians with nuclear weapons and let God sort them out. I don’t buy either case, much like I’m not a proponent of pre-emptively striking Iran. But if we’re going to “prepare” for Iran, then the first step is to stay in Iraq. Maybe Mr. Koch doesn’t remember the concept of “deterrence,” but it’s less likely, not more likely, that Iran won’t strike Israel if they know that retaliation is right around the corner. “Retaliation around the corner” means being in Iraq. It’s one of the many reasons to stay in Iraq.
If Biden’s plan is fanciful and Koch’s absurd, then USA Today’s is naive and blaise. The plan for Iran? A non-aggression treaty with Iran, in exchange for a no-nuclear weapons pledge from the Mullahs. Because that’s worked so well before.
Ultimately, I think containment and deterrence are the answers, although war shouldn’t be ruled out. “Containment” and “deterrence” don’t mean promising not to attack the Iranians or leaving their neighborhood lest they shoot at our soldiers. It means containing them with our army and deterring with it, too. Do Biden, Koch and Today take their own ideas seriously? If they were comedians, they’d be joking about their plans with a deadpan expression. As it stands, they’re completely serious, and that’s a tad disheartening.
Now, tangentially, let me direct you to this piece about Al Gore’s resurrection. I think there’s a Plan amongst some in the media to do everything they can to urge Gore to run again. If there isn’t, then by all means, read it to see the Al Gore plan to save the world from environmental ruin.