Lieberman insists he is not wholly in the Bush camp but still argues that a victory in Iraq is possible and essential for American security — whatever that may mean. "I'm not ready to give up on the Muslim world," he said, adding that a democratic Iraq could serve as a model for the Middle East. His winning and returning to the Senate and its Democratic caucus would slow, if not reverse, growing pressure from the Democrats for an early pullout of U.S. forces.
"Whatever that may mean?" I'm not sure whether that flippant dismissal of Lieberman's argument by Broder is the result of purposeful ignorance or political blindness, but what it means should be obvious to a man of Broder's intelligence and experience. To pretend that failure in Iraq would have no national security consequences is to ignore history and reality. And I'm sure like most on the left, Broder likes to assert he's part of the 'reality based' community.
It also ignores the very premise upon which our enemies have built their long-term strategy. In short: "Blow a few Americans up (in relative terms), extend the conflict over a few years and America will eventually quit". As I've mentioned many times, perception is reality for our enemies and that is indeed their perception of America - like it or not. Leaving Iraq in turmoil under political pressure to do so at home would only reinforce that perception and reinvigorate their effort.
Broder goes on:
On the other hand, should Lamont repeat his primary win over Lieberman and capture the seat, it would add immeasurably to the momentum of the antiwar forces. He says that he is running in order to end the nightmare of "140,000 of our brave troops stuck in the middle of a bloody civil war."
That is the essence of the problem and what gives the big middle in the US the willies. While couched in terms which emotionally appeal to Americans (it uses their deep love of "the troops" as it's base), deep down they understand that the basis for the appeal, in terms of geopolitics and national security -or just plain life- is hollow. While for the mass of Americans that understanding may not be sophisticated or nuanced, it is based in life's experience which says you don't walk away or abandon something you start. They also know that if you do, there are consequences that will be paid.
In reality, and despite how the media likes to interpret the polls, the discontent with Iraq doesn't all fall on the "anti-war" side. In fact, I'd suggest not even a majority does. And in that case, I think Broder's suggestion that the CT senate race is a crucible for that debate is spot on. Since the race is primarily between Democrats, I think it will indeed demonstrate whether, for the most part, the people agree or disagree with the anti-war wing of the Democratic party. And that in one of the more blue states in the union.
It is the type of real poll Democrats ignore at their political peril.
It would be wonderful if we could abide by the maxim of "you don’t walk away or abandon something you start," as MCQ put it. All the indicators I see point to it being a disaster either way, a disaster if we leave and a disaster if we stay.
In the meantime, sll our debates about this are becomeing more and more irrevevelant, as Maliki and his government increasingly assert their final say on policy decisions and even on individual operations. They are not even acting like genuine allies.
Since Iraq is supposedly a sovereign nation, we can’t disregard their choices. At best, we can only negotiate.
So, while we are still there, would we be comfortable with our military being under Maliki"s de facto command?
It also ignores the very premise upon which our enemies have built their long-term strategy. In short: "Blow a few Americans up (in relative terms), extend the conflict over a few years and America will eventually quit".
I’m left wondering, however, just what you think the national security consequences of leaving or staying would be. I also think you under estimate the enemy if you think that’s the strategy. But to address security and say an action is worth lives, you have to be clear about what precisely the security cost or consequences would be, why this is essential to the US, and what the precise goals and tactics of the enemy are.
So much of the rhetoric seems built on hidden assumptions, and that makes it very hard to address your argument and position.
By the way, on Connecticut...if I lived there I might vote for Lieberman despite my disagreement with him on the war. He seems trustworthy, works well with others, and has power in the Senate. I don’t think one can see this as a vote purely about the war; there are many who oppose the war who also think Lieberman is a good Senator.