Monday, November 21, 2005

Joining the "Third Camp"

Marshall Wittman over at Bull Moose has a tremendous post today discussing the formation of a "Third Camp" in the debate over Iraq: this camp, he writes "stands between the Administration 'stay the course' and the 'withdrawal now' forces. It includes both supporters of the decision to go to war and critics. Its leaders include John McCain, Joe Biden and Wes Clark.

While they have different victory strategies, all of these men believe that it would be a disaster to leave Iraq in chaos.This camp is highly critical of the President's failures in the post-war period and argues for a new strategy. This force believes that the White House is losing the moral high ground by failing to take a strong stand against torture and the inhumane treatment of prisoners.

However, the Third Camp is united in the belief that America can only leave when Iraq is relatively stable and a government is in place that can defend itself against the terrorist forces. Some favor more troops, at least temporarily. Others believe that current levels are adequate. Most of all, the Third Camp seeks a bi-partisan national unity that rejects the increasingly bitter polarization over the war. This is not the time to suggest that the President lied or that patriotic critics of the war are treasonous. To paraphrase Congressman Rahm Emanuel, the debate should not be over how we got in but rather how we get out leaving behind a stabilized Iraq."

The Moose concludes his post this way: "
What is needed is a bi-partisan coalition to emerge to seize control of this bleak situation - a 'coalition of the adults.'" I want to associate myself with his entire post, and wholeheartedly voice my support for the formation of the "Third Camp." We must find ways to bring the war above partisanship, and this RINO is proud to join the Bull Moose in that cause.


At 12:15 PM, Blogger Lanky_Bastard said...

While I agree with the formation of a bi-partisan 'coalition of adults' I think our purpose in Iraq is just as foggy as it was in 2003. The White House should turn it's mighty spin machine from "stay the course" to "look, we've won". After all, our primary motivation for invasion was protection from Iraqi WMDs (ironically accomplished before we even invaded). Secondary justifications of regime change and the planting of democracy have also been accomplished. Nuturing that plant is not our job. It's time for the Iraqis to show some self-determination. We've given them a huge jump start to democracy. If they can't make it from here, I think it just wasn't meant to be.

By the by, immediate withdrawl was a straw-man. Murtha didn't vote for it because that wasn't his point.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger larmen said...

very interesting. of course are YOU sufficiently committed to our staying until Iraq is "stabilized" to quit grad school and join the armed services and help the recruiting officers meet their quotas?

At 4:41 PM, Blogger cakreiz said...

I love the "coalition of adults" line. Classic.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Larmen, the "if you support the war, why don't you join the army" argument is one of the worst arguments out there. I support the right to create pornography, do I need to become a porn star? I support my local police, do I need to join the force? I support getting more centrists elected into government, do I need to run for election?

We all can support causes or rights or movements without physically joining them. Failure to join full throttle doesn't negate our right to lend our support.

When The Moose argues for a "coalition of adults" he is expressly leaving out people who would make such an argument as yours. Just as sure as he's leaving out those who would call you a traitor for making such an argument.

Let's drop the silly, divisive rhetoric, can we? The Moose and the RINO are right. There's a third way here that rejects such childishness and is willing to look at the situation and our goals realistically.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger larmen said...

as a matter of fact I'm not for the war. I'm for the quickest possible withdrawal. I reject the Bush stay the course idiocy as I reject the bullmoose third camp "way" which is a quasi-blank check. after all, who will determine when Iraq is "stabilized?" it does seem that there are a lot of people who want OTHER young men and women to do the bloody business of putting their lives in harm's way while they sit back and blog. Put another way, since you won't volunteer to fight for your position and since recruiting quotas are not being met would YOU support an interim draft to get enough boots on the ground?

At 1:54 AM, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

This sounds like a very sensible proposal. However, there is no constitutional way for it to take control of the war. It's sheer fantasy, since the administration shows every intention of digging its heels in. We have two choices: we can advocate staying in Iraq with Bush running the war and making the decisions, or we can get out. The latter is something that Congress has the power to do, with the power of the purse.

Those are your options. Foofraw about coming up with a coalition of adults to take charge serves no purpose other than to put off having to make that choice. If you don't think that we can achieve the necessary conditions for victory with Bush in charge, then you do not think that victory is possible. It's time to face up to that reality.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger larmen said...

Re J Michael Neal's realpolitik take on the coalition of adults proposal: amen brother.

At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I myself am unsure what to do, but a number of experienced and patriotic individuals such as General Odom and Edward Luttwak have called for various types of withdrawal.

Juan Cole has pointed out that Muthras actual proposal in contrast to the one presented by Republicans resembles his own proposal which calls for a rapid deployment force and airpower to ntervene in serious sectarian conflicts.

I think various withdrawal proposals have been simplified when in fact whether or not the strategies they suggest are correct; they do take into account various factors ignored by "stay the course."

These include Shiite militia control of the south, various militias elsewhere, exceedingly high rates of criminality that we've failed to address since the beginning with a number intertwined with political and religious divisions, the fact that we do act as a catalyst for a trouble and a wide variety of problems we've failed to adequetely address and in some cases aggravated.

"stay the course" arguments have tended to downplay or deny the existence of these issues.

It should be noted that for some months now our commanding generals have "floated" withdrawal schemes beginning next year. ThE iraqis also seem to be in favor and according to Cole the tenative time table was suggested by us.

There has been sadly a lack of clarity with partisan extremes simplifying the issues. For this I especially blame the Bushiteers because they have not only tried to obscure the complexitis and difficulties from public debate, but within the administration itself.

The current situation does drain the military, many experienced military and intelligence professionals also think it has weakened other parts of the battle against terrorists and our troops in Iraq are quite vulnerabel to Iranian allied militias should we feel the need to confront that terrorist supporting nation.

It is a muddle.


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