Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Election Is Over. Now For The Harsh Realities - In Fallujah And At Home

My pro-war friends are up in arms. No, not "arms" as in weapons - they're too good to do the fighting in Iraq. No, they're upset because they believe John Kerry tried to scare people about a draft. To which I respond: if the truth is scary, so be it. To paraphrase Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Kerry wasn't trying to scare the kids; this President's foreign policy is what's scaring the kids of this country.

It is important that we discuss this now because coalition forces are about to engage in a massive offensive in Fallujah, an offensive that can only have two results: a brutalization of the innocent Iraqis in Fallujah that causes the metastasis of the insurgency or, worse, door-to-door and hand-to-hand combat that will be effective in rooting out the insurgency but at a cost in American lives so grievous as to shock the conscience of the nation. Either way, the consequences of Rumsfeld's failed "war-lite" strategy will be exacerbated. We are about to increase the scope and intensity of the war. Where will we get the troops?

Let me directly address my pro-war friends. Would you fault John Kerry for "scaring" people if his warnings of a draft were well grounded? Would you fault Kerry for scaring people if his warnings about a draft were intended to fairly respond to the Administration's untenable twin positions: we will do whatever is necessary to prevail in Iraq, but we will not institute a draft to address the single most needed asset in Iraq - more troops.

I assume you're criticizing Kerry because you believe his warnings of the potential for a draft are not well founded, and therefore his warnings nothing more than fearmongering. But it is obvious that, given the circumstances that obtain today, a draft is far closer to an inevitability than a baseless, fearmongering tactic.

Do you really believe that we can continue indefinitely to rotate the same 140,000 or so troops through Iraq? Coalition members are announcing withdrawal dates monthly, and replacements from the international community are not forthcoming. Enlistment rates are falling short of goals and are declining - even prior to the report that 19 U.S. troops declined a "suicide mission" because of the lack of adequate armor and equipment.

The Defense Science Board, a group of outside defense experts commissioned by Rumsfeld, have reported that inadequate total numbers of troops mean that the United States "cannot sustain our current and projected global stabilization commitments."

And yet the Administration continues to insist that a draft will not be instituted. Let's face facts. In light of our inability to secure international support, our inability to pacify Iraq and therefore draw down our forces, and our inability to sustain necessary force levels by means of enlistment, there is only one basis for the Administration's claim that a draft will not be necessary: Iraqification.

We could discuss the viability of an "Iraqification" policy, but it is so absurd as to not merit a moment's thought.

This president and the pentagon are assuring us that no draft will be necessary and disparaging the views of anyone who suggests otherwise on the basis of nothing more than the hope that we will be able to draw an inside straight by implementing the policy that failed so disastrously in Vietnam.

Can you give me one other means other than Iraqification that would permit us to sustain necessary troop levels for a commitment the Administration measures in years? If not, do you really believe that Iraqification will work? Are you aware that our Iraqification strategy last spring in in response to the expanding insurgency resulted in rates of Iraqi desertion - and worse, defection to the insurgents - so great that we scrapped the whole idea in a matter of days?

The day when we expect the political opposition to refrain from criticizing ridiculous and dishonest government policies and pronouncements (such as the Administration's baseless assurances that a draft will not under any circumstances be necessary) rather than arouse due concern among the American people is the day we can just scrap democracy altogether.

This is a serious subject. I'm really attempting to lighten up and reduce my boorishness quotient, but this is one subject that hits pretty fucking close to home. I'd really like to hear the views of my pro-war friends on whether Iraqification can work, and whether there any viable alternatives to a draft if it doesn't work. Unfortunately, however, they appear to this point more inclined to transpose the Bush campaign tactic of distortion and puerile ridicule to any attempted serious discussion of the immediate future of our children.


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