Saturday, May 13, 2006

Not all assholes are Republicans!!!!

DLC | Blueprint Magazine | January 8, 2004
Stay and Win in Iraq

By Will Marshall

Table of Contents

Are Dennis Kucinich and Donald Rumsfeld secret allies?
You'd think the Democrats' most vocal peacenik and the
GOP warlord would have little in common, but both seem
to be in a hurry to get U.S. troops out of Iraq. Even
with Saddam Hussein in the bag and awaiting trial,
that's a bad idea.

If Rummy is from Mars, Kucinich is from Pluto. The
longshot presidential aspirant wants to withdraw all
our troops now and dump the whole mess on the United
Nations. Rumsfeld's exit strategy is Iraqification --
drawing down U.S. troops in this election year and
handing off responsibility for security to hastily
trained Iraqi forces.

If the U.S.-led coalition was merely mopping up
Saddam's diehards, bringing some troops home would
make sense. But the Pentagon announced its force
reductions back in November, which turned out to be
the bloodiest month of the conflict to date as 81
Americans were killed.

The escalating violence prompted facile and mostly
misleading analogies between Iraq and Vietnam. But in
one respect, the comparison is apt: The United States
is once again waging a classic counterinsurgency
campaign in a country whose culture seems worlds apart
from ours. Like it or not, America is back in the
business of winning hearts and minds.

How are we doing? On the plus side, Saddam's meek
surrender to U.S. troops punctured his image as a
latter-day Saladin, deprived the resistance of its
most potent symbol, and slammed the door shut on a
Baathist return to power. More prosaically, the
coalition has restored electricity to much of the
country, schools have reopened, and markets are
bustling in Baghdad again. Coalition forces still face
daily attacks but the body count tilts massively in
their favor. And by agreeing to hand back sovereignty
to a transitional Iraqi government as early as June
2004, the coalition has eased Iraqi's fears of an
unending American occupation.

There's plenty on the minus side, but the big issue is
security. Instead of petering out, as the Bush
administration predicted, the insurgency seems to have
grown in scope and sophistication. "Since September,
resistance elements have appeared to be better
directed, better organized and more capable, employing
new weapons and new tactics," reports Jeffrey White, a
former U.S. intelligence analyst now at the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy.

What the United States needs now is not an exit
strategy but a comprehensive counterinsurgency
strategy. The key elements of such a strategy are more
supple military tactics, more money, and more allies.

With Saddam on ice, the coalition should carefully
calibrate its use of force to avoid injuring innocent
civilians as well as Iraqis' sense of wounded national
pride. The coalition also needs to do a better job of
protecting Iraqis, not just itself. Crime is rampant,
but what Iraq analyst Ken Pollack calls the U.S.
military's "obsession with force protection" keeps too
many troops off the streets. More joint street patrols
by U.S. troops and newly trained Iraqi police would go
far toward boosting Iraqis' confidence that life
really is better in liberated Iraq. But that requires
more troops, not fewer, and it means deploying them in
ways that could raise the risk of U.S. casualties.

In fact, the coalition needs more of everything in
Iraq: more light infantry, more bureaucrats, more
reconstruction workers, more civil affairs officers,
more linguists, and more intelligence agents. The most
plausible way to meet these needs is to
internationalize Iraq's reconstruction, so that we can
tap the resources of other countries that have more
experience in nation-building than we do. Instead, the
administration is counting on Iraqis -- just emerging
from a quarter-century of totalitarian terror -- to
quickly do the job themselves.

Finally, counterinsurgency also means spending money
to win influential allies, especially tribal sheikhs
in the Sunni heartland who enjoyed special favors from
Saddam. United States commanders on the ground say
pumping money into the local economy can undercut the
insurgents' appeal and save U.S. lives.

The administration has rightly made the democratic
transformation of the greater Middle East the grand
American project of the 21st century. That job starts
in Iraq. If we fail here, our hopes for liberalizing
the region will be stillborn. To create a stable,
representative government in Baghdad, we need to show
total commitment to quelling a motley insurgency that
includes remnants of Saddam's security and
intelligence services, disgruntled Sunnis, and foreign
jihadists. Yet the timing of the administration's
troop cuts seems dictated by the campaign calendar,
not strategy.

America has about six months to break the resistance
and give the new Iraqi government a fighting chance to
survive. It would help if our leaders stopped casting
anxious glances toward the exits.

Will Marshall is president of the Progressive Policy
Institute.

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WHO IS WILL MARSHALL?

Will Marshall
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Will Marshall is one of the founders of the New
Democrat movement, which aims to steer the US
Democratic Party toward a more conservative
orientation. Since its founding in 1989, he has been
president of the Progressive Policy Institute, a think
tank affiliated with the Democratic Leadership
Council. Will Marshall is a hawk. He recently served
on the board of the Committee for the Liberation of
Iraq, a committee chaired by Joe Lieberman and John
McCain designed to build bipartisan support for the
invasion of Iraq. Marshall also signed, at the outset
of the war, a letter issued by the Project for the New
American Century (PNAC) expressing support for the
invasion. Marshall signed a similar letter sent to
President Bush put out by the conservative Social
Democrats/USA group on Feb. 25, 2003, just before the
invasion. The SD/USA letter urged Bush to commit to
"maintaining substantial U.S. military forces in Iraq
for as long as may be required to ensure a stable,
representative regime is in place and functioning." He
writes frequently on political and public policy
matters, especially the "Politics of Ideas" column in
Blueprint, the DLC's magazine. Notably, he is one of
the co-authors of Progressive Internationalism: A
Democratic National Security Strategy.

Prior to the founding of PPI, Marshall was variously a
speechwriter for Lieutenant Governor Dick Davis of
Virginia, Governor Jim Hunt of North Carolina and
Representative Gillis Long of Louisiana.

Marshall holds a B.A. in English and History from the
University of Virginia.
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from washpo!

Centrist Democrats Urge Party Policy With Muscle

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 10, 2006; A04

Democratic hawks said yesterday that their party can
win a war of ideas with the Republicans over national
security, but only if Democrats move beyond simply
criticizing President Bush's policies and convince
voters they support strategies to defeat Islamic
jihadists.

These centrist Democrats argued that voters are more
receptive to the Democrats because of Bush's mistakes
in Iraq. But they warned against calls to launch
investigations into past administration decisions if
Democrats gain control of the House or Senate in the
November elections. Instead, they said, Democrats
should concentrate on charting alternative policies
for fighting terrorism and succeeding in Iraq.

"We still have a hurdle to cross with the American
people in convincing them we can be both tough and
smart when it comes to securing America," said Sen.
Evan Bayh (D-Ind.). Voters may have more confidence in
Democrats on the economy or education, he said, but,
"they're not going to trust us on those things if they
don't first us trust us with their lives."

Bayh and others spoke at the launch of a collection of
essays on national security policy published by the
Progressive Policy Institute, the think tank
associated with the Democratic Leadership Council. The
sponsors challenged Democrats to resist policies
advocated by what they called the "non-interventionist
left" wing of their party while vigorously challenging
what they call the "neo-imperial right" viewpoint of
many in the Bush administration.

Yesterday's unveiling underscored again the division
within the Democratic Party between elected officials
such as Bayh, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) and
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who have
resisted calls for setting timetables for withdrawal
of U.S. forces in Iraq, and those such as House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Sen. John F.
Kerry (Mass.), Sen. Russell Feingold (Wis.) and Rep.
John P. Murtha (Pa.), who have embraced such
timetables.

Yesterday's speakers said Democrats must make clear
that, after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, they do not
take lightly the threat posed by Islamic radicals.
Even as they challenged their own party to offer a
more robust strategy, they rejected Republican
criticism -- voiced earlier this year by White House
Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove -- that Democrats
collectively have a "pre-9/11 worldview." Rove said
Democrats have been "deeply and profoundly and
consistently wrong" on national security.

Bayh said Republicans have been "better at national
security politics than at national security." Former
Virginia governor Mark R. Warner (D), noting that he
was elected just two months after the attacks, said he
and other Democrats are keenly aware of the new
threats. "I don't need to be lectured by Karl Rove and
the record of this administration about what is needed
to keep America safe," Warner said.

Despite these indignant words, Democratic centrists
remain sharply at odds with most voices on the party's
left, whose opposition to the Iraq war has fueled
calls for party leaders to offer more vigorous
resistance to the president.

Pelosi has said Democrats will investigate how the
United States went to war in Iraq if they gain control
of the House, but pollster Jeremy Rosner said
yesterday that this represents a backward-looking
approach that will make it more difficult for
Democrats to define their security agenda.

"Many of us are disturbed by the calls for
investigations or even impeachment as the defining
vision for our party for what we would do if we get
back into office," he said.

PPI President Will Marshall said that Democrats should
embrace internationalism in the tradition of Harry S.
Truman and John F. Kennedy. That includes championing
freedom and democracy. "We can't abandon [support for]
democracy simply because the Bush administration has
embraced it or misappropriated it," he said.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company
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