"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

I Agree With Rush -- End The Occupation

It doesn't happen often, but today I may be a dittohead:

Fine, just blow the place up. Just let these natural forces take place over there instead of trying to stop them, instead of trying to use -- I just -- sometimes natural force is going to happen. You're going to have to let it take place. You can spend all the time you like with diplomacy, and you can spend all the time you want massaging these things with diplomatic -- you're just -- you're just delaying the inevitable.

Some on the left blogosphere (e.g. Atrios) have lumped the first sentence in the above with the "More Rubble Less Trouble" strategy advocated by the anti-Atrios Instapundit and other less visible wingers. I think the positions are distinct. "More Rubble Less Trouble" means more indiscriminant use of long-range explosives with the idea that this will work out better. It's both inhumane and incorrect (c.f. Cambodia, bitches), but it's not the same thing Rush is advocating.

Limbaugh's tone is petulant and nihilistic; he's "just fed up with it," expressing demoralization, wants to take his army and go home. He's clearly bitter and a bit passive-aggressive about the whole thing. However, his point seems to be we should withdraw regardless of the consequences. This is the only strategic direction we can take, and it's better to take it by choice than to be forced.

We have a choice. We can blow more shit up, kill more people, and have our kids get killed too in order to, as Limbaugh says "prolong the inevitable." We can do that until our tactical situation reaches a breaking point and the shit really hits the fan. Or we can leave by choice, on our own timetable, maybe with a modicum of order and some chance to be helpful as a non-occupying power.

The truth is we have no credibility with any body of public opinion or source of hard military power in or around Iraq. We have no legitimacy. The people of Iraq did not welcome us as liberators and have never been fans of the occupation. They want us out. Bush has childishly and foolishly severed all ties with the regional players that matter (Iran, Syria), and the whole war project is essentially out of options. The only choice we can make that will constitute a step towards improving the situation there is to leave.

I was against this lunacy from the start. I don't think it's possible to make a nation your ally (let alone a democracy) through unilateral and preemptive invasion. That's not how power works. It's a sadly typical irony that the very people who beat back peace advocates with the slur that we "didn't believe in the Iraqi people" are now calling for more brutal uses of force and/or petulantly suggesting that violence and civil war is what the citizens of the region deserve.

In any case, we should end the occupation. It's the only moral choice. If Rush Limbaugh supports that, even in a whiny childish way, I'll take it.


Fareed Zakaria, in this week's Newsweek:

On Thursday, just hours before a series of car bombs killed more than 200 people in the Shia stronghold of Sadr City, Sunni militants attacked the Ministry of Health, which is run by one of Moqtada al-Sadr's followers. Within a couple of hours, American units arrived at the scene and chased off the attackers. The next day, Sadr's men began reprisals against Sunnis, firing RPGs at several mosques. When U.S. forces tried to stop the carnage and restore order, goons from Sadr's Mahdi Army began firing on American helicopters. In other words, one day the U.S. Army was defending Sadr's militia and, the next day, was attacked by it. We're in the middle of a civil war and are being shot at by both sides.