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Monday, August 29, 2005

Rowley complains about you mean bloggers

--posted by Tony Garcia on 8/29/2005

This is Rowley's response because her "trip was harshly criticized by right-wing pundits and bloggers."
I will give more analysis on this later, but I wanted to point out the following quote which came from the e-mail version (and for seemingly obvious reasons I cannot find this on her website):
"An important element of any exit strategy is internal negotiations to stop the insurgency."
That, in English (for the cognitive-challenged) means that she wants to negotiate with the terrorists...in secret.

More on this later.

Maybe we can get her for another interview.


Blogger Tony Garcia said...

This is the text that was in the e-mail to supporters but cut out from the website version.
"The longer we're occupying Iraq, the more the irritating effect of our presence feeds the propaganda machine of the international terrorist networks and Iraqi insurgents. President Bush is saying Iraq is the main place where the terrorist threat is and we can just "stay the course"
there indefinitely and we'll eventually defeat all the insurgents and terrorists. But according to Sen. Russ Feingold, who recently traveled to Iraq, just the opposite is happening. The international terrorist networks and insurgents in Iraq are saying 'Come to Iraq!' and they're getting stronger there and gaining more recruits because they're saying it's a permanent American occupation. Sen. Feingold thinks - and Rowley agrees - that the best way to get those terrorists to not want to come to Iraq is to say, "Look, we're not going to stay there forever. We just want to help the Iraqis get their democracy on its feet and have some kind of timeframe, a plan that says our intention is to eventually leave sooner rather than later. We had a plan for transferring sovereignty, we had a plan for the elections, now's the time to have a plan for U.S.
Sen. Feingold asked one military general what he thought of a timetable for withdrawal and the general said: "Nothing would take the wind out of the sails of the insurgents faster than a public commitment that we're
going to leave within a reasonable period of time." The instability
that people are afraid will happen when we leave will not be from our leaving but already exists because of the perception by insurgents that the American occupation is permanent. Sen. Feingold has proposed a target time frame of December 2006 for the completion of the military mission in Iraq, stating that U.S. withdrawal would: A) Undermine the recruiting efforts and the unity of insurgents; B) Encourage Iraqi ownership of the transition process and bolster the legitimacy of the Iraqi authorities; C) Reassure the American people that our Iraq policy is not directionless; and D) Most importantly, create space for a broader discussion of our real national security priorities.
So the task is to achieve a secure and more stable society in Iraq and help Iraqis with reconstruction and humanitarian needs, while trying to avoid a failed state where terrorists would further thrive. It's important that we recognize that this is what "winning" the Iraq war should look like. "Winning" cannot be defined with reference solely to U.S. interests and not with reference to what countries have historically considered as "winning" a conventional war. In any event, stabilizing Iraq is in line with American strategic interests. But the long term challenge will be to help a democratic system emerge -- while the Iraqi people might now be using that very democracy to create what could one day become an Islamic theocracy aligned with Iran which, in worst-case scenario, could be aimed at building nuclear weapons.
The 100 million dollar question that is rightly being asked by everyone is how to accomplish all this. It's very easy to point out where the Bush Administration has been less than candid in its lead-up to the war and even easier to point out what has gone wrong since. But (as a right-wing radio talk show host recently screamed at Rowley on an MSNBC interview), it's quite a bit more difficult to say what to do now in Iraq. And this, of course, is why we call it a quagmire.
Towards an Iraq Exit-- a few Preliminary Points:
Despite the difficulty of extricating ourselves from the Iraq quagmire, which cannot be underestimated, the following six points are emerging from a variety of expert sources that could potentially contribute to a viable U.S. exit strategy. In no particular order, they are:
1. In a scenario designed to reverse the average Iraqi's impression of a permanent American occupation, reduce suspicions of our motives and thus reduce the insurgency, we would immediately stop construction of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq and begin to gradually withdraw our forces from the already-existing bases, perhaps to just one medium-sized base as an interim measure. This would be a reasonable option for U.S. and allied forces to share and where ongoing training of Iraq security forces could, at least temporarily, continue. U.S. troops would maintain security for the new government in the Baghdad Green Zone but should refrain from conducting further counter-insurgency operations, as they did at Fallujah and elsewhere. The U.S. and allied withdrawal on a targeted timetable will take yet more wind out of the sails of insurgents by reducing our permanent presence to a minimum. As fellow Minnesotan Tom Maertens, who served on the National Security Council to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, points out, "Once U.S. troops have withdrawn, other countries, particularly Islamic countries -- or the U.N. might be persuaded to provide peacekeepers for an interim period... (and) without the threat of a long-term American occupation facing them, Iraqi insurgents might be more willing to lay down their guns and enter the political process."
2. This exit plan would be keyed in part to a competent training schedule for Iraqi security forces. One good idea came from Marine Major Paul Hackett, an Iraq vet who recently ran as a Democrat in a close House race in Ohio in a heavily GOP district. He proposed that individual U.S.
battalions "adopt" Iraqi battalions and bring them Stateside where they could be fully trained and then returned to Iraq.
3. The borders of Iraq, especially with Iran, have never been secured and they need to be. Border security -- nearly 3 years late -- will slow the supply of weapons and sophisticated bombs to insurgents, and also slow the entry of terrorists and combatants who seek to join the Iraq insurgency in jihad against what they see as permanent American occupation.
4. "Good will measures" would include the transfer of reconstruction contracts where possible to Iraqi national companies with full bidding as well as continued humanitarian actions to restore electricity and water supplies. As soon as security improves, these will be the most important measures to push, along with further efforts to open and secure schools, hospitals, libraries, museums, transportation and energy supplies, highway infrastructure, and legal institutions.
5. Another "good will measure" would be to put aside any U.S. or allied claims to Iraq's oil and other natural resources (including water) outside the normal commerce channels and to say so in public to be heard by those millions of Iraqis who question our motives about their oil.
6. Finally, another point made by Maertens (and others) is that "An important element of any exit strategy is internal negotiations to stop the insurgency." Mediation efforts already underway should be strengthened. "Iraqi civil or religious leaders, the United Nations, the Arab League or the Islamic Conference could facilitate compromise and accommodation."
The preliminary plan outlined above is of course just beginning to take shape. Not all of the points are yet set in stone but federal legislators of both parties, including Republicans Sen. Chuck Hagel and House Rep.
Walter Jones as well as Democrats like Sen. Feingold appear to be coalescing around the essential features of these points in order to end the U.S. military's extensive and costly involvement in Iraq sooner rather than later. In addition to the political leaders, other experts appear to be in substantial agreement, such as respected Middle East scholar Juan Cole and retired NSC official Tom Maertens as well as current and retired military leaders. Cole in particular has just put out a 10-point plan which details how a graduated pull-out could potentially be conducted to prevent civil war from ensuing. All of these ideas and any others that might be put forth should be vigorously discussed and debated among our elected, military and academic leaders.
Americans are increasingly becoming aware that we cannot STAY THE COURSE, but must CHANGE THE COURSE."

August 29, 2005  

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