Loose Canons

Kerry’s Iraq Escape

The four-point plan he outlined yesterday is a concatenation of wishful thinking, defeatism, and moral obtuseness.

By 9.21.04

Send to Kindle

The four-point plan for Iraq John Kerry outlined in his Monday speech is a concatenation of wishful thinking, defeatism, and moral obtuseness. And -- most importantly -- Mr. Kerry's goal is one to bring our troops home, not to win. His only idea is to talk the U.N. and NATO into taking the whole mess off our hands so we can withdraw our troops.

First, Mr. Kerry demands that we get the "promised international support so our men and women don't have to go it alone." To get this help, he wants the president to "insist that [foreign leaders] make good" on the support Mr. Kerry thinks was promised in the Security Council's June resolution. He really oughta read that resolution, because it promises nothing of the sort. It merely promises the U.N.'s goodwill if the Iraqi interim government doesn't do anything the U.N. disapproves of.

To entice these foreign leaders (presumably those who have told Kerry they wish he wins in November) Kerry proposes to slice up Iraq the way the Gambinos used to split New York with the other Families. Mr. Kerry wants to create something like the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food-for-Bribes-for-Weapons program. Kerry's new version -- as Capt. Queeg often said, "I kid you not" -- would "give other countries a stake in Iraq's future by encouraging them to help develop Iraq's oil resources and by letting them bid on contracts instead of locking them out of the reconstruction process." Great idea. Those nations that refused to help overthrow Saddam and still refuse to help defend democracy's birth in Iraq should be given preference in getting contracts for producing Iraq's oil. Just how much does Mr. Kerry plan to hand France, Russia, and Germany on a silver platter? More than Saddam did before 2003?

Next, Mr. Kerry proposes we "get serious" about training Iraqi security forces, and to do so recruit "thousands of qualified trainers from our allies" to train Iraqi security forces. Sorry, John, but the problem in getting the Iraqis trained is not a lack of trainers. It's the security situation. In a briefing Monday afternoon, a senior DoD official told me that there were 101,000 security troops working for the Iraqi Interior Ministry, about half of those already trained. There are about 62,000 troops in the new Iraqi military, and about 46,000 of them are trained. The problem is not with the number of trainers, or what they're doing. The problem is that the insurgents are -- so far -- better than the Iraqis, and are continuously reinforced and supplied by Iran and Syria. Mr. Kerry doesn't want to think about that problem.

Third, Mr. Kerry says we must carry out a reconstruction plan that finally brings tangible benefits to the Iraqi people. In this he is at least a bit right. One of the many failures of proconsul L. Paul Bremer was to not spend the more than $18 billion appropriated for constructing (not reconstructing, because there was nothing to reconstruct) Iraq's new infrastructure. Why it wasn't spent, and thousands of Iraqis employed, is a continuing mystery.

Fourth, Kerry wants more assurance that the U.N. will be there to ensure the "legitimacy" of the January election. "Because the security situation is so bad, and because not a single country has offered troops to protect the U.N. elections mission, the U.N. has less than twenty-five percent of the staff it needs to get the job done." Says Kerry, "The president should recruit troops from our friends and allies for a U.N. protection force. But even countries that refuse to put boots on the ground in Iraq should still help protect the U.N." With what? "More spitballs?"

FOR ONE BRIEF SHINING moment, we see what Kerry's goal in Iraq truly is. It is not to win, not to stay long enough to finish the job. And -- most of all -- it is not to take out the rest of the terrorist regimes which cannot stand if America is to be safe. Mr. Kerry said that were his four steps followed, "we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer, and realistically aim to bring all of our forces home within four years."

Mr. Kerry wants to withdraw, whether we win or not. He wants to bring our troops home. No one wants our troops to be there, but many -- fortunately including Mr. Bush -- think they need to stay there until the job is over.

Mr. Kerry doesn't give a damn about fighting and winning. There are many things that disqualify Mr. Kerry from the high office he seeks. This, though, is preeminent among them. Do we want a commander in chief who isn't capable of seeing a war through to victory?

TAS Contributing Editor Jed Babbin is the author of Inside the Asylum: Why the U.N. and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think (Regnery Publishing).

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. He is coauthor (with Herbert London) of the new book The BDS War Against Israel. You can follow him on Twitter@jedbabbin.