Dover Bitch

Friday, July 07, 2006

What's the worst that can happen?

"If you tell your enemy when you're going to leave, they'll wait and create disaster." -- Sen. Joe Lieberman, at the debate Thursday night.

This is something DB is having a tough time understanding.

Lieberman says he's "not for an open-ended commitment to Iraq." (Of course, we know he's lying because he's already said he's in favor of permanent bases. But let's pretend, for sake of argument, he never said that.)

Look what else he said during the debate:

So I am confident that the situation is improving enough on the ground that by the end of this year, we will begin to draw down significant numbers of American troops, and by the end of the next year more than half of the troops who are there now will be home. But not because we set a deadline. That would make it harder.

Why? Why would it make it harder?

Here's Lieberman's best-case scenario:

  • We don't tell the enemy when we are leaving, Iraqi troops continue to prepare to defend the country and in six months or so, American troops start to leave.

Here's Lieberman's worst-case scenario:

  • We do tell the enemy when we are leaving, the enemy waits, Iraqi troops continue to prepare to defend the country and in six months or so, American troops start to leave.

The only difference, in Lieberman's description, is that the enemy waits. Wouldn't that make it easier? Lieberman seems to think that the Iraqi troops can not only become prepared enough to defend the new government while car bombs are going off and new recruits are being executed in some back alley, but that the carnage has no apparent effect on the speed of their progress.

And he offers no explanation of how his best-case scenario avoids ending in disaster. The bottom line is that we cannot stay there, in the numbers we are today, forever. Regardless of whether we tell anybody when we plan to leave, the enemy will want to "create disaster" when our egress begins.

With or without a timetable, if our troops begin to leave and the violence continues, we'll have to make a decision at that point whether or not to extend our stay. And, also with or without a timetable, we should have some benchmarks that need to be met before we make any troop level decisions.

But Lieberman provides no benchmarks in lieu of a timetable. Either would require some actual decision-making and we all know the Decider has already decided to pass this mess on to the next President.

Labels: ,