Dominoes of Defeat
This simply must be read.
Some opponents of the Iraq war are toying with the idea of American defeat. A number of them are simply predicting it, while others advocate measures that would make it more likely. Lending intellectual respectability to all this is an argument that takes a strange comfort from the outcome of the Vietnam War. The defeat of the American enterprise in Indochina, it is said, turned out not to be as bad as expected. The United States recovered, and no lasting price was paid.
We beg to differ.
Once with opposing views of the Viet Nam war, Peter W. Rodman and William Shawcross agree on the cost of politically induced voluntary failure in Iraq. Later in their commentary, they continue with vigor.
Today, in Iraq, there should be no illusion that defeat would come at an acceptable price. George Orwell wrote that the quickest way of ending a war is to lose it. But anyone who thinks an American defeat in Iraq will bring a merciful end to this conflict is deluded. Defeat would produce an explosion of euphoria among all the forces of Islamist extremism, throwing the entire Middle East into even greater upheaval. The likely human and strategic costs are appalling to contemplate. Perhaps that is why so much of the current debate seeks to ignore these consequences.
And indeed those consequences are ignored. Consider that Pakistan is like a domino falling in slow motion with al-Qaeda rebuilt beyond pre-9/11 strength and facilities. When Pakistan falls, the Saudi Arabian domino with then proceed with greater alacrity, and the dynamic of this conflict will undertake a profound shift.
Some among those who criticize our engagement in the Iraq War, when confronted with descriptions of "defeatism," suggest that they would focus more intently on Afghanistan, where "the real fight" (with al-Qaeda) is. Unfortunately, even a complete shift of US forces into Afghanistan from Iraq would not address this, as the al-Qaeda enemy makes its home in Pakistan. Are they then advocating an invasion of Pakistan?
If we allow defeat in Iraq considering this greater context, what then of those who "advocate measures that would make it more likely?"
No, the conflict will not end with our 'redeployment' from Iraq. Not if redeployed to Afghanistan, nor if redeployed to Camp Pendleton. It almost certainly would, however, fuel the fire and spark a regional blaze with dominoes teetering.
And this is to say nothing of the Iraqi killing fields that would engulf them. When is the last time you heard a Congressional critic reference the Iraqi people? And why not? Because they dare not. In order to maintain their vested positions, they simply must "ignore these consequences."
And those among them with a conscience will hauntingly find peaceable sleep a fleeting commodity. Those without will relish in their political victory with eyes averted. But history will not be kind.