Monday, January 08, 2007

David Brooks: Out of ideas?

David Brooks writes in Sunday's NYT Op-Ed section that the idea of the Iraqis being able to nation-build themselves and provide their own security is so pre-Golden Dome bombing. Gen. John Abizaid and Gen. George Casey, according to Brooks, advocated a strategy of the light American foot-print, which has proven to be a disaster. It's all their fault, not W.'s. He just went along with the whole thing for three years and 3,000 US deaths because "Casey and Abizaid are impressive men, and Bush deferred to their judgment." You know, Gen. George McClellan was an impressive man too, but Lincoln only tolerated him for as long as it took him to find a replacement. Imagine if Lincoln had "deferred" to McClellan for as long as Bush has been screwing up in Iraq. (We'd have wound up with a string of presidents with southern drawls!)

Over time a chorus has arisen to oppose this policy, Brooks writes. "The members of this chorus -- John McCain, the Weekly Standard, whispering dissenters in the middling ranks of the military. . . have argued since the summer of 2003, that the US commit more troops to establish security before anything else became possible."

Right, I remember that don't you? I also remember the Weekly Standard and its editor saying something about U.S. troops being showered with flowers and little Iraqi children begging for American chocolate bars. I think there was also some mention of nylons and the invasion being a 'cake-walk.' That's all in the past now, though. We don't need to look too closely at what was said back then, beyond a few historical revisions provided by David Brooks, who knows better than we do about what went on.

In any case, Brooks is looking to the future, now, and his new plan for Iraq is to use a surge of US troops to create what he's calling "flexible-decentralization." He explains that this "would mean using adequate force levels (finally!) to help those who are returning to sectarian homelands. It would mean erecting buffers between populations where possible and establishing order in areas that remain mixed."

In other words, pretty much what the Iraqis have been doing themselves for the past 2 years or so. The Iraqis have been building their own "buffers" to separate themselves and the Madhi army has adequate force levels of its own to help Iraqi Sunnis to return to their sectarian homelands, or heaven -- which ever comes first. I find it kind of funny that Brooks thinks the Sunnis and Shiites who are being chased out of their homes are "returning" to where they're being chased to. There are about a million and a half Iraqis who are "returning" to Syria and Jordan, too, what happens to them? But, I guess, that's not really happening, because if he admitted that, he'd have to admit the war he pushed for so hard has been a complete fiasco.

Brooks', naturally, agrees with the president's new surge policy but goes way out into la la-land by saying that extra the US force levels should be used to "create a climate in which decentralized arrangements can evolve." They'll just "evolve." Just like the insurgency and the civil war have evolved. It may cause the deaths of a few thousand more Iraqis to work itself out, but we have to "create a political strategy, commensurate with the task of salvaging something."

This is reason enough to send perhaps 20,000 more young Americans into harm's way? To salvage something? That's the best he can come up with? Brooks is awfully cavalier with other people's lives, isn't he? What ever happened to transforming the entire Middle East by creating a shining beacon of freedom in Iraq? Again, the rationale shifts. Man, the neocons have really lost it.

Again, I ask the question: why is the media giving these people air time and print space? Don't the neocons have enough AM radio stations and print outlets to get their views across? What service to the readers of the NYT does having David Brooks on the Op-Ed page provide? Why do I have to endure his BS every Friday, not only on All Things Considered but also an hour later on the NewHours? Is the world that lacking for pundits?

If I want to read what the discredited neocon position on any foreign policy debate is, I’ll pick Weekly Standard. I don't need 24-7 coverage of their fringe opinions.


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