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Reply #9: Here's a critique [View All]

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. Here's a critique
from Ezra Klein:

I'm sorry, but since when does Damascus and Tehran extending their control over a failed state in the heart of a vital strategic region constitute "good news"? How badly has America's influence and power in the world fallen when a Republican Senator is hoping the US Army will be rescued by an alliance of Baathists and Mullahs?

Maybe Hagel is simply acknowledging that the Bush Administration has, in fact, been such a disaster that this is the case. But I think this is actually part of something else, because Hagel starts his piece with this:

Snip...

It is understandable that politicians are allergic to even implying that America has, in fact, been defeated in Iraq. Nevertheless, it's difficult to ponder what else you call it when America fails to find WMDs, fails to eliminate a terrorist haven, in fact creates a terrorist haven, is unable to support it's chosen government, is forced to withdraw from Iraq, and leaves a vacuum which Hagel acknowledges America's rivals (if not enemies) will fill.

The common thread through Hagel's bizarrely optimistic view of the Assad-Maliki-Ahmedinejad conference and the words "there will be no victory or defeat" in Iraq is a desire to conceal the magnitude of America's defeat. If any country expends billions of dollars and thousands of lives and fails to achieve any meaningful objective, and ends up in a weaker position than when it began, that's a defeat. Hagel is unwilling or unable to state that plainly, and this is dangerous.

I'm not simply trying to be churlish, here. It's important for American policymakers to acknowledge the facts of what has actually occurred if they're going to learn any meaningful lessons from this debacle. Hagel, to his credit, already seems to realize what the lessons are. But Hagel is speaking to a public audience, and as any addict knows, the first step is admitting you have a problem. By couching his overall sound counsel in a way that fails to acknowledge the magnitude of America's failure, I worry that he's making it easy for opportunists in the future to say "we could have won, if only."


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