Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kissinger Lays Groundwork for Redeployment?

The AP is picking up a BBC interview with Henry Kissinger in which he says "military victory" in Iraq as no longer a plausible outcome. The story backs up the headline, Kissinger: Iraq Military Win Impossible, with this quote:
"If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he told the British Broadcasting Corp.
Leaving aside the snide aside that one impediment to victory might be lack of resolve by the citizens of the U.S and what remains of its coalition partners, this looks like a campaign to soften the enemy in preparation for advancing troops.

The AP item was rip-read by Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation" and was immediate fodder for a question to an unprepared Sen. Lyndsay Graham (R-SC), who left us only with "I disagree." That sort of moment happens rarely on TV, so that news team regarded the item as significant.

Less noticed, perhaps, is an interview conducted last week and published today by the LA Times, conducted by veteran correspondent Doyle McManus, in which Kissinger is said to make some familiar points but which the author asserts amounts
"to a sharp critique of the administration's course."
"As long as he (Bush) was told he was winning, he had every reason to pursue the recommended strategy" that his advisors (sic) had proposed, Kissinger said.

He declined to elaborate, except to add that it was impossible to portray the current state of affairs in Iraq as "winning."

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that what we're seeing now would be an odd appearance for a victory," he said.
With the Iraq Study Group on the verge of providing what may be an intervention, is this evidence that tough love is in the offing? Watch for new talking points on the primary importance of establishing stability rather than democracy.


Bob Crooke said...

Read this post with great interest. Don't these AP and LA Times quotes attributed to Kissinger contradict what the White House recently implied about his supposed advice to Bush: that victory is the only exit strategy?

john c abell said...

Doesn't it seem to you that this is what happens when a big strategy change is about to happen -- whether it is pushed from the ledge or just falls?

The good doctor is redefining victory (what, again?!) so that the u.s. can leave behind a "stable" place even if it isn't enjoying Jeffersonian democracy. After all, they will be able to continue to say, "Doesn't that take an awfully long time? Relax! :)

I think frankly that one of the immediate affects of leaving will be that violence will go down, in absolute terms -- all the violence against and involving coalition forces, duh. That's money in the bank.

The U.S. presence in Iraq lets the thugs fight the U.S. on their home court. It makes true what both Osama and Bush agree upon: That iraq is the central front in the war on terror.

But what if they didn't give a war? Would anybody stay?