Saturday, January 13, 2007

Surging in the wrong direction

Somehow, the Republicans managed to paint the Democrats as wanting to surrender the "War on Terror" because we see the folly of continued involvement of American forces in Iraq.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and it is time to set the record straight.

The war in Iraq and the War on Terror are far from the same thing. In fact, I would argue that their respective circles barely overlap. Iraq is a sectarian civil war and American forces are caught in the crossfire. The front in the War on Terror is located on the other side of Iran, in Afghanistan.

They keep asking for a Democratic plan. Fine. This Democrat has one. The first thing we do is get our diplomats together with Iranian diplomats and we agree to stop meddling around on their borders if they will stop meddling in Iraq. (And make Juan Cole one of the Diplomats we send.) Acknowledge that the location of American combat forces on two of her borders has something to do with Iran's sudden interest in developing nuclear weapons. Especially when it is established fact that a lot of American commando activity has been going on in Iran below the CNN line. I understand their motivation because I can read a map.

The next thing we do is start pulling brigades back to Kuwait and let them rest up and have some leave. Reduce forces in Iraq by 10,000 a month, and when they are rested, add them to the NATO effort in Afghanistan, where 21,500 additional troops would make a real difference.

I accept that Iraq is a disaster no matter what, and can't be won militarily. It is an apostacy that 3000 Americans have died in an unnecessary war. But I am not willing to lose Afghanistan too.

But that is what is certain to happen if we continue focusing on Iran, and if we lose Afghanistan, then literally, the terrorists win. (That might be the only time those words have been used properly.)

As it stands, all signs point to a Taliban re-emergence in Afghanistan in the spring, and that comes in February in the south.

It is time for us to put Afghanistan at the forefront. I support the justified and justifiable war, but I can't support the vanity war George W. Bush is intent on pursuing to the bitter end in Iraq. It is time we all take a hard look at reality, and not just the parts we want to see, and start making some hard choices. And it is time we started framing the issues.