Tuesday, July 17, 2007

aye, there's the rub

stephen colbert picks apart ben nelson, the last man standing of the democratic senators who still support the war in iraq:

colbert: how, uh — how would you change the game plan in iraq?
nelson: what we would do is transition the mission. ah, and that would include taking the combat troops out of fighting the civil war — or the sectarian violence, as you choose — ah, and redeploy them into certain areas. fighting al qaeda is one of them, in al anbar and all over. i think we have al qaeda on the run ...
colbert: so you wouldn't withdraw them? ... so you wouldn't, wouldn't withdraw them?
nelson: ... wouldn't be withdrawing —
colbert: why wouldn't you withdraw them?
nelson: — them. we wouldn't, wouldn't withdraw ... we wouldn't try to micromange the war. you would just change the mission. you'd also, ah, redeploy the troops to the, ah, to the borders, to protect the borders in case ...
colbert: but what if the president doesn't want to do that?
nelson: well ... that's the problem. the president doesn't want to do that.

hmm ... yes, that would be a bit of problem, now wouldn't it, ben?

without overlooking the illogic in ...

(a) nelson's cutely-alliterative "transition the mission" game plan, which sounds less like a strategy for victory than another attempt to find busywork for keeping the overstretched troops in iraq and

(b) his argument against withdrawal, which he frames as "micromanaging the war" (while eloquently borrowing one of the republicans' favorite talking points). but wouldn't withdrawal unequivocably end our involvement in the quagmire, thereby leaving us nothing to "micromanage" ... ? doh!

... i want to applaud this comedian for confronting nelson with the grand conceit afflicting all the armchair generals who think they have the grand strategy for iraq (even if they do).

and that grand conceit is this: that their plans mean squat if the commander-guy isn't going to implement them. so what's the point of supporting this war one day longer if it's never going to be waged in the way that you think will win it?

i've been carping on this point for a while:

unfortunately (and i do say this with the utmost respect to all those who have been applying the necessary brain-power and wisdom that's been heretofore lacking in this debate) all these plans represent nothing more than idle academic masturbation. they're all quite pointless. and that's why you'll find no trademarked and patented "aarrgghh plan" on this site.

because unless the first step in your grand strategy reads:

my grand strategy for iraq
by carping know-it-all


remove george bush and dick cheney from office.

... then your plan is nothing but toilet paper.

because unless you're willing to let events continue to spiral for at least another two years, george bush will give your precious plan all the due consideration he gave to the over-anticipated iraq study group report — that is, as steve gilliard remarked, he'll "wipe his ass" with it.

which leaves us with only one plan — the only one that matters — the kagan plan, more fondly known as "the surge" ...

it's a point that i've been taking to other blogs:

probably the biggest conceit of those cheerleading the "surge", whatever their particular reasons, is the illusion that getting one more bite of the apple means that the occupation will be finally getting it right this time, whatever that ultimately means. the surge, they insist, will work as long as [fill in your personal cure-all here ], and as long as we give it time.

the reality of course is that the surge cheerleaders are not in charge. they're not going to get the chance to run the type of surge they think will finally produce that pony.

the folks in charge are the same criminals, starting with the commander-guy, responsible for the mess-o'-potamia, and they really don't care what anyone else thinks. and they certainly won't be applying [ your personal cure-all ] to the problem.

it's been oft said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, but the real insanity of supporting this escalation is expecting the same idiots, with such a record of failure, to do anything different.

nothing will change as long as they are in charge. which means either another year and a half before even preparing for withdrawal — or impeachment now.

unfortunately, as long as fantasists like nelson remain in congress, this will be a point i'll have to keep jabbing in people's eyes for the foreseeable future. at least somebody with a megaphone is finally helping out.

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