Iraq—Historic Blunder, Ugly End

It appears the Beltway bombing halt agreed upon at
the Bush-Pelosi summit is over.

The incoming chairmen of the Senate`s armed services
and foreign affairs committees, Carl Levin and Joe Biden—and
Majority Leader Harry Reid—say a phased withdrawal of
U.S. forces from Iraq will be their first priority.
Troop redeployment, says Reid, "should start within
the next few months."

White House Chief of Staff

Josh Bolten
counters: "I don`t think we`re going
to be receptive to the notion there`s a fixed timetable
at which we automatically pull out because that would be
a true disaster for the Iraqi people." [
to Press Bush to Reduce Troops in Iraq
, By
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Mark Mazzetti, New York Times,
November 12, 2006] John McCain says we need more
troops to crush the Mahdi Army and militias, and achieve
victory. If we set a deadline for withdrawal, said
McCain, we risk a Saigon ending, with

Americans being helicoptered off the roof
of the
U.S. embassy. McCain appears to be adopting the George
Wallace stance of

—"Win, or Get Out!"

And so we come to the endgame in a war into which we
were plunged by Bush Republicans and those

now scurrying back to their think
tanks, and the Clinton-Kerry-Edwards-Biden-Reid-Daschle
Democrats, who voted Bush a blank check in October 2002
to get the war issue "out of the way" before the

America has been horribly served by both parties. And
as the Democrats have now captured Congress, they assume
co-responsibility for the retreat from Mesopotamia.
Which is as it should be.

While our leaders never thought through the probable
result of invading an Arab nation that had not attacked
us, we had best think through the probable results of a
pullout in 2007.

We are being told that by giving the Iraqis a
deadline, after which we start to withdraw, we will
stiffen their spines to take up greater responsibility
for their own country. But there is as great or greater
a likelihood that a U.S. pullout will break their morale
and spirit, that the Iraqi government and army, seeing
Americans heading for the exit ramp, will collapse
before an energized enemy, and Shias, Sunnis and Kurds
will scramble for security and survival among their own.

Arabs are not ignorant of history. They know that
when we

pulled out of South Vietnam,

Democratic Congress cut off aid to the Saigon regime,

and every Cambodian and Vietnamese who had cast his lot
with us wound up dead, in a "re-education camp"
or among the

boat people
in the South China Sea whose wives and
children were routinely assaulted by Thai pirates.

In that first year of "peace" in Southeast
Asia, 20 times as many Cambodians perished as all the
Americans who died in 10 years of war.

In Iraq, a collapse of the government and army in the
face of an American pullout, followed by a
civil-sectarian war, the break-up of the country and a
strategic debacle for the United States—emboldening our
enemies and imperiling our remaining friends in the Arab
world—is a real possibility.

Yet what

Edmund Burke said
remains true: "[N]o war can be
long carried on against the will of the people."
the American people are losing, if they have not lost,
the will to continue this war. They are weary of the
daily killing and dying, and of the endless talk of
when all they see is death. They believe
the war was a mistake, and they want to come home.

Our hawkish elites bemoan the fact that Americans
seem ready to give up on Iraq when U.S. casualties are
not 10 percent of those we took in the Korean War.

That is because they do not understand the nation.

Americans are not driven by some ideological vocation
to reform mankind. We do not have the patience or
perseverance of great imperial peoples. If an issue is
not seen as vital to our own liberty and security, we
will not fight long for some abstraction like democracy,
self-determination or human rights.

It is a myth that we went to war to save the world
from fascism. We went to war in 1941 because


Pearl Harbor.
That Hitler had overrun France, booted
the British off the continent and invaded Stalin`s
empire was not a reason to send American boys across the
ocean to die.

In 1990, Americans were not persuaded to throw Iraq
out of Kuwait until Bush 1 got to talking about Saddam`s
nuclear weapons. Even after 9-11, Americans were
skeptical of marching to Baghdad until we were told
Saddam was building weapons of mass destruction and
probably intended to use them on us. Americans have
often had to be lied into war.

Democrats are probably reading the country right.
Americans will not send added troops to Iraq, as McCain
urges. They want out of this war and are willing to take
the consequences.

But those consequences are going to be ugly and
enduring. That is what happens to nations that commit
historic blunders.



Patrick J. Buchanan

no introduction
readers; his book

State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America

can be ordered from