The Democrats are getting ready for the upcoming
election season. Having done so poorly for the past, well, decade or so, they
may finally be seeing an opportunity to capitalize on one of the Bush administration's
many misfortunes. Whether it's Jack Abramoff's lobbying sleaze, Cheney's happy
trigger finger, or Scooter Libby's indictment, they sure have plenty of Republican
mishaps to choose from.
They certainly would like us to believe they're pulling it all together. They
want us to believe they are finally catching on to the fact that the majority
of Americans think this war isn't going so hot. So the Democrats are putting
forward a plan to get the troops out of Iraq. Seems like a logical idea. People
will go for that, they think. But in order not to look soft on terror,
the Dems won't be calling for a "withdrawal" of U.S. troops – they'll
just "redeploy" 'em.
It's tricky stuff, really.
On one hand, the Democrats want to look tough, but on the other, they want
to appease the antiwar crowd. It's fiddly terrain. If the Democrats don't toe
the line juuuust right, they may fall off the edge into oblivion (okay,
maybe they already are floating around in the great ether) and lose another
round of elections. Or so their strategy goes.
Most of the antiwar movement thinks the troops should have been shipped back
home yesterday. So we are the ones they are looking to fool first and foremost
– without our support (which they usually take for granted and, as you will
see, are again), they cannot beat even a Republican Party on the verge of collapse.
Since last fall, the Democrats in Washington have been contemplating a plan
to get the troops out of Iraq. They call it "strategic redeployment,"
so as not to sound too dovish. They had a former Reaganite named Lawrence Korb
write it up.
"We aren't going to cut and run, that's just Republican propaganda,"
the Washington Post reports DNC Chair Howard Dean saying on Feb. 10.
''But we are going to redeploy our troops so they don't have targets on their
backs, and they're not breaking down doors and putting themselves in the line
of fire all the time. … It's a sensible plan. It's a thoughtful plan. I think
Democrats can coalesce around it."
Dean is in part being honest; they certainly are not cutting and running. But
the plan Dean is touting is anything but sensible, and the antiwar movement
should not, I repeat, should not support this ugly thing. The
"plan," if that's what you want to call it, does not ask for immediate
withdrawal – it would be phased. And more importantly it's not withdrawal at
all – it's a call for the redeployment of armed forces to other outposts in
the Middle East.
According to the policy
report [.pdf], "Strategic Redeployment: A Progressive Plan for Iraq and
the Struggle Against Violent Extremists," put out by the Center for American
Progress, which Rep. John Murtha supports, redeployment isn't all that better
than the Republicans' plan to "stay the course":
"As redeployments begin, the remaining forces in Iraq would focus on
our core missions: completing the training of Iraqi forces; improving border
security; providing logistical and air support to Iraqi security forces engaged
in battles against terrorists and insurgents; serving as advisors to Iraqi units;
and tracking down terrorists and insurgent leaders with smaller, more nimble
Special Forces units operating jointly with Iraqi units. …
"By the end of 2007, the only U.S. military forces in Iraq would be
a small Marine contingent to protect the U.S. embassy, a small group of military
advisors to the Iraqi Government, and counterterrorist units that works closely
with Iraqi security forces. This presence, along with the forces in Kuwait and
at sea in the Persian Gulf area will be sufficient to conduct strikes coordinated
with Iraqi forces against any terrorist camps and enclaves that may emerge and
deal with any major external threats to Iraq. … 14,000 troops would be positioned
nearby in Kuwait and as part of a Marine expeditionary force located offshore
in the Persian Gulf to strike at any terrorist camps and enclaves and guard
against any major acts that risk further destabilizing the region."
There it is, spelled out in frightening detail. The Democrats' election-year
stunt is just more of the same. This is what we should have expected from the
beleaguered and directionless Democratic Party, and the antiwar movement should
not get excited about this meager offering. The Democrats still want U.S. military
bases in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. And U.S. troops won't be coming
home anytime soon. They'll just be transferred from one imperialist venture
to the next.