Thursday, April 26, 2007

Joe Lieberman is Post-Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone is something more than a strange, nebulous place that Rod Serling developed with a long-running television show that airs for days at the (Gregorian) New Year on the Sci-Fi Channel. Joe Lieberman existed in this place for a while when he still supported the war following the upsurge in civil unrest in Iraq.

With his comments today on The Washington Post op-ed page (hey, I read the paper today instead of reading it online. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have found some creative applications for grits to spice up a brunch), I am now convinced that Joe Lieberman is living in an alternate universe. Firstly, this isn't about Al-Qaeda anymore; this is larger than them. This is about the seething hatred that exists between the Sunnis and the Shiites.

The paragraph that disturbs me the most in this whole commentary is this one:

Certainly al-Qaeda can be weakened by isolating it politically. But even after the overwhelming majority of Iraqis agree on a shared political vision, there will remain a hardened core of extremists who are dedicated to destroying that vision through horrific violence. These forces cannot be negotiated or reasoned out of existence. They must be defeated.
If you have ever watched The Battle of Algiers, you will understand the absurdity of the aforementioned paragraph. Al-Qaeda is a shadow organization. Cells are only aware of one person overhead. They know about the others like Osama bin Laden, but they do not report to him. The foot soldiers report to local heads. This makes the defeat of their structure considerably less likely. Additionally, the methods which the American military has used to prosecute this war are unsuitable for urban, guerrilla warfare. The U.S. military would be well served to read the book written on the subject by a master of the form, Chairman Mao Zedong. While he might have been a communist, he knew that he would have less resources like Al-Qaeda does now and would have to be resourceful. My larger point is that al-Qaeda is not an organization that will be defeated in the traditional military sense.

Even without contemplation of the military situation for a second, if Iraq has a shared vision and is moving towards the future, when has it become the need of the American people to play bodyguard for a country? When the young men and women of this country volunteered to risk their lives in defense of the United States, they did not believe that would include them playing police in a foreign country, helping them to eradicate an issue that should not be of their concern. Why is it of our concern? Why can't the Iraqi government, once being established and settle, take care of its own interior problems?

My disinterest in these problems has Lieberman calling people like myself a defeatist and a surrenderer. As if you couldn't tell what my response will be, Lieberman's logic is absolutely wrong. Because I am unwilling to keep my military in such a situation, this does not make me a defeatist and, if America was to redeploy troops, it does not mean that we have surrendered. It only means that we have come back to reality and realized that this war has been recognized for what it is: a expanded, deeply ingrained civil conflict.

Joe Lieberman fails to understand this oh-so-simple idea that much of America has grasped, but continues to opine in the Post and the NY Times about our need to stay in the country without making a rational argument, as fear is not reason. This is why Joe Lieberman lives past the Twilight Zone. He might be nearing into David Lynch territory; Rod Serling might not be spacey enough for Lieberman.