“The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people — and it is unacceptable to me.” ~ President George W. Bush
As of today, March 20, the debacle that is the war in Iraq has now dragged on for four years. The United States defeated Nazi Germany in less time than we have been fighting ill-equipped terrorists, insurgents, and “ragheads.” One would think that if “the situation” was so unacceptable that some significant plans would be made for changing it.
Ever since it has became evident that Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” accomplished nothing in Iraq but more destabilization, disintegration, destruction, and death (over 3,000 American soldiers have now been killed since Bush proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” — some mission), there has been a lot of hot air expended from many who initially supported the war but now say that we need a plan for ending it.
Although its seems as though every politician and pundit has an idea to end the war, the real plans for ending the war in Iraq can be reduced to just four.
The Republican Plan
This is a Republican war. Although some Democrats voted for the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002,” which passed the House by a vote of 296-133, passed the Senate by a vote of 77-23, and was signed into law (PL 107-243) by President Bush on October 16, 2002, the Republicans didn’t need any Democratic votes to get the measure passed. Only six principled Republicans in the House voted against the resolution (John Duncan, John Hostettler, Amo Houghton, James Leach, Constance Morella, & Ron Paul). Only one Republican in the Senate voted against it — Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island.
The Republican Plan, whether it is termed “stay the course,” “surge,” “escalation,” “supporting democracy,” “nation building,” “new way forward,” or “other options,” is a plan to continue the war for some indefinite period. Sure, say the Republicans, we want to end the war someday, but since that day might be far into the future, we shouldn’t set any definite dates for withdrawing from Iraq lest the region “descend into total chaos” or we “embolden radical Muslims” or we “validate the terrorists’ strategy.” As the war drags on, additional troops may be sent to die one year followed by troop withdrawals in the next — it really doesn’t matter. The Republican Plan is a plan that prescribes perpetual war for perpetual peace.
Many conservatives and Republicans who now say they oppose the war and want to end it are only saying so because of how badly the war has turned out. Many of them are already talking about the inevitability of war with Iran, Syria, North Korea, and other “rogue states” that make up the “axis of evil.” When those wars don’t go as planned, these same conservatives and Republicans may begin opposing them as well, but will never call for a change in America’s belligerent foreign policy.
The vast majority of Republicans in Congress have no principles other than party loyalty. It doesn’t matter what the cause, if a Republican president says we need to go to war then we must “support the president” and “support the troops.”
What would happen if Bush suddenly changed course and announced a total withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq? Limbaugh, Hannity, and the Hannitized dittoheads who hang on their every word would then line up behind the president like cattle before a stunning box. Anyone who then wanted to continue the war would be denounced as a warmonger who was being disloyal to the president.
But are the Democrats any better?
The Democratic Plan
The Democrats who control Congress also have a plan to end the war. See the Republican plan. Really.
Although the Democratic plan might be termed “supporting the troops,” “phased withdrawal,” “change of mission,” “setting benchmarks,” “a new direction,” “mission shifting,” “timetable for troop withdrawal”, or “redeployment” — all backed, of course, by nonbinding resolutions — I suspect that most of the Democratic opposition to the war is not out of principle, but out of political considerations. After all, eighty-one Democrats in the House and twenty-nine Democrats in the Senate voted for the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.”
True, there are a few principled Democrats who have consistently opposed the war from the beginning. Senator Robert Byrd comes to mind, who stated soon after the war began:
Regarding the situation in Iraq, it appears to this senator that the American people may have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, in violation of longstanding International law, under false premises. There is ample evidence that the horrific events of September 11 have been carefully manipulated to switch public focus from Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, who masterminded the September 11 attacks, to Saddam Hussein, who did not. The run-up to our invasion of Iraq featured the President and members of his Cabinet invoking every frightening image they could conjure, from mushroom clouds, to buried caches of germ warfare, to drones poised to deliver germ-laden death in our major cities. We were treated to a heavy dose of overstatement concerning Saddam Hussein’s direct threat to our freedoms.
Byrd also recently said about Bush’s troops surge: “At the outset of this war, the Bush administration believed, apparently, that democracy could be exported through the barrel of a gun. That belief was wrong then; it is wrong still today. Twenty thousand more troops won’t make it right.”
But as Justin Raimondo wrote after the November elections: “The idea that the Democratic capture of Congress means that we’ve reclaimed American foreign policy for the people is a charming idea, but unfortunately it is very far from the truth.” Not only do the Democrats in Congress have no intention of cutting off funding for the war, they plan to increase funding. Said the chairman of a defense spending panel overseeing war funds, Representative John Murtha (D-PA) — who once called Bush’s Iraq policy “a flawed policy wrapped in illusion” — “There will be $98 billion for the military part.” This is about $5 billion more than what Bush has requested.
No impeachment of Bush, no denouncement of Bush as a war criminal, no slashing of the military budget, no cutting off funding for the war, and no change in America’s foreign policy.
The Curtis LeMay Plan
Curtis LeMay (1906-1990) was the infamous Air Force general who was responsible for the fire-bombing of Tokyo during World War II. On the first night alone, sixteen square miles of the city were incinerated and 100,000 people were killed. According to LeMay: “Killing Japanese didn’t bother me very much at that time. . . I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. . . . Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you’re not a good soldier.”
Although he ran for vice president on the Wallace ticket in 1968, LeMay is instead remembered for his approach to the “problem” of North Vietnam: “My solution to the problem would be to tell them frankly that they’ve got to draw in their horns and stop their aggression, or we’re going to bomb them back into the Stone Age.”
He also said:
- “There are no innocent civilians.”
- “If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting.”
- “I think there are many times when it would be most efficient to use nuclear weapons.”
So how would the LeMay plan work in Iraq? Simple. First, get every available M1 Abrams tank. Then purchase some Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozers from the Israeli Defense Forces. Next, line up half of the tanks and bulldozers on the southwestern border of Iraq with Saudi Arabia and the other half on the northeastern border of Iraq with Iran. Then it is “Gentlemen, start your engines,” followed by every tank and bulldozer slowly moving toward Mesopotamia, destroying everything and everybody that gets in the way.
Am I in favor of this plan? Of course not. Would it be immoral? Absolutely.
The LeMay Plan is a truly bipartisan plan that would please all Democratic/Republican and liberal/conservative warmongers. This is the plan to “unleash hell” that many “Red State” Republicans are wanting. It is a plan of “total war” that General Sherman would be proud of.
The LeMay Plan is a plan that those who follow Objectivism can call their own. It was bad enough when the president of the Ayn Rand Institute, Yaron Brook, advocated back in December of 2004 that the United States military should “be a lot more brutal,” “bring this war to the civilians,” and turn “Fallujah into dust,” but now, writing in the premier issue of The Objective Standard, he states:
Doing whatever is necessary in war means doing whatever is necessary. Once the facts are rationally evaluated, if it is found that using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran’s nuclear facilities or flattening Fallujah to end the Iraqi insurgency will save American lives, then these actions are morally mandatory, and to refrain from taking them is morally evil.
The morally evil LeMay plan is a plan that many Americans want or at least wouldn’t question, but are afraid to express their support for publicly.
The LeMay Plan is also an ecumenical plan that would please bloodthirsty Christian warmongers who want the U.S. military to do their bidding so they don’t have to get their hands dirty. The Christians who write me and say that we should “kill ‘em all and let Allah sort ‘em out” would be ecstatic. John Hagee and the other members of the Christian axis of evil would jump for joy. Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, who says that “this war should be stepped up and fought like World War II,” would have his wish. It is unfortunate that some Christians would be among the first people to justify such a plan of death and destruction. I have previously examined some reasons why this is so in my article “Killing Heartily in the Name of the Lord.”
The Right Plan
The right plan is the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq. Today. Now. Not when Iraq has a stable government, not when the “sectarian violence” comes to an end, not when the next U.S. president takes office, not next year, not next month, not next week, not tomorrow — today, right now. Could the entire U.S. military leave Iraq today? Of course not. But there are some things that definitely could be done. We could announce to the world that our invasion was a terrible mistake. We could apologize for the death and destruction we caused. We could tell our “coalition partners” that we led them astray. Could all the killing, bombing, and shooting stop today? Yes. Could the troops start packing? Of course. Could every available truck, plane, and ship fuel up and get ready to transport U.S. troops? Certainly.
An immediate withdrawal is the right plan because the war was a grave injustice and a monstrous wrong from the very beginning. We withdrew all of our forces from Lebanon in 1984. We withdrew all of our forces from the Philippines in 1992. We withdrew all of our forces from Somalia in 1994. We can withdraw all our forces from Iraq in 2007.
When I wrote an article last year on the occasion of the third anniversary of the war, I reported that 2,317 American soldiers had died so far in this immoral and unnecessary war. The number is now up to 3,218. How many current and future American soldiers will die before the fifth anniversary comes and goes? Will any of them be your friends or relatives?