What Plan?

Is this a plan for victory? I want to know why John Kerry thinks that US troops have failed. So much so, that they need to be replaced by European troops in order for there to be ‘victory’ in Iraq.

Such a low opinion of US troops is just one aspect of Kerry's negative hard left turn. His anti-war base is sure that more of this kind of 'defeat and retreat' rhetoric will win him the election. I think it's exactly the opposite. America is not Europe. More pointedly, it is not Spain. Prime Minister, "I don't want to be a great leader," Zapatero, has called on all coalition governments to withdraw their forces from Iraq, because, as he says, "Now Iraq needs to recover its freedom, stability and sovereignty as soon as possible." This same cognitive dissonance is seen in Kerry's plan. For instance, Spain sees no reason for any troops to be in Iraq, even if the 'powerful diplomatic' leader, Kerry, were office.

But Kerry's plan, which promises to effectively shift much of the Iraq war burden from America to its allies, so far is failing to receive the international support the proposal must have to succeed.

..."Some Europeans are rather concerned that Mr. Kerry might have expectations for relief [from abroad] that are going to be hard to meet," said one senior European diplomat in a statement echoed in several capitals.

Surely the French and Germans, once they have a simpatico like Kerry in office, will agree to send 60,000-80,000 troops to Iraq?

...The French and German governments have made clear that sending troops is out of the question. British officials have made no such categorical statement, but they have expressed concern that their troops are overstretched.

Maybe Japan, a close ally, itself transformed by an American reconstruction will send more troops, even though Kerry has essentually called them illegitimate and phony coalition partners, part of the, 'bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted'.

Although Japan has supplied a 550-member noncombat force as a symbol of its international commitment, analysts there see little chance the nation would agree to send more.

Maybe Russia, now that it supports the pre-emption doctrine, will send troops?

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Andrei Denisov, ruled out a commitment of troops. "We are not going to send anybody there, and that's all there is to say," Denisov said.

To paraphrase Darth Vader, Kerry has yet to prove that they, "know the 'power of my diplomacy'". (Insert Star Wars Trilogy DVD box set picture here.) The truth is that Kerry is promising a pot of gold from a rainbow of diplomatic esteem that doesn't even exist. There is no reason to believe, even if the smarter more effective Kerry is in the White House, that any European nations will send their troops to fight and die on the flimsy argument that they should pay homage to Kerry.

"From the major European countries, there's simply not a lot of available troops out there, for both practical and political reasons," said Christopher Makins, president of the Atlantic Council of the United States, which supports U.S. engagement abroad.

Many allied countries have a limited number of troops suitable for the Iraq mission, and most of those are already deployed on other missions, including in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Africa, Makins said.

...But Allin added that if new troops were to be sent to Iraq "it's unclear where they would come from."

[Kerry] said he would particularly like to bring in troops from Arab countries. But diplomats, including those from Arab nations, say they consider the scenario unlikely.

...Senior Iraqi officials told U.S. officials this summer that they opposed the idea of bringing in additional troops from any foreign country.

...Analysts said, moreover, that if the United States was able to reduce its military by substantial numbers in Iraq, at least one or two major nations such as France or Britain would have to accept a lead role.

...Kerry, however, insists that he can gather international support by showing leadership and by giving other countries decision-making authority they have not had before now.

...the Massachusetts senator has repeatedly declined to say how he would find the added support... Yahoo/LATimes

The rest of Kerry's 'plan' is identical to what we are already doing. So what exactly is Kerry saying he will do differently?

As for the substance of what Mr Kerry proposed, there is nothing really new in it.

He has proposed a four-part plan for Iraq - rallying US allies to help more, training more Iraqi security forces, reconstructing Iraq and ensuring that elections are held next year.

But America's allies are just not willing to help much, certainly not by sending troops. Mr Kerry is unlikely to change their minds.

Iraqi security forces are already being trained. Certainly this could be stepped up but it is a long process.

The reconstruction is planned but has faltered because of the lack of security. There is no magic wand.

Elections are already being organised for January. The plan is that the current unelected interim government will give way to a transitional government which will then have a constitution drawn up for full elections at the end of next year.

Mr Kerry's best ploy perhaps is saying that American troops could be home in four years, the length of the presidential term. bbc.co.uk

The problem with Kerry's approach is not personal it's ideological. He is embracing the belief of those who assert that America is more dangerous than rogue states like Iraq. Those who see the US as the source of evil in the world rather than an exceptional force for good.

Mouthing the arguments of the anti-war left is not helpful to the war on terror or to our soldiers fighting it. Nor will it help the flagging campaign of the Senator from Massachusetts who served in Vietnam.

Posted by Eric Simonson at September 26, 2004 10:44 PM