Saturday, April 29, 2006

Schultz on the Bush Doctrine: It's the Only Way

George Schultz was one of the quiet heroes of the 1980s as Reagan's secretary of state. Today on the Wall Street Journal's, he is featured in a remarkable and timely piece by David Henninger. As usual, follow the link, but read the quotation:

"I think this is the most promising moment, almost, in the history of the world--a time when the information age has made it clear to people what it takes for them to get ahead in their lives and succeed, to have prosperity, to have growth, and it's a critical matter not to have that great opportunity aborted by a wave of radically inspired terrorists. So we have to confront this, and we have to do it on a sustainable basis because it's going to take a long time."

So what, then, would he say to the people who've come to feel that because of the constant bombings and the struggles of the new Iraqi government that we're not going to make it? "We don't want to give up. The more you talk about not making it, the more you encourage the people who are trying to be sure the Iraqis don't make it. You encourage them to keep doing what they're doing."

As SWNID has said before, the only way we "lose" this war is by quitting. And losing a war against terrorists and fascists would be bad for most of the world's people. So let's keep at it.


Kevin K said...

It is not the ONLY way.

It is, however, the CORRECT way.

fiona said...

"Stay the course!" Put Cheney on the front lines with his Benelli.

Sleepless in Baghdad said...


The objective isn't "to not lose this war."

The objective is to win the war.

Any ideas on how that is going to be accomplished? And do you have an ETA? It's hard to watch Letterman with bombs going off everywhere.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

You're asking SWNID for tactical advice, and we aren't that military.

Politically, the strategic issue has boiled down to the simple question of "stay or go." The argument for "go" is that defeat is inevitable. So, following that binary line, we simply point out that persistence, defined not as doing the same thing again and again but not quitting altogether and so trying new things, is a sure means of avoiding defeat and, eventually, winning.

Asking for an ETA is absurd, of course. How long have the British been conducting an anti-insurgent campaign in Northern Ireland (answer: more years than most readers of this blog have been alive)? Now that things show actual improvement there, has it been worth it? Because it took so long, should the Queen's army have struck the Union Jack and left the North to become a killing field between "Protestant" neo-fascists and "Catholic" Communists?

Sleepless in Baghdad said...


Let us not make us in their image.

Your thoughts should be no more binary than a kaleidoscope. That would be beneath you.

Base one conversations lead us nowhere.

The U.S. military "staying" in Iraq should be based on the winnability of the war, not defeatism versus patriotism.

Maybe you should think tactically before you endorse staying the course. The war will be won tactically. You keep focusing on how it will be lost (politically). The US needs to focus on how it will be won. The US has three more years to win it (and possibly more), before any political battles loom. The political battle is distant. The tactical battle is today.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

In order to remain SWNID, we must know some limits. Military tactics aren't within our ken. Politics is, barely.

We know enough history to be confident that any insurgency can be defeated if the anti-insurgency is patient.

Again: why isn't anyone talking about Northern Ireland these days? Our friends the Brits have apparently accomplished something that we never thought would happen.

We'll leave it to people who do this full time to discuss tactics. They wouldn't take advice from this blog anyway. But voters, who do read this blog, have to think strategically, as they choose between shortsighted, feckless isolationism and Bush's muscular Wilsonianism.

BTW, the choice is binary not because I made it that way but because it has been framed that way by the body politic. We have two parties.

Sleepless in Baghdad said...

Like lambs to the slaughter...