Liberal Grace

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Stand up. Stand Down" = "Vietnamization"

Conservatives always huff and puff when to compare Iraq to Vietnam.

I don't care... Iraq is too important to worry about the sensitive conservatives.

Bush's "Stand up. Stand down." doctrine is a whole lot like Nixon's ""Vietnamization" and we all know how that turned out!

America proceeded with Vietnamization on a timeline based in politics but didn't connect with the realities on the ground in Vietnam. So we withdrew US troops whether the Vietnamese were ready or not (usually not).

In effect, Vietnamization was a slow retreat to Saigon which we couldn't hold forever.

"Respect Americans enough to tell us the truth"

I don't mention Vietnamization to rub conservative noses in it. I bring it up so we won't repeat that formula for failure.

Here are my ideas on how to make "Stand Up. Stand Down" unlike Vietnamization.

(Note to conservatives: please quite saying that liberals don't have ideas.)

1) Totally unlink "Stand up. Stand down." from US politics.
Never withdraw troops because it helps the GOP. Only withdraw US troops if it helps Iraq. Increase troops if needed.

2) Be honest with Americans about time and cost.

If this is a three trillion dollar, 15 year commitment, then say so. I'm guessing it is something like that and -- if so, respect Americans enough to tell us the truth.

3) Start funding Iraq like a real war.

Quit putting the war off-budget using endless supplemental funding schemes. And, for the love of America, quit paying for this war with Chinese and Saudi loans! Create an additional revenue stream. I suggest a war-tax on oil companies.

4) Measure progress with concrete index points

I'm sick of slogans: "Stay the course." "March of Freedom" etc. I'm a liberal. I need facts.

We need concrete, measurable points to track our progress so we can know when to "stand down."

Some obvious indexes might be:

a) Attacks on the US military
b) Attacks on civilians
c) Size of the opposition (honestly estimated)
d) Number of operational independent Iraqi military/police
e) General crime statistics
f) Small business activity and overall GDP
g) Number of functioning schools, hospitals, media outlets, etc.
h) Oil production/revenues/exports
i) Tax revenues
j) Surveys of public opinion.

Start with this:

* Bush should assemble a war room full of the best thinkers on war, Iraq, and the Middle East.

This must include generals and civilians; Americans and Iraqis; economists and historians; and representatives from all branches of government both US and Iraqi.

It must absolutely not be partisan "yes men" who agree with Bush. The war-room absolutely must be given totally freedom to disagree with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld without repercussions.

And make them stay on-task until they draft a realistic, concrete plan for winning this war -- with honest time, force-level, cost and casualty estimates.

* Find funds to pay for this. Recruit regular soldiers to fight this war.

* Install a way to measure success.

* And then fire Rumsfeld if he does not follow this plan.

Bottom line: Either start treating this like a real war or get us out

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