Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why I Hate Barbara Lerner

If you want a good example of why people hate the neoconservatives, this piece by Barbara Lerner really showcases the reasons why I find her so distasteful.

First, she proceeds to admit that things are not going as well as they ought to be in Iraq, although this year she has been reticent to criticize for fear that it would embloden the enemy.

Then, she tells us where she feels we went wrong and how we could have done better in Iraq.

(1) Install Ahmad Chalabi.

Lerner's essential statement here is that it perfectly okay for Rumsfeld not to plan for the occupation of Iraq, because he ought to have handed it to the Iraqi National Congress (INC) and let Chalabi run the country.

This is ludicrous. I can think of no reason why this would have improved anything. Chalabi had neither the military forces to maintain order, nor the popular support to make the population more friendly toward us than they were with Bremer at the helm. I have already explained this in more detail here.

All of the things that Lerner claims we would need to do to support Ahmad Chalabi (de-Baathify the government, tame the Shiite militias) ultimately amount to no more than saying that we ought to have been more brutal in our treatment of the Iraqi people in order to force them all to swear fealty to Ahmad-the-Thief.

She also states:

Afterwards, we should have given them whatever additional time they needed to gradually work out and apply a new set of rules for their own Iraqi brand of democracy.

Which is another way of saying that we ought to have made Chalabi the dictator-for-life. Whether "given them whatever additional time" means simply that, according to her plan, we wouldn't push Chalabi to hold elections anytime soon, or whether it also means that we would keep our troops in Iraq to prop him up for as long as Chalabi requests is unclear.

Needlenose has another good explanation for why this would be a stupid idea:

Lerner, meanwhile, is sufficiently removed from the rationality God gave a cabbage to realize that the reason Rummy & Co. didn't actually put the INC dictatorship scheme into motion was the same reason her chosen scapegoat, Paul Bremer, couldn't get his plans off the ground: a rather obstinate grand ayatollah named Sistani, who could have responded with a single fatwa saying, "I don't think so -- Homey don't play dat," and shifted the U.S. occupation into helicopters-on-the-rooftops mode overnight.

Of course, Lerner had a solution for that, which we will get to below.

(2) Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.

Our second big mistake... was our failure to recognize irredeemable Iraqi enemies as such, and to take bold, decisive military action against them, and especially, against their leaders... Quick, crushing military action against men like these would have sent the right message to all our Iraqi enemies, Sunni and Shiite alike: Violent resistance is immediately fatal and ultimately futile.

In other words, we ought to have instituted a reign of terror and killed anyone who opposed us, and their entire family, and any civilians who were in the way, and maybe the whole town the person was from while we were at it, in order to show we mean business.

She also repeats the execrable lie [a half-truth is the worst kind of lie - Draal as quoted by Delenn on Babylon 5] that the Iraqis in Fallujah in March of 2004 "lynched American civilians." They were only civilians in the most technical sense; they were mercenaries. She feels that the roops were held back too much from responding in that case - they should have "wiped out" the "Baathist generals" behind the mob. What she doesn't mention is that this would also involve wiping out all of Fallujah as well.

This, of course, is how she likely would deal with the Sistani problem Needlenose brought up - kill him and his family and everyone he knows, and install another imam who issues a fatwa to obey the Americans.

(3) Attack Syria and Iran

Lerner repeats the highly improbable neocon claim that they are driving forces, if not the driving forces, behind the insurgency. Realizing that we hadn't the troops to invade either of them, she asserts that with massive air raid we could have stopped their supposed infiltrations without having to commit ground troops. I think that it is highly unlikely that such an attack would not set up a situation where ground troops and possibly a full invasion force would be needed. Which, if I am right, brings up the question: is she stupid or is she lying?

After explaining what we should have done, she says that what we need to do now is to bomb Iran and "Hezbollahland" in Lebanon (presumably meaning any area that is not Maronite - like Joseph Farah she appears to have a final solution to the demographic problems of Christian Arabs in Lebanon). From this and other statements I also infer that she wants us to bomb Syria.

So in short, her solutions are to install unpopular puppets, to keep them in power through mass slaughters, and to expand the war to at least two and maybe three neighboring countries.

Is it any wonder I find her detestable?

That is all.

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