Andrew C. McCarthy is a lying scumbag.
Andrew McCarthy essentially argues here that attacking Iran and Syria will reduce the insurgency in Iraq, even beyond whatever effect the loss of Syrian and Iranian support will have on it, because apparently it will scare the insurgents into retreat. He also seems to imply that this is why the insurgency was so weak in the first few months after the war - it wasn't that these things take a while to develop, or that the Iraqis' attitudes toward the U.S. change over time and with occupation - it was that the insurgency, which sprang fully grown out of the ground of Iraq in May 2003 was scared of us because of the shock and awe from our conquest of Baghdad.
Let me repeat what he says and interpret it:
More importantly, though, [fighting Syria in Iran as part of the Iraq War] is not a zero-sum game. It is not a case in which, if the Iranian/Syrian influence were, say, 30 percent of the problem, subtracting it would leave the same 70 percent we face now.
No, even if you wish, for argument’s sake, to consider the war as existing only in Iraq, dealing decisively with these terror-facilitators would have a dynamic effect on the insurgency. It could be the difference between how the United States was perceived in the first six or so shock-and-awe months after the March 2003 invasion and how American resolve was seen in the ensuing three years — characterized by temporizing in Falluja, negotiating with terrorists (even some affiliated with al Qaeda), and abiding the provocations of Tehran and Damascus.
In other words, stopping whatever help Syria and Iran are giving the insurgency is not the issue. If we attack Syria and Iran, it will quell the insurgents because they will know that we mean business.
Let me clarify:
He is saying that attacking Iran and Syria will solve parts of the insurgency that have nothing to do with Iran and Syria.
This is ludicrous. Not only is it a very uncertain proposition that such an attack would demoralize the enemy in Iraq, it might even create more enemies - not the least because attacking Iran would enrage the Iraqi Shi'a, which are still not that big a problem for U.S. forces per se (the death squads may be threatening civil war, but they aren't usually attacking our troops). It is also a dangerous idea because it ignores the fact that in Syria, any disruption could lead to the overthrow of the government, and the only people likely to take over are even worse than Assad - a secular leader, and personally the member of a minority sect who maintains some level of religious tolerance because his own people need the tolerance of the majority. The idea that there would be no repercussions from an attack on Syria or Iran to add into the equation, which apparently is what he believes, is daft. And beyond that, there is the question of how much of the insurgency is really dependent on whatever help it may be getting from outside sources. If Iran and syria were responsible for 30% of the problem, and they taken out of the picture, how do we know that local forces would not take up the slack?
Of course, I don't think he really believes this. More than anything, this shows that McCarthy is willing to use the situation in Iraq as nothing more than a tool to get us to expand the war. That is , he wants us to attack Iran and Syria, and seeing that the situation in Iraq is what is making the U.S. cautious about expoanding the war, has decided to promise us that the war he wants will solve that problem, too.
That is all.