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Filed under: IRAQI RECONCILIATION — Rick Moran @ 6:23 pm

Yes, victory. For all the sneering lefties who will come here and try and explain away the news that the freely elected government of Iraq is about ready to ask the United States military to leave once certain conditions are met and a timetable relating to those conditions is agreed upon, this is the very definition of a win for our side (no thanks to you). Our leaving would also be predicated on the acceptance by the insurgents of some kind of amnesty program for those who fought American troops but not for terrorists who deliberately targeted Iraqi civilians.

How is this different than John Kerry or the Democrats asking for a “timetable” based on arbitrary and capricious criteria, specifically neglecting the insurgency factor? For one thing, the proposal comes from the Iraqis themselves not self-serving domestic politicians wishing to score points with our electorate. For another, no Democrat ever proposed anything that would have taken into account a ratcheting down of much of the insurgency. It never entered into any discussion on any of the resolutions offered in the Senate. The timetables would have been based solely on Iraqi capabilities not on a concomitant easing of the security situation by drawing the insurgents into politics.

In short, not only will we leave once the Iraqis can stand up, but also when most of the insurgents lay down.

This is a formula for victory albeit not a complete one. Both the White House and the military have fiercely opposed amnesty in the past and will probably continue to do so. I made the point here that though it would be a bitter pill to swallow, we must expect some kind of amnesty program. For Prime Minister Maliki, who is proceeding more quickly and with more determination than anyone expected, the amnesty program is the cornerstone of his Grand Solution or “National Reconciliation Plan:”

A timetable for withdrawal of occupation troops from Iraq. Amnesty for all insurgents who attacked U.S. and Iraqi military targets. Release of all security detainees from U.S. and Iraqi prisons. Compensation for victims of coalition military operations.

Those sound like the demands of some of the insurgents themselves, and in fact they are. But they’re also key clauses of a national reconciliation plan drafted by new Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who will unveil it Sunday. The provisions will spark sharp debate in Iraq—but the fiercest opposition is likely to come from Washington, which has opposed any talk of timetables, or of amnesty for insurgents who have attacked American soldiers.


The plan also calls for a withdrawal timetable for coalition forces from Iraq, but it doesn’t specify an actual date—one of the Sunnis’ key demands. It calls for “the necessity of agreeing on a timetable under conditions that take into account the formation of Iraqi armed forces so as to guarantee Iraq’s security,” and asks that a U.N. Security Council decree confirm the timetable. Mahmoud Othman, a National Assembly member who is close to President Talabani, said that no one disagrees with the concept of a broad, conditions-based timetable. The problem is specifying a date, which the United States has rejected as playing into the insurgents’ hands. But Othman didn’t rule out that reconciliation negotiations called for in the plan might well lead to setting a date. “That will be a problem between the Iraqi government and the other side [the insurgents], and we will see how it goes. It’s not very clear yet.”

It may surprise you to learn that Iraqi government officials have been in contact with several of the larger insurgent groups for months. Since many of the major Sunni rebel groups are made up of men with tribal and clan loyalties, negotiators have been hard pressed to get a consensus among so many disparate groups. Apparently the ex-Baathists are one of the largest if not the largest insurgent group and are also being difficult although holding out the bait of political participation (making the party legal again) could work in Maliki’s favor.

But what will Washington do? In the end, Bush will have little choice in the matter. When the Iraqis ask us to leave and set the conditions for that to happen, we can hardly say no. Yes, we can push for a more limited amnesty and for more flexibility in the timetable. But resisting a pullout at this point just doesn’t make sense.

The President should schedule either a press conference or an oval office address for Monday or Tuesday at the latest. It’s not like they haven’t been kept fully informed of what has been going on so our response should be immediate. And Bush should take the opportunity to come out and say flatly that this is the path to victory. Not only would it undercut his critics, but he should carefully take the time to explain how this is different than the proposals made by the cut and run Democrats who were so soundly defeated in the Senate last week.

The insurgency is only part of the problem, of course. Al Qaeda in Iraq will not give up no matter what most Sunni groups end up doing. And then there are the lawless gangs of thugs who run large sections of Baghdad and some of the larger cities, making citizens pay them protection and running kidnapping rackets as well as engaging in murder for hire and other crimes of violence. This is a law enforcement problem that can be tackled vigorously once most of the police are freed up from concentrating on stopping insurgent and terrorist attacks.

And Prime Minister Maliki seems to have his priorities straight:

Maliki’s reconciliation plan will undoubtedly be the subject of protracted discussions, and not everyone in the Iraqi government is pleased with it. The document also calls for bringing militias and “death squads” under control—a provision which the powerful Shia party, SCIRI, is not happy with, because it effectively equates militias with the insurgents. Maliki is also Shia but from the Dawa party. And Sunnis, for their part, are reluctant to renounce the insurgency when they are still threatened by Shia militias, and by Shia-dominated police. “The Sunnis have only one card to play, the insurgency,” says the senior coalition official. “They don’t have enough population and they’re not sitting on any of the resources. Therefore their political identity is almost entirely defined by the insurgency.”

Breaking that Shia/Sunni impasse won’t be easy. But as the U.S. ambassador says, “Every war must come to an end,” and few on any side in Iraq any longer believe they can kill their way to peace. The only alternative is to try to talk their way there.

Peace. Victory. And with some hard negotiating along with a little luck vouchsafed by a just and merciful Providence, our boys and girls can come home in triumph.


Josh Marshall has an intelligent view from the left:

Not just the departure of American troops at some distant and unspecified point in the future when everything in Iraq has calmed down and it’s a fun place to live, but having it begin to unfold in the here and now. That accomplishes two things — it begins to lance the boil of foreign occupation and it forces the Iraqis themselves to start taking steps to run and control the country themselves. This would have to take place as part of a political program of national reconciliation as Prime Minister Maliki is proposing.

Am I sure this will work? Not at all. As I’ve written at various points over the last couple years, this is the root irony and tragedy of the situation we’ve gotten ourselves into in Iraq. We are both the glue holding the country together and the solvent tearing it apart.

Marshall draws an erroneous conclusion I believe when he states that Bush won’t take the deal because he is seeking to pass the problem along to a predecessor. I think if Bush is half the politician I think he is, he will jump at this chance to end our involvement in this problematic war. And while there’s no doubt that the Iraqis will request a residual “trip wire” force of perhaps 10 or 20 thousand men remain to prevent foreign adventurism, I think that troop drawdowns starting in late summer or early fall will take the Iraq War off the political menu for the Democrats.

This doesn’t mean they still can’t take over the House. But it may bring home just enough of the President’s base to allow Republicans to squeak their way to victory in November.


  1. Lol. Laughable. In other words… our timetable can beat up your timetable. Both sides have the same position on this war.


    We are establishing a timetable for withdrawl (Victory).. yeah… that is right, we declared it and are leaving now.



    Comment by pc — 6/24/2006 @ 7:17 pm

  2. I continue to believe that the most important step in national reconciliation is the death of Saddam. I say this for reasons that more more cultural than anything else.

    Many of the Baathist leadership have pledged their loyalty to Saddam. They cannot recognize the current government as long as Saddam lives. While it is true that his is an obviously lost cause, there is more cultural dishonor in abandoning one’s oath of loyalty than there is in resisting even one’s own tribal leadership in support of a new government. While the resistance to one’s tribal leadership in support of the government is certainly viewed with disappointment, it is understandable and accepted as a sad reality which is better than dishonoring one’s tribe by going back on one’s loyalty.

    With Saddam out of the picture, leading members of the insurgency would then be free to cast their lot with their tribal leadership and come to some agreement with the government. Until that happens, many have no other choice but to continue to resist.

    Step two in the healing of Iraq (after the formation of the government, which is now complete) must be the dispatch of Saddam Hussein. Until then, we are peeing into the wind.

    Comment by crosspatch — 6/24/2006 @ 7:17 pm

  3. PC:

    You are a brainless twit. How else can you explain that the link in your comment is the exact same link to the Newsweek story I have in my post? Are you totally brain dead? Can’t you read?

    I don’t ban idiots. But in your case, I may make an exception

    Comment by Rick Moran — 6/24/2006 @ 7:21 pm

  4. Rick-
    “A timetable is a victory.” There is no difference between Republicans and Democrats on Iraq right now. Just rhetoric,spin, and politics… and a ton of money spent.

    Comment by pc — 6/24/2006 @ 7:32 pm

  5. [...] A few questions: How will Bush’s “with us or against us” approach to the world fit into a country where somebody other than us calls the shot as a sovereign nation? Who will clue in White House Press Secretary Tony Snow on what is going on? Plus: Victory in sight? Rick Moran at Rightwing Nuthouse writes: How is this different than John Kerry or the Democrats asking for a “timetable” based on arbitrary and capricious criteria, specifically neglecting the insurgency factor? For one thing, the proposal comes from the Iraqis themselves not self-serving domestic politicians wishing to score points with our electorate. For another, no Democrat ever proposed anything that would have taken into account a ratcheting down of much of the insurgency. It never entered into any discussion on any of the resolutions offered in the Senate. The timetables would have been based solely on Iraqi capabilities not on a concomitant easing of the security situation by drawing the insurgents into politics. [...]

    Pingback by The Heretik » Blog Archive » Baghdad Standard Time — 6/24/2006 @ 8:10 pm


    Now thats funny. Thanks to the raving, wacked out, BDS, America hating, moonbat crowd we won? Your pathetic side didn’t win shit, except the clowns of the year award for brilliant ideas like “redeploying” to Okinawa. Trying to draw equivalence between the two political parties is simply your last gasp at trying to convince people that you can be trusted with national security. Which you cannot, as has been demonstrated time and time again. ACCEPT IT DUDE. YOU LOST.

    Comment by RobertUSAF — 6/25/2006 @ 1:48 am

  7. Robert-
    But we are redeploying. You think our re deployment is based on the situation on the ground, or politics? Americans will not accept anything else. It is in the news. You can read it for yourself. We are doing everything that Republicans and Democrats have been asking for… scaled withdrawl, timelines attached to milestones. Except of course, the PM call for amnesty. I believe the Senate passed a resolution about that, what, last week? Watching our politicians answer questions about that, is truly going to be a comedy show.
    You want to impress me as a conservative? Slam Bush for not building an Army large enough to meet our current threats. Our military should be double the size it is right now, and we had the perfect opportunity to build a force large enough after 9/11 to re structure and get this done.
    “ACCEPT IT DUDE. YOU LOST.”… No bro. We all lost. We still face a massive threat from a region vital to our national interests and we do not have an Armed Forces large enough to fight this regional war. You think we are winning by getting out of Iraq? Think we created a situation there that promotes our interests? The Iraqi PM is calling the shots. You honestly believe that the Armed Forces of the United States has been well served,and that our national interests and security have been increased? You are high.

    Comment by pc — 6/25/2006 @ 5:33 am

  8. No we won. Saddam was removed from power. The WMD’s are gone. The nuke scientist will not be making bombs to give terrorist. It is not all perfect but it is a lot better than before. We should all be very proud of the men and women of the US military.

    Then people like Murtha, Kerry and Dick Durbin need to be voted out of office for trying to lose this war. There is blood on their hands.

    Comment by Bob Zimmerman — 6/25/2006 @ 9:18 am


    Comment by Drewsmom — 6/25/2006 @ 10:27 am

  10. Remember, after the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s main and virtually only condition for the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia (and later the other remaining armies of the Confederacy) was that they lay down their arms, go home and promise to be loyal to the United States of America. Lincoln was never in favor of punishment of the Confederacy or war crimes trials for its leaders. He knew, the only way to national reconciliation was to let everyone be countrymen again.

    The radical reconstruction that followed Lincolns death was, in many ways, the wrong way to go, to the extent that it sought top punish the former members of the Confederacy. It would have been much more successful if it had simply sought to impose the new order concerning treatment of the former slaves, rather than also imposing northern “overlords” to run the local governments.

    The new Iraqi leadership well understands that this is necessary if you are going to get anywhere with regard to national reconciliation. This is even more true in a country with such deep ethnic division to deal with after the war. We cannot condemn them for wanting to grant amnesty and move past the war, when we did the same thing ourselves 150 years ago.

    Comment by Glelawnj — 6/25/2006 @ 11:14 am

  11. I think your right. It sounds bad, but it might be the only way. If not they will just keep fighting because they have nothing to lose. How many japanese and German soldiers went back home after WWII who killed Americans? Plenty. But that is war I guess and it would be nice for it to be over and we could help Iraq deal full time with the Islamic fascist.

    Comment by Bob Zimmerman — 6/25/2006 @ 12:44 pm

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