Roger L. Simon

Lonely are the Liebermen

Sometimes I think Joe Lieberman is the last honest man in Congress. And he’s relatively diplomatic too is his lengthy oped in the WSJ, urging his colleagues to give the “surge” a chance.

Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake–assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.

In fact, halting the current security operation at midpoint, as virtually all of the congressional proposals seek to do, would have devastating consequences. It would put thousands of American troops already deployed in the heart of Baghdad in even greater danger–forced to choose between trying to hold their position without the required reinforcements or, more likely, abandoning them outright. A precipitous pullout would leave a gaping security vacuum in its wake, which terrorists, insurgents, militias and Iran would rush to fill–probably resulting in a spiral of ethnic cleansing and slaughter on a scale as yet unseen in Iraq.

I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next. Instead of undermining Gen. Petraeus before he has been in Iraq for even a month, let us give him and his troops the time and support they need to succeed.

Everything here is eminently sensible. On the chance that Petraeus and Co. will succeed, we should not undercut them. They’re there now – and no one will have the stomach for “Surge II.”

Yet the Congress, as Lieberman indicates, seems to live in an alternate reality – many of them making quick jaunts to the Green Zone to pontificate on a situation about which no one could learn anything under such circumstances, at least nothing more than they could have learned on a couple of websites. It’s all for show.

And speaking of show – what’s with John Warner (one of the leading Senate Republican critics of the “surge”) suddenly backing John McCain (one of its leading adherents) for President? Everything’s only skin deep, yeah, yeah , yeah.