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Opening Arguments

An F for Plan B

More criticism of Sen. Richard Lugar's Plan B, from Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard:

His second and more important mistake is misunderstanding the effect an American pullback in favor of a diplomatic offensive would have. Lugar insisted the new approach would help achieve America's "four primary objectives" in Iraq. These are: preventing the creation of a terrorist haven, curbing sectarian violence, preventing Iranian dominance of the region, and "limiting the loss of U.S. credibility in the region." These are worthy goals. The problem is his Plan B would not achieve them--quite the opposite.

It's the surge that's designed with these four goals in mind. Abandoning the surge strategy would cause the opposite of what Lugar wants. It would leave al Qaeda and Baathist diehards with a staging area, either inside or near Baghdad, for their attacks. It would mean sectarian violence in Baghdad and elsewhere would increase, particularly because Iranian agents would be free to provoke it. Iran's role in Iraq would grow. As for American credibility, Lugar's plan would have the same impact on it that the pullout from Somalia had in 1993 and the retreat from Lebanon a decade earlier. Our credibility would plummet. Al Qaeda would gloat and declare victory.

Lugar said a smaller American force in Iraq would be available to deal with terrorist threats, protect the oil pipelines, and "help deter a regional war." But why would a smaller force be able to do this when the current larger U.S. force has its hands full with these same goals in mind? He doesn't answer that question. He can't. His strategy simply doesn't make sense.


larry morris
Thu, 06/28/2007 - 7:19am

Perhaps our "credibility in the region" would fair better if we kept our nose at home where it belongs. There's a reason why we're in Afghanistan, I'm still trying to figure out why we're in Iraq. (That was rhetorical, please don't try and educate me, ...)