Kerry’s Big Iraq Speech

Via Diana, I give you this text of Senator Kerry’s remarks at New York University today.
Let me make it easy: while many will laud the speech, I’m torn between giving it a C+ and B-. Yes, he’s finally talking about the right thing, and in the right (asshole tough guy) way. AND he’s mentioning Al Qaeda and OBL (FINALLY– SOMEONE IS MENTIONING THEM!)
His proposed Iraq solution, however, is a fantasy, is wrong, and will piss people off (I must tell you, I’M pissed off by it). His answer: “Go begging for help from our allies and the UN”.
Unacceptable. I’m voting for him anyway, and frankly, I would urge every American of good will to do the same. But his answer to this– THE BALLGAME QUESTION– is… unacceptable.
WE have the world’s only viable military up to this job that won’t cause more problems (Israel has a large, first world military, but its presence in Iraq would, quite quickly, cause a world war. Russia and China have large militaries, but we want them nowhere near Iraq.) France and Germany– which is, after all, the code for what Kerry is saying– just don’t have the troops, let alone the national will, to be of much (or any) meaningful help. And summit meetings are… horseshit.
No, Iraq is our– and ONLY– our problem (and the Iraqis, of course). And no points are taken off for blaming the mess on Bush (even as Kerry only tangentially acknowledged his own role in voting for the God damned war.)
Here’s the thing. We have exactly three answers to Iraq: (1) Simply leave. Since the place is destabilizing into civil war ANYWAY, why bother getting OUR OWN people killed anymore in the vacuum. Its not like its going to be all that worse, frankly, than it is now. It will eventually stabilize as some sort of Iranian style theocracy, after a few thousand people (more) are killed. (2) Do what we’re doing now. Continue to pour money and American lives down the rathole, while more and more territory becomes “No-go” zones (like, oh, Fallujah, Sadr City, and other population centers). (3) Break the country up. Oh, officially it would be one country, as Switzerland is, but like Switzerland, it would REALLY be ethnically homogenous cantons, linked together by a VERY loose and weak central government. The Kurds can police the Kurds; Sunnis can police the Sunnis, Shia the Shia, Turkmen the Turkmen, etc. Cantons that play nice nice– like the Kurds, for example, get fast elections, and a bigger piece of the oil revenue. Cantons that decide to be assholes (Fallujah comes to mind) won’t get elections, or oil money, and can merrily kill themselves, without OUR troops being there taking bullets. Its easy: 4, 5, maybe 6 or 7 different little enclaves each effectively a country, under a loose umbrella- common currency, free trade zone, one UN seat, etc.– but the problem broken up.
There are NO other options that do not smack of the realm of fantasy. Given that Kerry’s prior grade on this subject had been, well, an F, the C+/B- is a huge improvement. (Bush, as usual, phoned in his assignment, and his grade is “incomplete”.) But the country WANTS COMFORT ON THIS. At least Kerry is starting to take it on. That’s good. I realize he can’t openly talk about just pulling out. But many others have, for example, talked about the “rolling elections” concept: regions that behave get elections, regions that do not, don’t. The more regions of Iraq are under Iraqi control, the more regions we can leave, quietly reducing our deployment, until all that’s left is a training force, and maybe border control.
I’m delighted to see Kerry taking on this (ballgame) subject. As the electoral battle goes on (43 days to go…) I have little doubt he will pour on the vitriol, and give it to Bush over this (Bush’s fantasies about “all is well” should be shoved back in his face as often as possible.)
UPDATE: I’ve decided to heed Kerry’s entreaties, and raise his grade to B+/A-; the American people are stupid, and he can’t actually say what he will actually do, so he must talk in oblique nonsense, just like his opponent. He has ignored Clinton’s advice, and is taking the national security issue back to Bush. You get ’em, Fightin’ John!!!