Cheney v. Biden: some choice!

Sen. Joseph Biden’s Nov. 21 speech before the Council on Foreign Relations calling for a phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq over the next two years is clearly intended as a response to Dick Cheney’s bellicose tirade before the American Enterprise Institute that same day. Cheney merely demonstrates classical addictive behavior. He just can’t stop himself:

Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we simply stirred up a hornet’s nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: We were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001 — and the terrorists hit us anyway.

Aw c’mon, Dick! If the jihadis were so pissed at the US military presence in Saudi Arabia, aid to Israel and the Iraq sanctions that they blew up two skyscrapers, do you expect them to mellow out if you take over and occupy Iraq? And Saddam Hussein, whatever else you want to say about him, was keeping a tight lid on jihadi activity in his police state. Talk about creating what you fear! The White House, not the Saddam dictatorship, turned Iraq into a breeding ground for terrorists! And you might as well use 9-11 as an excuse to invade Sweden, for all Saddam had to do with it!

Biden, alas, also demonstrates certain addictive tendencies:

Our presence remains necessary because, right now, our troops are the only guarantor against chaos. Pulling out prematurely would doom any chance of leaving Iraq with our core interests intact. But our large presence is also, increasingly, part of the problem.

Biden, at least, recognizes the problem, but is afraid of its implications. He still thinks the US can fix the problem in Iraq by engaging in precisely the behavior which created it. Aren’t these guys familiar with the wit and wisdom of Roy Rogers? If you find yourself in a hole—stop digging.

Here is my conviction: in 2006, American troops will begin to leave Iraq in large numbers. By the end of the year, I believe we will have redeployed at least 50,000 troops. In 2007, a significant number of the remaining 100,000 American soldiers will follow.

So in a year from now there will still be 100,000 US troops in Iraq under Biden’s scenario. As we have noted before, this is still double the number Bush pledged they would be dropped to within four months at the time “major combat operations” ended in May 2003. And this is being portrayed now as the liberal position! What a bait-and-switch!

See our last post on Iraq, and the politics of withdrawal.