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Sunday, August 26, 2007

The senator who mistakes our enemy for our friend

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) on ABC News' "This Weekend" program this morning (emphasis mine):

Guerrilla warfare is sort of like the game that kids play, Whack-a-Mole.  You know, you move into this area, the guerrilla forces are going to move somewhere else.  And until we can get an umbrella in this region where different countries take responsibility — like for instance, the Saudis need to step up, and in an overt way, take more responsibility for the solution in the Sunni areas, rather than running Saudis in to do a lot of this guerrilla work. The Iranians need to step up. Until we have that, you're not going to have stability in Iraq.

Sen. Webb genuinely perplexes me. From time to time, the man has spoken and written rationally, eloquently, even brilliantly, on military and foreign policy matters. But then he can look directly into the cameras and say, with a straight face, that "stability in Iraq" depends on "the Iranians [stepping] up" to "take responsibility."

What on earth can he possibly have in mind? Leave aside for the moment the notion that we ought to let the House of Saud become the new satraps for what would presumably be the Sunni portions of a dismembered Iraq, a notion that I find problematical even if we indulge in the dubious fiction that the Saudis are our faithful friends and allies (at any time that it doesn't suit them to behave otherwise). How on earth can Sen. Webb possibly expect America to make important strategic policy decisions on the basis of promises from Iran about anything?

Oh, yes: The Iranians are indeed eager to "take responsibility" for Iraq, in exactly the same way that China has "taken responsibility" for Tibet, or that my neighbor's large dog would gladly "take responsibility" for my hamburger. So either Sen. Webb thinks that would be a good thing, or else he must be deranged.

I think it must be some sort of brain lesion — the sort of thing Dr. Oliver Sacks has written about in books like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (and Other Clinical Tales). Surely there has to be an organic cause for such a profound perceptual and logical dysfunction.

Posted by Beldar at 11:19 AM in Global War on Terror | Permalink


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(1) craig mclaughlin made the following comment | Aug 26, 2007 2:42:28 PM | Permalink

Webb baffles and infuriates me. I've read all his books-- and liked them. (Including the one containing the passage that Allen's inept campaign foolishly tried to smear him with.) I was an active duty Navy officer when Webb was named Secnav. All my brother officers and I applauded the choice, only to be chagrined when Webb, in short order, alienated everyone and quit in a huff. After his very public and vitriolic criticisms of Clinton (which I again applauded) all during the '90's, I don't understand where he's coming from these days. I just don't. I gather he doesn't like George Bush. Okay, I don't like Newt Gingrich, but I'm not about to join the Democratic party because of it. And to say what he said about Iran... He knows better than that. He has to. Doesn't He?

(2) Milhouse made the following comment | Aug 27, 2007 11:51:17 AM | Permalink

I think he means that Iran has to stop supporting the terrorists, and instead take an open and legitimate role in Iraqi Shiite affairs. Or else.

(3) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 27, 2007 4:13:08 PM | Permalink

What would be "legitimate" about Iranian involvement in (read: "domination of") Iraqi Shiite affairs?

What could be more "open" than manufacturing and then giving unique ordinance to the terrorists to use against Iraqis and Americans in Iraq? Or seizing British sailors in Iraqi waters?

And if Iran promised to "behave" in these respects in some way we found more congenial, why would we ever possibly believe them?

(4) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 27, 2007 6:34:06 PM | Permalink

"Surely there has to be an organic cause for such a profound perceptual and logical dysfunction."

I think I know. It's Politicitis.

(5) anduril made the following comment | Aug 28, 2007 10:12:29 AM | Permalink

Jim Webb? Take responsibility? Is that like when he sent his aide through the Capitol metal detector with his (Jimbo's) heat? The guy is noxious, with the mindset of the schoolyard bully.

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