Mark Pryor's Dr. Strangelove Diplomacy
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg
Thank God Chuck Hagel and Gordon Smith voted to keep the withdrawal language in the Iraq supplemental. If they hadn’t one of the more important debates in the Senate in recent memory would have been decided by one of the worst ideas I’ve heard in quite a while. The key defection on the Democratic side was Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas. The reason he refused to support it? Not because he fundamentally disagreed with withdrawing troops but because he believes that publicly declaring a date certain would give an advantage to the enemy. Instead Pryor proposes a “secret plan” to withdraw from Iraq.
First, of all his plan misses the entire point. The logic behind setting a date certain is to make clear to the Iraqis and their neighbors that we are getting ready to leave and that they have to step up. The point is to gain political and diplomatic leverage. You don’t really get much political leverage if you can’t tell anyone about it!!
Second, he seems to think that we can tell the Iraqi government and they’ll keep it secret. Exactly which Iraqi government is he talking about? The one that is so splintered that a number of its members are aligned with various militias including a few that have close relationships with Iran. Meanwhile, other members clearly have some ties into the Sunni insurgency.
Finally and this is my favorite. We have a secret plan to move 150,000 troops and all of their equipment halfway around the world (Or at least to neighboring countries). Do you think our enemies in Iraq will notice? This isn’t exactly one of those here today gone tomorrow operations.
Seriously people. For a few hours there it looked like the guy supporting this plan was going to decide the Senate’s position on Iraq. The whole concept just reminds me of those immortal words of Dr. Strangelove
Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you *keep* it a *secret*! Why didn't you tell the world, EH?