The Pelosi plan

Published 8:07 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2006

You may admire the Pelosi Plan for Iraq or despise it, but nobody can ignore it. It lays out a program for resolving America’s problems in that tormented nation that is squarely at odds with President Bush’s grim determination to “stay the course.” It has provided the Democratic Party with a clear road map for future action that they can present to the American people, and it is bound to have an important influence, for better or worse, on the coming congressional elections and (far more important) on the outcome of the titanic struggle in the Middle East.

Democrats, of course, hail the Pelosi Plan as a brilliant solution to America’s current military dilemma in Iraq. And Republicans, equally predictably, scoff at it as little more than a series of proposed blunders that would leave us worse off than we are now. But no one can deny that it is a constructive contribution to the national debate.

If, by now, you are hopelessly confused, I apologize, for I have misled you. There is, of course, no “Pelosi Plan” for Iraq, and that is the whole point. Our would-be Madam Speaker has not uttered two consecutive words on any proposal for solving America’s problems in Iraq. She has, instead, confined herself to calling upon the administration to “redeploy” our troops there.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Now, “redeploy” is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as meaning “to move (troops) from one front to another, as from Europe to the Pacific.” But as used by Pelosi, it is merely a fancy, rather military-sounding synonym for “bugout” — or, if you prefer, “cut and run.” She has never suggested any place to which the troops might be “redeployed” (Abu Dhabi? Dubai?), or explained what they might do once based there. If she imagines they might use their new location as a base from which to strike in some militarily more desirable direction, what direction does she have in mind, and how many casualties is she prepared to incur?

No, the Congresswoman from downtown San Francisco simply means pulling out of Iraq and bringing the troops home by Christmas (or some other date).

It is hard to think of any comparably irresponsible proposal by an American political leader. It is the exact opposite of a “plan.” It doesn’t even ask, let alone answer, what is surely the most important question concerning a bugout: namely, what would its military and political consequences be?

The first military consequence, of course, would be the collapse of all American, international and Iraqi resistance to the terrorist jihadists and the various religiously-inspired militias who are even now slaughtering scores of their fellow Iraqis every day. “Civil war” is almost too dignified a term for the chaos into which Iraq would collapse. Eventually, various poles of political authority would emerge, no doubt supported financially and militarily by the various Islamic nations on Iraq’s borders. These nations in turn, freed from any obligation to honor such concepts as “democracy” or even “liberty,” would impose even worse tyrannies than those existing today on their own peoples, and the Middle East would become one vast cesspool of Islamic dictatorships, bent on expansion.

Worse yet, America’s reputation as a defender of freedom, let alone an honorable and formidable military power, would turn to mud. The terrorists, triumphant over having forced Uncle Sam to turn tail, would double or triple in size on short order, and train their sights on further terrorist victories in Europe — and, of course, in the United States. (Or do you think that, gratified by the success of the Pelosi Plan, Osama bin Laden and his allies would call off their jihad against the West and the Great Satan and go back to tending their goats?)

As President Bush has tirelessly reminded us, we didn’t start this war, and the attack on Iraq was simply a belated response to a series of Islamist assaults on the West stretching back nearly thirty years. No American soldier was anywhere near Iraq, or even Afghanistan, on 9/11. That was our “Pelosi Plan,” and it didn’t work.

(William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy.)