First we will look at the big lie.
When people want to justify the unjustifiable and accept the unacceptable, they try all kinds of ways to make themselves feel better about their decision. For those who want to pull out of Iraq, there is a whole panoply of excuses:Of course the biggest lie is that the US leaving Iraq would be a victory for al-Qaeda. Everyday we stay in Iraq is a victory for al-Qaeda as the US standing in the world community continues to fall, al-Qaeda continues to be able to use US imperialism in the reason as a recruiting tool and of course the continued destruction of the US military. This argument becomes even more rediculous as the war mongers report that the Iraqi insurgents are fighting al-Qaeda when they are not fighting the US.
"Bush lied us into war" is the favorite of many Democrats, including presidential candidates who supported the war but now want to claim they were misled. "Bush screwed up the war" is the favorite of people such as me and others who argued from the beginning for more troops and a different military strategy and were told to shut up by folks in the Pentagon and the White House.
Both of these excuses have the same problem. No matter why we went into Iraq and no matter how badly we have fought the war up until recently, this tells us nothing about what to do now. It doesn't make withdrawal any less costly. It doesn't make an implosion in Iraq and a victory for al-Qaeda any more tolerable.
And now for that little bit of truth from Kagan.
The same is true for what has now become the most powerful and pervasive excuse for pulling out of Iraq: "It's the Iraqis' fault." For Republican elected officials looking desperately for a way out of supporting a war that threatens their reelection, this has become not only the preferred excuse but also a necessary psychological crutch.He's right of course, the Republicans know that the occupation must have ended before November, 2008 or they will suffer even larger loses. They must admit failure while placing the blame fully on someone else. Blaming it on the Iraqis will work along with some blame for George W. Bush. As we saw yesterday Peggy Noonan has given them the OK to turn on George W. Bush.
For these Republicans, even more than for Democrats, blaming the Iraqis solves a number of big problems. It absolves them of having supported the war in the first place. We were right to go to war, they will say, and we gave it our best shot. It isn't our fault if the Iraqis were unable or unwilling to do their part.
Blaming the Iraqis also allows Republicans to acquiesce in defeat without having to acknowledge that it is an American defeat. We didn't fail, the Iraqis did. And blaming the Iraqis clears the American conscience. We got rid of Saddam Hussein, Republicans will say. The rest was up to them, and they failed. The more sophisticated will declare that the Iraqis were culturally destined to fail.