Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Hobgoblin of Small Minds

Senator Reid, in an interview for today's Washington Post, suggests that he is willing to cut all sorts of deals, as long as he can return to his anti-U.S.-victory-under-a-Republican-adminstration base with the pro-forma U.S. withdrawal from Iraq--even as he acknowledges that bad guys in Iraq will need killing for the forseeable future:

"Democratic aides are already discussing how to proceed once the expected presidential veto is issued. One idea with growing resonance would be quick passage of a war spending bill without conditions but with only enough funds for a few more months of war. Then negotiations over binding language to force a change in war policy would begin anew.

'With a little bit of ingenuity,' Reid said yesterday, compromise is possible. He suggested leaving Special Operations forces in Iraq and setting up military bases in Kuwait or Jordan where counterterrorism operations and Iraqi military training could continue."

So we could just bus our troops in from Kuwait whenever an Al Qaeda cell in Baghdad needs to be whacked, but otherwise business as usual.

In addition to its breathtaking cynicism, this does open a whole new realm of negotiating possibilities:

--We could have the Iraqi government declare U.S. forward operating bases in Iraq U.S. consular territory. This, since the same argument is good enough in the minds of Iranian leaders to immunise Iranian agents operating within Iraq, should also satisfy Iranian demands that we evacuate.

--We could announce a 150,000-man military exchange program with the Iraqi army, effective immediately.

--We could agree to a hard deadline for withdrawal of soldiers--no later, say, than April 11, 2080, rather than April 2008.

Please feel free to add your own hairsplitting legalisms for ingenious legal negotiator Reid's consideration.

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