Frum was on ABC Lateline a few nights ago and it was a sight to behold. Along with strategic analyst Harlan Ullman – the ABC website called the debate, “Experts discuss Iraq’s political situation” – they analysed the current quagmire in Iraq, the political process and constitution and increasing influence of Iran. Ullman is a pragmatist – he coined the military term, “Shock and Awe” – and sees issues in purely strategic terms. He’s long called for a greater US troop commitment in Iraq.
Frum, on the other hand, was flailing. Some “highlights” of his expertise:
“I know Ahmed Chalabi not well but reasonably well. He is not a perfect man. But in a country full of very, very imperfect people, I think he is and always has been our best hope as somebody who shares democratic ideals, has political effectiveness, understands the system, is committed to a united and democratic Iraq.”
“I don’t think getting out of the mess should be America’s top priority. I think fixing the mess should be our top priority. I think what everyone would agree or almost everyone, at least in this country and in this city, would be regardless of what your opinion was about the beginning of the Iraq war, Iraq is a major prize in the Middle East. The possibilities of success are very great and the danger from failure is very great. This is as close as you can get to the heart of the strategic interests of the Western World. It is essential to succeed.”
“The United States using all of the arsenal of power at its disposal, not just military means but not excluding military means, needs to begin by saying this is a regional conflict and regional players who intervene in Iraq will face consequences, there should be diplomatic pressure on the Saudis and the Jordanians, very clear warnings to the Iranians and hot pursuit across the Syrian border and air strikes in Syria if the Syrians continue to let their land be used as a base.”
So, he advocates bombing Syria, holding Iraq as the Western “major prize” – the people of Iraq are not his concern – and bringing back fraudster Chalabi as the country’s saviour.
It’s a damning indictment that one of the “experts” on Iraq is so open about his country’s imperial ambitions (though perhaps we should be grateful that they no longer hide it.) The Iraq war is lost but people like Frum are clutching onto anything that may even vaguely resemble success.
Pro-war supporters, Frum is your man. Stand proud.
UPDATE 2: Thanks to a perceptive reader for pointing out this “new” reason for invading and occupying Iraq:
“Standing against a backdrop of the imposing USS Ronald Reagan at a naval air station near San Diego, the president gave a fresh reason for American troops to continue fighting: protection of the Iraq’s vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorists.
“Bush said the Iraqi oil industry, already suffering from sabotage and lost revenues, must not fall under the control of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida forces led in Iraq by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
“If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks,” Bush said. “They’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition.”
“A one-time oilman, Bush has rejected charges that the war in Iraq is a struggle to control the nation’s vast oil wealth. The president has avoided making links between the war and Iraq’s oil reserves, but the soaring cost of gasoline has focused attention on global petroleum sources.”