"For us, the organizers of the vigil are phony-baloney, betraying the sacrifices that those men and women make in Iraq, by demanding that we pull our troops out now and leave Iraq to go to hell," said Kristinn Taylor, co-leader of the [FreeRepublic.com] group's Washington, D.C., chapter. "This is a publicity stunt."A publicity stunt? Did Cindy Sheehan conduct her vigil on the top of a telephone pole? Kristinn, that's a publicity stunt.
What Sheehan's genuine protest has accomplished, among other things, is to illustrate in human terms the fact that there had been inadequate planning for the post-war occupation in Iraq, the time period in which Casey, Sheehan's son, was killed. Had there been adequate planning, would the occupation have been as bloody? Would Casey still be alive?
The State Department memo from 7 February 2003 which was declassified recently and which warned State Department Under Secretary Paula Dobriansky about U.S. Central Command's lack of planning for the post-war phase is another illustration, an Exhibit B. One can only imagine what the response of the "top CENTCOM officials" was when Craner, Dewey and Simons of the State Department offered "technical assistance" to them. I can picture the CENTCOM officials smiling and saying "No thanks. We're good." Or "We can handle it. We're professionals."
So why was there inadequate planning for the occupation? Mickey Herskowitz, who in 1999 was removed as the ghost-writer for Bush's autobiography, told interviewer Russ Baker in 2004 that the idea of a "small war"—a quick get-in-get-out engagement—dates back to the Reagan-Thatcher years. Apparently it was Cheney, then the Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, who said something like "Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade." The Bush administration must have been convinced, right through the "Mission Accomplished" publicity stunt, that that's what they would be able to do. They would wage a small get-in-get-out war that they could walk away from and enjoy the prestige that a successful military campaign always provides a political leader. The concerns that were raised about the aftermath of the war were confidently ignored. It's probably safe to say that the Bush administration's obssession with invading Iraq wasn't motivated by a desire to bring about Armageddon and the
return of Christ, even though Bush has close ties with Tim LaHaye, the author of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic novels, of which 60 million copies have been sold. The premature "Mission Accomplished" stunt suggests pretty clearly that they expected to follow a get-in-get-out plan. Had Bush wanted to precipitate the "Rapture" and the "Tribulation," he would not have expected to be around to see the end of the war, except from a vantage point in Heaven with the other raptured faithful. Even so, this quote from a Rolling Stone article from January 2004 is a little chilling:
But the idea that Bush, in going to war against Iraq, might have been moved not by politics but by an apocalyptic vision is terrifying to some. Last October, the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance wrote a formal letter to Bush, saying, in part, "Please assure the American people that you are not developing foreign policy on the basis of a fundamentalist biblical theology that requires cataclysm in Israel in order to guarantee the return of Christ." So far, he has not received an answer, and the White House didn't return calls from Rolling Stone asking whether the president has read Left Behind.As far as pulling our troops out now and leaving Iraq "to go to hell," as Kristinn described it, my suspicion is that the insurgency would diminish to the degree that the American presence in Iraq diminishes. If American troops were to pull out immediately, as Sheehan recommended, the very reason that the insurgents are fighting would be eliminated. I imagine they would celebrate the withdrawal beneath Arabic banners reading "Mission Accomplished."