Look at the emphasis in the two columns: Lieberman’s is all about the military; Kissinger’s, diplomacy. Kissinger says that a military solution “is not possible,” which is what every member of the military I’ve spoken with has said. He advocates an international summit. He advocates talking directly–indeed, bilaterally–with the Iranians and Syrians. I suspect that if you pushed Kissinger, he’d probably be reluctantly in favor of the surge, but he doesn’t mention that here.
Lieberman, meanwhile, is stuck in his neoconservative rut. No talk of diplomacy. A fulsome misrepresentation of the people who disagree with him–according to Joe, they just want to get out of Dodge. Some do; but not John Warner, Jack Reed and most of the other Senators, who want to get out of the civil war raging in Baghdad, continue fighting Al Qaeda in Anbar province and maintain a U.S. security presence in the region to prevent utter chaos. Lieberman also continues to misrepresent the position of General Petraeus. He says the General has said that we’ll be able to know if there are signs of progress by August. He hasn’t. Indeed, the counterinsurgency experts I know in the military are infuriated that Secretaries Rice and Gates, and especially General Casey, have set such unreasonable expectations.
Lieberman’s most important failure, though, is his unwillingness to recognize that if there is a solution to Iraq–and there may not be–it will be a diplomatic solution. What accounts for Joe’s myopic truculence? I’ll probably get into trouble with the American Jewish Committee over this, but I suspect he suffers from a classic Likud-Neocon form of blindness: You can’t negotiate with Arabs. They only understand strength. (Iranians aren’t Arabs, but close enough for vast cultural oversimplifications.) This is a point of view that Norman Lewis, the Princeton historian celebrated by Dick Cheney, has long promoted. Lieberman pays lip service to diplomacy, just as he pays lip service to the notion that Bush botched the war. But his emphasis today–and every day–seems the precise opposite of Kissinger’s. You’ve got to wonder why.
ooops ! It’s Bernard Lewis, not Norman…old age aphasia.