Ignorance Is Not Bliss
Posted on June 6, 2008
Ignorance Is Not Bliss
I was talking to a high-ranking Republican Senate aide last night and he was telling me about his latest trip to Iraq. He talked about the Iranian missiles that were a constant threat to the Green Zone, the fact that Baghdad was still a very dangerous place, and the wisps of hope about the future, how oil revenues are starting to pile up, how Iraq actually has a budget surplus, and how the institutions of government are starting to churn slowly.
I asked him who went on the trip and he told me it was a group of Republican staffers like himself. I asked him why Democratic staffers didn’t go, and he told me that they were invited but that they all declined.
He then told me about a briefing where high level Pentagon officials came to the Capitol to brief Senators and their staffs. Again, the Democrats were invited and again they didn’t show.
Apparently, these staff are taking their cues from Senator Obama, who hasn’t been to Iraq in years, and who has only reluctantly conceded that visiting there might be useful.
When it comes to Iraq, ignorance is not bliss. The situation on the ground is extraordinarily complicated. It is hard to know which side is up and which side is down.
I don’t pretend to know what is really going on there, but then again I am not making policy. These Democrats staffers are making the policy, and if they refuse to hear from the Pentagon, if they refuse to see the situation on the ground, if they decide just to do the political thing, they are guilty of negligence.
This same staffer told me about a meeting with Sunni Sheiks who were visiting the Capitol. These sheiks were terrified that the Democrats were going to control the agenda, and that the result will be a pull-out by the United States which would lead to another bloodbath.
Obama and his Senate allies need to take the time to really learn what is happening on the ground in Iraq. It might seem easy to do the political thing and just leave a mess behind. But the fact of the matter is that doing the right political thing will be a disaster for our national security, for our national prestige and for those Iraqis that we will leave behind.
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to Iraq.