As we talked about yesterday, Congressman Jim Marshall (D-GA) has been complaining that the press and politicians are hurting our efforts in Iraq. Let's look a couple of his arguments again.
We not only need Iraqi tips and intelligence, we need Iraqis fighting by our side and eventually assuming full responsibility for their internal security. But Iraqis have not forgotten the 1991 Gulf War. America encouraged the Shiites to rebel, then abandoned them to be slaughtered. I visited one of the mass graves, mute testimony to the wisdom of being cautious about relying on American politicians to live up to their commitments...
Instead of being negative about Iraq, Democratic presidential candidates should emphasize the positive aspects of their own plans for Iraq. Save the negative attacks for the issues of jobs and the economy. Iraqis are far less likely to support the coalition effort if they think America might withdraw following the 2004 election.
While he's got a basically good point, I don't think anyone besides Kucinich (who, let's face it, isn't going anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue) has suggested that we simply withdraw from Iraq. The other Dems have simply stated that Bush's administration has been stupid in handling the war and they would be better. That's it. (And you'd think a Democrat would at least point out that it was the previous Bush administration who "abandoned" the Shiites "to be slaughtered.")
My question is why hasn't Marshall been as outspoken about the leaking of Valerie Plame's name to the press? As former CIA case officer Jim Marcinkowski points out, the argument against leaking is nearly identical to Marshall's argument against negative comments.
If an overseas operative is exposed, a good foreign — and perhaps very hostile — intelligence service will begin to piece together the "mosaic" of that person's life, placing many innocent and unsuspecting people in harm's way. In fact, even though very few social or ordinary contacts with people in a foreign land are intelligence- related, once an operative is exposed, everyone who has come into contact with the operative will come under scrutiny and will risk imprisonment or even death.
Even if the operative and her agents are able to escape harm, what is the comfort level for other foreign nationals who may want to work with us, knowing that at any time they could be exposed by a political actor in the U.S.? That is why someone guilty of exposing an operative faces severe criminal penalties. (Link via CalPundit.)
You see? Both arguments come down to a simple point: We can't let partisan political maneuvers damage our respectability in the eyes of those who would help us.
Why don't you contact Marshall and point out the similarities to him?
682 Cherry Street, Suite 300
Macon, GA 31201
502 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515