November 18, 2006

As a follow-up to Thursday’s post about Iraq, I’ve found a few more interesting articles for consideration re: the various strategies and options available to the U.S. as our elected leaders try to figure out how best to extricate ourselves from the difficult position we find ourselves in at the present time. Like I said the other day, since our politicians don’t seem to have a clue as to what to do, they’d do well to consider the opinions of those who DO. Doesn’t that make sense? (Oops, wrong question to ask….)

* In Thursday’s National Review Online, Michael Ledeen (whose work I respect a great deal), offers up this analysis of the state of things and what the Iraq Study Group might do well to consider. I find this particular excerpt important, for it speaks to the need for a bigger vision, and consideration of the greater region we’re involved in militarily:

Instead of trapping themselves in an imaginary quagmire, the commissioners can help us face the real war. What’s going on in Iraq is not “the war,” which is raging over the entire world. The real question — the life and death question — is: How can we win the war in the Middle East, which now extends from Afghanistan to Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, and Somalia?

That question forces us to devise a strategy to deal with multiple enemies instead of limiting our strategic thinking to the Iraqi insurgency alone. It forces us to confront the terror masters in Tehran and Syria as well as the killers in Iraq. If we ask how to win in Iraq alone, we are led into a fool’s errand of trying to convince our sworn enemies–Iran has been at war with us for twenty-seven years—to act like friends. But if we ask how to win the war, we can see that we have many good cards to play, and many real allies, from the Iranian and Syrian people to the millions of Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Syria, to several other oppressed groups throughout the region, and even to leaders who today denounce us.

Ledeen’s entire piece is worth reading, as he is making an extremely important point here. Those politicians on both sides of the aisle (and in the Administration) do a disservice to our fighting forces in Iraq and Afghanistan whenever they try to isolate their strategic goals, both military and political, whatever they may be, to a particular country. In the Middle East, EVERYTHING is connected geo-politically, with far-ranging implications no matter what we do, so it behooves us to not go myopic and simplistic when it comes to Iraq.

* Marc Cooper casts a dim view towards the redeployment strategy put forth by the likes of John Murtha (who incidently, lost his House majority leader election today) and John Kerry on numerous occasions over the past year. This part of his post is particularly stinging:

I still have no idea what [redeployment] means. And I’m sure I speak for about 299 million Americans on that matter. As I understand the term it means something like this: start pulling U.S. troops out of the line of fire in Iraq and re-position them “over the horizon” to some nearby regional bases (Turkey?). Once redeployed, the troops would be on standby, ready to intervene when and if things got really ugly in Iraq.

But things are ugly everyday in Iraq. So once again, what does redeployment really mean? Not to play dumb, what really lurks behind the term is an implied stalling maneuver. Start moving U.S. troops slowly, perhaps ever so slowly out of Iraq, at first under the political cover of redeployment and then eventually…eventually, I suppose, Americans won’t really care what happens in Iraq.

I don’t think this sort of Democratic obfuscation will wash. War is like sex. You’re either in or you’re out. Anything in between doesn’t count for much.

While I might disagree with Cooper, you can’t argue that he speaks for millions of Americans who think the best route is to give the Iraqi government a fixed amount of time to get their act together, and if they don’t, sayonara. To try and walk a fine line between staying and going without any practical concern for what that course of action would entail just to gain points politically – as Murtha and Kerry are clearly attempting to do – reveals them for the military geniuses they most decidedly are not. (Hat tip: The Belmont Club)

* A big tip o’ the hat to Scott at Power Line for this post with links to two important Weekly Standard articles by contributors Eric Egland and Frederick W. Kagan. While quite dense in content, they are nevertheless refreshing for the practical strategies they put forth, since both are authors well acquainted with the realities we face both on the ground in Iraq, and in the Middle East in general. Both are highly recommended reading.

* The UK Guardian has published this story speculating about a “final push” strategy to be recommended by the Iraq Study Group. Supposedly, this strategy focuses on four main goals to refocus the effort there and lay the groundwork for a lasting solution. The four points involve:

1 – A short-term increase in overall U.S. force levels inside Iraq, perhaps as much as 20,000 troops, dedicated to securing the capital of Baghdad – scene of the worst sectarian and insurgent violence, thus allowing U.S., coalition, and Iraqi forces to be redeployed elsewhere in the country.
2 – Cultivating regional cooperation to help stabilize Iraq, perhaps by convening an international conference of neighbouring countries, perhaps by more direct diplomatic, financial and economic involvement of U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
3 – Reviving the national reconciliation process between Shia and Sunni muslims, the Kurds, and other ethnic and religious parties. This process is a necessary prerequisite to the goal of persuading Iraqis and its neighboring countries that Iraq can become a fully functional state.
4 – A call for increased resources to be allocated by Congress to support the additional troop deployments and fund the training and equipment of expanded Iraqi army and police forces. It will also stress the need to counter corruption, improve local government, and curtail the power of religious courts.

Captain Ed at Captains Quarters – a great blog, BTW, has also seen this report, and is not impressed by what he reads, especially if these points are approved at the expense of the “democracy movement” the President and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have stood by for so long.

Me, I’m thinking that this sounds about right – unfortunately, America hasn’t the time nor the patience to wait around for “true democracy” to sprout in Iraq. It may be unfortunate, it may well be unwise, but politically that’s the way it is. Besides, if we end up with a lasting, more peaceful solution than the chaos, corruption, and violence that is the present norm, we just might end up with some kind of a resolution that, while not exactly the kind of victory we originally hoped for, is something everyone can still live with.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:42 | Comments (2)
  1. Hi Friend,
    Since you are very interested in Iraq, I would recommend that you read about Gen. John Abizaid and what he has to say. He is highly regarded in the military and a brilliant man. I heard him speak at the War College two years ago.

    I am disappointed that you didn’t comment on the new Presiding Bishop. Any particular reason why you didn’t?

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Comment by Dona — November 18, 2006 @ 5:43 am

  2. Hi Dona –
    A happy Thanksgiving to you as well! You’re right about Gen. Abizaid – let me post some of his answers to the questions of Hillary (“Hope is not a strategy” – what a stupid statement) and others the other day.

    As to the new Presiding Bishop, I haven’t posted yet because my knife sharpener is a little dull right now. 🙂 Coming next week.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — November 18, 2006 @ 11:45 am

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